Wild Seeds Retreat for Writers of Color

The Wild Seeds Retreat for Writers of Color (formerly the North Country Institute & Retreat for Writers of Color), began in 2004 as a collaboration with the Center for Black Literature, the English Department at SUNY, Plattsburgh, and the Paden Institute and Retreat for Writers. Today it continues to provide a writing community where established and emerging writers can focus on the craft of writing and create cross-cultural conversations around the literature created by writers of the African diaspora.

Writing fellows have an opportunity to draw upon their experiences as writers in a racialized society; to become knowledgeable about the issues facing other writers of color; and to study with a professional in the genres of fiction, memoir, and poetry.

Recognizing that the Writers Retreat should not be limited to a specific geographical region, the Center renamed the Retreat in honor of Octavia E. Butler, a speculative fiction writer known globally for blending science fiction with African American spiritualism. Butler's writing crossed many boundaries and represented varying diverse voices.

The Goal

The Retreat strives to provide writers of color with an opportunity to meet other writers; to workshop their writing among peers; and to engage with published writers about concerns and issues related to writing and publishing. Through its writing workshops leaders, the Retreat provides the public with an opportunity to become knowledgeable about the range and diversity of the work produced by writers of color.

A Look Back

The first Writers' Retreat, held in 2004, was highly successful and featured the internationally acclaimed poet Sonia Sanchez, author Tony Medina, and writer Indira Ganesan. Subsequent faculty workshop leaders have been nonfiction writer Patrice Gaines; poets Martin Espada, E. Ethelbert Miller, Aracelis Girmay, and Patricia Spears Jones; and writers Jeffery Renard Allen, Marita Golden, Victor LaValle, and Bernice McFadden, among many others.

The Retreat had alternated between the Valcour Educational and Conference Center in Plattsburgh, New York, and the campus of Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York. Venues are subject to change.

Previous Poetry, Fiction, and Playwriting Workshop Leaders

  1. Jeffery Renard Allen
  2. Mo Beasley
  3. Martin Espada
  4. Patrice Gaines
  5. Indira Ganesan
  6. Aracelis Girmay
  7. Marita Golden
  8. Tonya Cherie Hegamin
  9. DaMaris B. Hill
  10. Donna Hill
  11. Major Jackson
  12. Sandra Jackson-Opoku
  13. Patricia Spears Jones
  14. Victor LaValle
  15. E. Ethelbert Miller
  16. Bernice McFadden
  17. Shaun Neblett
  18. Greg Pardlo
  19. Willie Perdomo
  20. Ernesto Quiñonez
  21. Sonia Sanchez
  22. Ravi Shankar


We are happy to announce that novelist Kia Corthron and poet Willie Perdomo will join us as faculty for the Winter 2023 four-day retreat at Medgar Evers College (Brooklyn, NY). The dates are February 23 - 26, 2023. Aspiring writers (21 and over) are encouraged to apply. The application is downloadable and an online version is coming soon.

»»» To learn more details about the application process, download this document.


  1. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2023 (by 11:59 pm ET). Get the application HERE.
  2. There is a one-time non-refundable $25 application fee.
  3. The retreat tuition is $500 (ground transportation is not included in the tuition).
  4. Limited scholarships are available. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please include a brief paragraph in your cover letter that states your need for financial assistance.
  5. Applying for the retreat does NOT guarantee acceptance as a fellow.
  6. The Winter 2023 Retreat will be held on the campus of Medgar Evers College in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Fellows will be expected to commute daily at their own expense. Housing is not included.
  7. Applicants must pick one genre: fiction or poetry.
  8. Please direct inquiries and return the applications to info@centerforblackliterature.org

Last updated January 12, 2023


The Winter 2023 Retreat will offer workshops in fiction and poetry with novelist Kia Corthron (top) and poet Willie Perdomo (bottom). Fellows will have an opportunity to receive individualized instruction, to workshop their writing, and to draw upon their experiences as writers in a racialized society.

What Fellows Are Saying

Contact Us

Center for Black Literature
at Medgar Evers College, CUNY (CBL)
1534 Bedford Avenue, 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, New York 11216

Main Phone: (718) 804-8883
Main Office: info@centerforblackliterature.org
PR Office: pr@centerforblackliterature.org

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To carry out our literary programs and special events, we depend on financial support from the public. Donations are welcome year-round. Click HERE to make a donation today. Thank you in advance!
The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College is supported in part by an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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