“Open Mike Night” – The Salt Cay Writers Retreat Blog


SCWR Merit Scholarship Contest winners!

Posted by on Apr 15, 2014 in blog | 1 comment

The Salt Cay Writers Retreat is pleased to announce the results of our Merit Scholarship Contest. The winner, Robin Luce Martin, will receive a full scholarship to attend the retreat October 20-25 on Salt Cay, a private island in the Bahamas. First runner up April L. Ford was awarded a partial scholarship to attend the retreat.

Robin’s short fiction publications and honors include: “Page from a Gitmo Attorney’s Diary,” a short-short drawn from Out Like a Lion a novel manuscript, in the Adanna Tribute to Adrienne Rich, Women and War 2013 Winter Issue.

The story “1969″ won First Place in the 2009 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival judged by Richard Ford, and an Honorable Mention in the SF PEN Soul Making Keats Competition, and was published in The New Orleans Review.

“Bob and Hope” won 2nd Place in the 2011 Eyes on Babylon Writing Contest, judged by Aimee Bender, HM in the 2012 SF PEN Competition, and the Columbine award for conflict resolution in the Moondance Film Festival.

“Same Initials as Jesse James” won First Prize in the 2010 Alabama Writers Conclave Short-Short category and Honorable Mention in the 2010 New Millennium Contest.

Since 2001 Robin has worked as the assistant to the president of a constitutional law organization that has been in the forefront of the legal battles in the post 9/11 world. She spent a decade as a working actress in her home town of Los Angeles. She moved to New York and began writing fiction in 1994. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband film projection artist, Bruce McClure. She has photo documented his work since 2000.


April L. Ford serves as Managing Editor of Digital Americana Magazine and teaches creative writing at SUNY Oneonta. In fall 2013, her story collection The Poor Children was selected as Grand Prizewinner of the Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards Program for Fiction and is forthcoming with SFWP in early 2015. Her first novel, Gentle, was a Finalist for the 2014 Gorsky Press Molly Ivors Prize for Fiction. April’s stories are forthcoming with The After Coetzee Project Anthology, New Madrid: Journal of Contemporary Literature, and SAND: Berlin’s English Literary Journal.

She has spent time at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts as a Robert Johnson Fellow, and at Ucross Foundation as a Writer in Residence.


Congratulations to both our winners, and thanks to our judges for their careful and diligent effort. We also wish to thank Susan Henderson, of LitPark, for generously hosting our contest, and for making so many wonderful writers aware of the contest and the retreat. Most of all, we wish to thank the nearly 100 talented authors who entered the first Salt Cay Writers Retreat Merit Scholarship Contest. You made the judges’ decision a difficult one!

Creating The Perfect Predator: Tricks of the Trade from a Forensic Psychologist by Mary Kennedy

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in blog | 0 comments

The Thursday afternoon group therapy session was held in a small, cramped room on the ninth floor of the forensic unit.  It was a hot August day, and since the shatter-proof windows were nailed shut, the room was hot, humid, and eerily still.

The group  members–all  men, all convicted of violent crimes, including rape, battery, incest and  murder–watched warily as I slipped into an empty folding chair near the door.  It was my first week as staff psychologist on the busy unit, and I was still new to the game.

But not so new that I would forget to give myself a clear escape route.

The chairs were arranged in a circle, and my supervisor had given me strict instructions on how to begin each session.  “Start by going around the circle and have them say something good about themselves,” he had ordered.  (more…)

SCWR Merit Scholarship Contest!

Posted by on Feb 12, 2014 in blog | 0 comments

The winner of the Salt Cay Writers Retreat Merit Scholarship Contest will be invited to attend the Salt Cay Writers Retreat with all program and tuition fees covered (travel and retreat hotel accommodations are not included).

The contest will be judged by a well-qualified anonymous panel of publishing professionals including retreat faculty. More information at: www.saltcaywritersretreat.com

Entry deadline: April 1, 2014
Winner announced: April 15, 2014

2014 Salt Cay Writers Retreat – Registration Now Open!

Posted by on Jan 18, 2014 in blog | 0 comments

audienceMark your calendar! Registration for the 2014 Salt Cay Writers Retreat October 20-25, 2014, Salt Cay, Bahamas is now open.

Our 2014 faculty includes #1 New York Times bestselling authors Lorenzo Carcaterra, Robert Goolrick, and Jacquelyn Mitchard, National Book Award finalist and Orange Prize winner Téa Obreht, as well as literary agents Erin HarrisJeff Kleinman and Erin Niumata, of Folio Literary Management, Jill Marr with the Sandra Dijkstra Agency, with more top literary agents and editors to come!

