Location: Clerac, France
Do you have a book you’ve been thinking about starting or a manuscript you want to polish? Join published authors Jo Carnegie and Betsy Blankenbaker for a Movement & Writing Intensive this summer in France.
Jo and Betsy are offering an unmissable opportunity to start and/or complete your book at a private chateau in France, near the heart of the French wine country. The retreat is open to both women and men who are serious about their writing, even if you haven’t started your book.
You’ll be guided in finding your voice as a writer and crafting your story into an engaging book that readers won’t want to put down.
The focus is on memoir – how to tell the stories of your life. We’ll discuss publishing options from Jo’s background with big publishers to Betsy’s choice to self-publish.
Master Your Memoir is designed for writers who are ready to give birth to their books. Ideally you will choose to stay all three weeks and commit to leaving with a complete or nearly complete manuscript.
The course includes: Why Your Memoir Matters, The Secret to Writing Your Memoir, Using Movement to Remember, How to Say The Unsayable, Making Space for Laughter, How To Make Your Memoir Relatable and What Will My Family Think? We will also discuss publishing options including the pros and cons of self-publishing and advice from a literary agent on current trends in the memoir market.
Betsy and Jo have designed the intensive to give you as much support as possible during the writing process, including a copy edit and notes of all the work you complete on your manuscript during the retreat if you stay all three weeks. The value of the complimentary copy edit and notes based on your word count (of up to 50,000 words) is up to $10,000. Upon completion of the retreat, please allow 4-6 weeks for copy edit of manuscript.
Your home for the writing intensive is Chateau de Clerac, a privately owned chateau offered as a base for creatives to gather and complete their projects. The 19th century chateau is set in the charming French countryside outside of Bordeaux and near the iconic vineyards of St. Emilion. The chateau is set on 22 acres of woods and fields, and has its own salt water pool, a yoga room and two new tennis courts.
Clérac is a small, pretty rural village with some 400 inhabitants. All around Clérac there are some great cycle paths and forest walks. In Montguyon (~5km), originally a fortified castle town (still with a medieval castle) there are banks, chemists, various shops and supermarkets. The region is famous for its food and wine.
You will stay in recently restored en-suite bedrooms. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to read, listen to music or simply relax with a drink all around the château. All meals, snacks and drinks are included in your course fee. You are welcome to bring additional drinks to enjoy – the château is your home during the retreat.
“The chateau is truly heaven on earth, one of those rare places where you can achieve simultaneous relaxation and focus, and I did a lot of productive writing in the most pleasurable way imaginable. The beauty of the food (all made with love and care), the landscape, and people is breathtaking.” -Emily B, playwright and screenwriter
food and dining
Daily life at the chateau includes three gourmet meals with wines from the nearby vineyards of Bordeaux. The meals are designed to nourish your body, improve your memory and sharpen your focus for writing. An in-house chef will prepare superb meals for you balancing healthy choices along with exquisite French cooking.
Optional activities offered are Qoya classes using movement as a portal to your storytelling, tennis, walks in the nearby woods, meditation at the lake and swimming in the pool. Late afternoons, our group gathers for a salon to explore and support your writing.
- $2,100 - Week Two July 23-30 Shared Room
- $2,100 - Week Three July 30-August 6 Shared Room
- $2,350 - Week One July 16-23 Shared Room
- $2,950 - Week Two July 23-30 Private Room
- $2,950 - Week Three July 30-August 6 Private Room
- $3,200 - Week One 16-23 Private Room
- $5,500 - Three Week Intensive Shared Room, includes $1,000 room discount and manuscript copy edit (valued up to $10,000)
- $8,100 - Three Week Intensive Private Room, includes $1,000 room discount and full manuscript copy edit valued up to $10,000
We recommend flying to Bordeaux Airport, which is a 40 minute drive away. Bordeaux airport or train station transfers are included in your course fee for arrivals/departures between 10-1pm. For transfers outside those times, there is a 60 euro supplement payable to Chateau de Clerac. There is ample free parking at the château if you wish to meander down through France or hire a car. Alternatively, you can take the train to Bordeaux from Paris.
Terms and Conditions
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Can I have my own room? Yes, there is a single room supplement of $850 per week. How do I get there? We recommend flying to Bordeaux Airport, which is a 40 minute drive away. Bordeaux airport or train station transfers are included in your course fee for arrivals/departures between 10-1pm. For transfers outside those times, there is a 60 euro supplement payable to Chateau de Clerac. There is ample free parking at the château if you wish to meander down through France or hire a car. Alternatively, you can take the train to Bordeaux from Paris. Can I bring my own food and drinks? All meals and snacks are included; there will be no shortage of food! We can also cater for any dietary requirements provided you let us know when booking. If you wish to bring your own drinks, please feel free; there will be no corkage charge since the château is your home for the course. Can I visit local vineyards? Week Two of the Writing Intensive includes a complimentary midweek visit to local vineyards and wine tastings. I don’t call myself a writer. Can I still come? If you are taking yourself – and that voice that keeps telling you there is book inside you – seriously, then you can come. You will be calling yourself a writer by the time you leave.
|accommodations||Shared Rooms with en suite baths. Single rooms available for additional charge.|
|alcohol||Local wine pairings are included with evening meals.|
|yoga||Optional Qoya classes available Monday/Wednesday/Friday. The yoga room is open daily for self-directed movement.|
|meals||Three gourmet meals daily including wines from nearby vineyards during evening meals.|
|transfers||Complimentary shuttles available to/from Bordeaux airport and train station from 11am-2pm on arrival/departure days. For transportation outside those times, a 60 euro fee is paid directly to the chateau.|
|tips||Tips for housekeepers and chef included.|
|gift bag||A special gift bag is offered upon arrival.|
|journal||In gift bag but bring your own if you have a favorite journal for writing.|
|workshops||Afternoon writing circles and manuscript evaluations daily from 4.30-7pm|
|reading material||Included in gift bag.|
|fitness classes||Optional Qoya classes with Qoya teacher Betsy Blankenbaker using movement as a portal to your storytelling.|
|group excursion||Week Two includes complimentary excursion to St. Emilion vineyards for wine tastings.|
Testimonials for Betsy Blankenbaker