I got back a few days ago from the Siwa writing retreat and what a splendid, inspiring, beautiful and peaceful experience it was! The landscape is sublime, reminding me of outback Australia, of Balinese jungles, of storybook magical places existing out of time and space. And from the moment I stepped foot upon Siwa's ground my worries and anxieties were lifted, taken from me and I became carefree and rested.
The group consisted of 5 writers; Mirette, Bahira, Hanaa, Nadine and Noura and myself, the tutor, of course as the 6th. Each day we had writing class in several fabulous locations, cultural/historical tours to amazing places steeped in story such as the Oracle of Amun and Shali old village. We had our meals, market shopping for handicrafts, drinking juices and teas by sunset lakes, chatting, laughing, night swims under the full moon and looking at the stars. Part of the beauty of the trip was the interchange of ideas, friendships, shared moments and smiles - also not least enjoying the creativity and skills of the group's writing. I shall compile the narratives of Siwa into a collection; 'Voices of Siwa' for instance - a collection of monologues by fictional Siwan characters and also a collection of landscape pieces and mythical Siwan beasts!
To get a feeling of the wonder and creativityof the trip please do take a look through the public photo album here:
and the full details of what the trip consisted of can be seen from the original advert here:
I fully intend to return to Siwa and offer a number of writing retreats there; the next will most probably be in March 2015 - and I will be offering a number of writing retreats worldwide - so stay tuned to this and other news! :)