If you’d like to work with our amazingly talented faculty members to improve your writing, all you need to do is register for the retreat, pay the $500 non-refundable deposit to guarantee your place, and you’re in! But hurry – attendance is limited to 35 students.

2013 SCWR Photos!

Posted by on Oct 31, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

The 2013 Salt Cay Writers Retreat was a fabulous success – even better than we hoped it would be (and retreat organizers Karen Dionne and Christopher Graham had VERY high expectations!).

A huge thank you to our outstanding faculty members Jacquelyn Mitchard, Robert Goolrick, Amy Einhorn, Chuck Adams, Steve Fisher, Jeff Kleinman, Erin Harris, and Michelle Brower, and to our administrative assistants Sharlotte Giberson-Graham and Deanna Dionne. You were all marvelous, and we couldn’t have done it without you!

But most of all, our sincere thanks go out to the wonderful student body who made the first-ever Salt Cay Writers Retreat possible!

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For the Public: SCWR Presents an Evening with Robert Goolrick and Jacquelyn Mitchard

Posted by on Sep 20, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

The Salt Cay Writers Retreat and Blue Lagoon Island Present: An Evening with Robert Goolrick and Jacquelyn Mitchard

Goolrick_robert_tcm7-39933Bestselling authors Robert Goolrick and Jacquelyn Mitchard will read from their current and upcoming novels on Wednesday, October 23 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. on Blue Lagoon Island. Attendees will enjoy dinner with the authors and after the readings, are invited to step up to the microphone and share their own work.

jackie mitchardGoolrick is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed memoir THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT, A RELIABLE WIFE, and HEADING OUT TO WONDERFUL.

Jacquelyn Mitchard is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN, Oprah Winfrey’s first book club selection, TWELVE TIMES BLESSED, THE BREAKDOWN LANE, and CAGE OF STARS. (more…)

The Secret to Writing Faster

Posted by on Sep 10, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

The Secret to Writing Faster

I recently found myself jammed up against a deadline most novelists would have thought impossible to meet. My normal writing pace produced roughly one polished chapter per week. Now, in order to meet my deadline, I had to write a polished chapter every day. I had to learn how to write faster – fast. (more…)

Do you write short stories?

Posted by on Jul 30, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

Do you write short stories? If so, you might be interested in this!

This year’s Zoetrope: All-Story’s upcoming short-fiction contest will be our seventeenth annual, judged by author David Means.

First, second, and third prizes will all receive monetary compensation. Also, the three prize-winners and seven honorable mentions will be considered for representation by William Morris Endeavor, ICM, Regal Literary, the Elaine Markson Literary Agency, Inkwell Management, Sterling Lord Literistic, Aitken Alexander Associates, Barer Literary, the Gernert Company, and the Georges Borchardt Literary Agency. (more…)

An Interview with Film Agent Steve Fisher

Posted by on Jul 4, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

Salt Cay Writers Retreat faculty member Steve Fisher, Vice President of the Agency for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles, recently talked to Karen Dionne about his  job as a film agent, what he looks for when considering a book’s film potential, and why he’s looking forward to teaching at the Salt Cay Writers Retreat.

What part of being a film agent do you most enjoy?

The most enjoyable part of my job unquestionably is interacting with creative people and having those conversations about turning a piece of material into a movie or series. To be able to work in the world of ideas is a wonderful thing, and I don’t take it for granted. I find the people in my business extremely interesting, occasionally challenging to deal with, but always intriguing.

Since I’ve always loved books–I was a voracious reader since I was a boy–and like everyone also love movies, combining those two passions in one profession is a great thing. (more…)

An Interview with Algonquin Editor Chuck Adams

Posted by on Jul 1, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

Salt Cay faculty member Chuck Adams, of Algonquin Books, has built a reputation as a brilliant editor and a straight shooter. Here’s his description of his “ideal author” from a 2008 interview in Poets & Writers:

“My ideal author would be one who is anxious—not just willing—but anxious to work with me. I don’t mean me, Chuck Adams. I mean me, the editor. Someone who understands that, while they are happy with what they’ve done, there may be room for improvement. They’re open to listening to my suggestions and, once I have shared my wisdom with them, they do something with it. As I said, when I make these suggestions for changes in the manuscript, I don’t want to be ignored. Because I’m not wrong. “There’s a problem there, and we need to work on it.” I may be wrong with the fix I suggest, but I’m not wrong with the need for a fix, and I want the author to respond to that and not argue with me. I see the creation of a successful book as very much a collaborative thing. The author always has to be happy with the book, or otherwise it doesn’t matter, but I also have to be happy with it for the company’s sake. We’ve got to feel like we can go out with confidence and make money on this book.”

Read the rest of Chuck’s interview in Poets & Writers, and you’ll understand why we’re thrilled to have him on our faculty!