Whispering PinesWe’re planning a gorgeous, icy weekend writing retreat at Whispering Pines in the Magaliesberg on the weekend of June 21 and 22.

It’s a retreat with a very specific objective: to produce a book of short stories written by the participants, and published online with a print-on-demand facility.

Novelist Jo-Anne Richards and screen and script writer Richard Beynon will be on hand to prompt, critique and guide the participants. We’ll provide a range of possible seed ideas – or help participants devise their own stories from scratch. We’ll give formal input on various aspects of writing, and finally we’ll provide ongoing support as all the participants work their way through their stories.

Here are our initial thoughts:


  • We’ll meet over tea and coffee on Saturday morning before plunging into an initial discussion of the dozen or so story ideas that Jo-Anne and Richard will have devised in advance.
  • These will include both “literary” ideas – and genre ideas. Now, each of you will be able to pick one of these for development over the weekend – or you can choose to pursue your own. If you need assistance in brainstorming these, then we can either do that in a group – or Jo-Anne and Richard can meet with you between “plenary” sessions to help you flesh out your ideas.
  • We’ll also give you a run down, at this initial session, on what the challenges of writing a short story are – with some suggestions about how to meet those challenges.
  • Then you’ll be on your own until lunch-time, either to start writing, or to spend a little more time developing your idea. Jo-Anne and I will be available (and circulating) to offer help, suggestions and encouragement.
  • We’ll meet for lunch – and then have a short “plenary” to discuss problems you’ve encountered, and to give a pep-talk on other pressing issues involved in character and story development.
  • You’ll then be on your own for the afternoon, again with access to Jo-Anne and me whenever you need us. The venue for our retreat, Whispering Pines, in the Magaliesburg, also offers wonderful walks should you feel the need for some outdoor rumination.
  • You’ll be free to pick up a cup of tea and a biscuit before continuing with your writing until we gather for drinks and an informal post-mortem of the day’s progress.
  • Dinner will be followed by chat – unless you choose to go to your rooms, snuggle down in front of a fire, and continue writing. That’s entirely up to you.


  • Breakfast on Sunday will be followed by a Q&A session at which Jo-Anne and Richard will explore issues pertinent to your short stories, help you with further brainstorming, and so on.
  • Then, more writing. You should be on the home-stretch now. We’ll continue to check on your progress, help you with Act 3 problems, and guide you into the winner’s enclosure. We’ll have tea while we work.
  • And then lunch.
  • And then each of us will read what we’ve written.
  • And then home. You won’t have far to go, since Whispering Pines is only an hour from Jo’burg.

Non-writing spouses are welcome.

The costs are as follows:

Weekend Workshop including one night single occupancy accommodation, one supper, two lunches, one breakfast, tees and coffees – R 3 650 per participant

Weekend Workshop including one night double occupancy accommodation, one supper, two lunches, one breakfast, tees and coffees – R 3 250 per participant

Non workshop attending spouses rate including one night double occupancy accommodation, one supper, two lunches, one breakfast –  R 1 500 per person

In due course, after you’ve had a chance to do a final edit on your stories, we’ll gather them together (no more than a week or so after we’ve returned), and publish them, as promised, online via Amazon.

To book your place please contact us via email or call us on 082 652 4643

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