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), is a collaboration with the Center for Black Literature, the English Department at SUNY, Plattsburgh, and the Paden Institute and Retreat for Writers. It provides 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.

Typically, the Retreat alternates 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. Donna Hill
  10. Major Jackson
  11. Sandra Jackson-Opoku
  12. Patricia Spears Jones
  13. Victor LaValle
  14. E. Ethelbert Miller
  15. Bernice McFadden
  16. Shaun Neblett
  17. Greg Pardlo
  18. Willie Perdomo
  19. Ernesto Quiñonez
  20. Sonia Sanchez
  21. Ravi Shankar


We are happy to announce that novelist Kia Corthorn 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 encourages 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 17, 2023 (by 11:59 pm ET). Get the application HERE.
  2. There is a one-time non-refundable $25 application fee.
  3. The tuition is $500. Scholarships are available.
  4. Applying for the retreat does NOT guarantee acceptance as a fellow.
  5. The Winter 2023 Retreat will be held on the campus of Medgar Evers College in the Crown Height neighborhood of Brooklyn. Fellows will be expected to commute daily. Housing is not included.
  6. Please direct inquiries to Director of Literary Programs Clarence V. Reynolds at reynolds@centerforblackliterature.org

Last updated November 30, 2022


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

Phone: (718) 804-8883
Email: info@centerforblackliterature.org

Donate to CBL Today!

To carry out our literary programs and special events, we depend on generous financial support from the public. Donations are welcome year-round. Click HERE to make a donation today. You will be routed to the Research Foundation of The City University of New York (RFCUNY) webpage. 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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