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.


The dates for the Retreat this year are from Monday, July 18 to Friday, July 22, 2022. The new location for the Retreat will be determined soon. It will be a scenic location upstate New York as in previous years. NOTE: The summer retreat will no longer be held at The State University of New York, New Paltz as previously announced.

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


  • Retreat dates are Monday, July 18 - Friday, July 22, 2022.
  • Apply Today! The deadline is Friday, May 20, 2022, by 11:59 pm ET. (NEW!)
  • There is a one-time non-refundable $25 application fee.
  • The tuition is $500. Tuition includes a week’s worth of professional coaching, private lodging (bedrooms), and meals for all writing fellows.
  • Applying for the retreat does NOT guarantee acceptance as a fellow.
  • Scholarships are made available only when sponsorship gifts permit and are not necessarily applicable for each Retreat.

Please direct inquiries to Director of Literary Programs Clarence V. Reynolds at reynolds@centerforblackliterature.org

Last updated May 11, 2022

Best-selling fiction writer DONNA HILL (top photo) and DR. DAMARIS B. HILL (bottom photo), a 2020 NAACP Image Award nominee for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry, are the Wild Seeds Writers Retreat Workshop Leaders (Summer 2022).

What Fellows Are Saying

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Center for Black Literature
at Medgar Evers College, CUNY (CBL)
1534 Bedford Avenue, 2nd Floor
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Primary Phone: (718) 804-8883
Primary Email: info@centerforblackliterature.org

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