mix Madcap Retreats | 2018 Writing Cross-Culturally Workshop

2018 Writing Cross-Culturally

in parternship with WNDB


This 4-night, 3-day workshop is open to writers and editors in all stages of their careers.


March 15 - 19, 2018


Lyles, TN

Attendance Cap


Application Deadline

Rolling admissions until December 31, 2017

Event Description

At the Writing Cross-Culturally Workshop, writers will be provided with resources and tools for telling stories that are not their own with care, respect, and sensitivity. We will discuss representation and misrepresentation, as well as the damage it can do, privilege and point of view, cover basic dos and don'ts as well as dig deep into the many ways our own prejudices and privileges connect to every part of the writing and publishing process. Participants will be encouraged to look beyond themselves and their inherent biases, as well as begin to learn how to analyze not only their own internal prejudices but those endemic to publishing as an institution and culture, and the greater cultural system that creates and recreates bias and privilege.

The workshop will be hands-on, with lectures, group, and individual work, writing exercises, and space created for personal reflection as well as opportunities to break down emotional barriers in conversation with those more practiced at such challenges.

Our goal is to help participants work through not only the how, but the when, and most importantly, the why and even why not of writing cross-culturally.

The workshop will be held at a venue which sits on 300 acres in Lyles, TN. All meals are included in the registration fee and are prepared for you.

Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous national and state awards, as well as international recognition. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Laurie was honored with the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award given by YALSA division of the American Library Association for her “significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature…”. Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Philadelphia, where she likes to eat cheesesteak as she writes.

Marie Lu is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Legend trilogy and The Young Elites trilogy. She graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry, working for Disney Interactive Studios as a Flash artist. Now a full-time writer, she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing Assassin’s Creed, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles, California (see above: traffic), with one husband, one Chihuahua mix, and two Pembroke Welsh corgis.

Dhonielle Clayton is the coauthor of the Tiny Pretty Things series and author of The Belles series. She grew up in the Washington, DC, suburbs on the Maryland side and spent most of her time under her grandmother's table with a stack of books. A former teacher and middle school librarian, Dhonielle is cofounder of CAKE Literary-a creative development company whipping up decidedly diverse books for a wide array of readers-and COO of the non-profit, We Need Diverse Books. She's got a serious travel bug and loves spending time outside of the USA but makes her home in New York City, where she can most likely be found hunting for the best slice of pizza. You can also find her online at www.dhonielleclayton.com or follow her @brownbookworm.

Zoraida Córdova is the author of urban fantasies The Vicious Deep trilogy and the Brooklyn Brujas series, as well as the adult romance series On the Verge. Her short fiction will appear in the upcoming anthologies, Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, and Toil & Trouble. Zoraida’s most recent release, Labyrinth Lost, won an International Latino Book award, was named a Best Book of 2016 by Paste Magazine and has been optioned by Paramount. Zoraida is also the author of the upcoming Hollow Crown, to be published by Disney Hyperion in 2019. She is a New Yorker at heart and is currently working on her next novel.

Tessa Gratton is the Associate Director of Madcap Retreats and the author of the Blood Journals Series and Gods of New Asgard Series, co-author of YA writing books The Curiosities and The Anatomy of Curiosity, as well as dozens of short stories available in anthologies and on merryfates.com. Though she’s lived all over the world, she’s finally returned to her prairie roots in Kansas with her wife. Her current projects include Tremontaine at Serial Box Publishing, YA Fantasy Strange Grace coming in 2018, and her adult fantasy debut, The Queens of Innis Lear, from Tor March 27, 2018.

S. Jae-Jones was born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, where she spent summers on the beach and winters on the slope until she was convinced by Sesame Street (and university) to move to New York City. A native Angelena and a New Yorker at heart, she now lives in Dixie, where she is comfortably growing fat on grits and barbecue. When not writing, she can be find rock-climbing, skydiving, taking photographs, drawing pictures, and dragging her dog on ridiculously long hikes.

Sarah Nicole Lemon spent the first fifteen years of her life doing nothing but running wild in the woods and books. She has yet to outgrow either. When not writing books about girls who are at odds with the world, you can find her trying to run away with an iced coffee. Her debut novel, Done Dirt Cheap was published in 2017 with Amulet/Abrams. A second novel, Valley Girls, will be published May 8, 2018, also from Amulet.

Natalie C. Parker wears many hats: author, editor, entrepreneur. She is the author of Southern Gothic duology Beware the Wild (a Junior Library Guild Selection) and Behold the Bones (both available from HarperTeen) as well as the forthcoming Seafire Trilogy (Razorbill, 2018). Her first anthology, Three Sides of a Heart, is an exploration of the love triangle (HarperTeen, 19 Dec 2017). Parker is the founder of Madcap Retreats, an organization offering a yearly calendar of workshops and retreats for aspiring and established writers. Though she earned her BA in English literature from the University of Southern Mississippi and her MA in gender studies from the University of Cincinnati, she now lives on the Kansas prairie with her wife.


To attend this workshop, you must be at least 18 years old by the time the workshop begins.

We encourage writers in all stages of their careers to apply, whether you are aspiring or published. If you aspire to grow your skills, hone your craft, and change your perspective, this workshop will be a great fit for you.


  • A short statement of interest submitted as a Word document or PDF.
  • A 5-page writing sample. The pages should be double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font and submitted as an attachement.

When considering applications, we give equal weight to the statement of interest and writing sample. All admission decisions will be made by the Steering Committee.


To begin your application, click the link at the bottom of this page and complete the form. If you would like to be considered for one of our Diversity Scholarships, please indicate that on your application.

Once you have submitted your application, email madcapretreats@gmail.com with your statement of interest and 5-page writing sample. We are accepting applictions until December 31, 2017. Applicants are being notified on a rolling basis.

Applications will be considered complete when we receive your statement of interest and sample pages. The application form will generate an automatic email to confirm your application form has been submitted. Due to the volume of email we receive, we are unable to send a confirmation email when we receive your statement of interest and sample pages. Beginning December 1, admissions will be determined on a rolling basis, so getting your application in early will give you the best chance of acceptance.


Your application will be reviewed by members of the Madcap Steering Committee. Please note that the authors reviewing your pages may already have independently developed or may in the future develop a project with ideas or themes that are similar to your submitted material. In submitting material to Madcap Retreats, you understand and acknowledge that you will have no interest or claim therein.

One of the missions of Madcap is to make writing retreats and workshops as accessible as possible. We believe that bringing writers together in creative community can be powerful. These events have the capacity to change people and careers, but getting to them can be difficult. They come with a price tag and try as we might to keep that price tag low, we know that they will still be out of reach for many deserving writers.

It is for these reasons that we are pleased to offer several scholarship opportunities for marginalized writers.

Madcap Diversity Scholarship

This scholarship provided by Madcap Retreats includes lodging in the 22 bunkroom in a Twin bed in addition to meals, supplies, and administrative fees.

Please note: recipients of Madcap Scholarships are responsible for their own travel.

Swoon Reads Scholarship

Swoon Reads is proud to be partnering with Madcap Retreats to offer a writing workshop scholarship to an aspiring marginalized writer of young adult fiction! This scholarship includes a $1000 travel voucher (to be used towards flights or other transportation to the retreat location) as well as $950 toward the lodging room of your choice for the Writing Cross-Culturally Workshop. To be considered, please indicate on your Madcap application that you're applying for a diversity scholarship.

About Swoon Reads:

Swoon Reads publishes the latest and greatest in YA fiction with the help of readers and writers like you. We’re looking for irresistible, unforgettable, original young adult novels that have never been published before. From heroic epics, to alien adventures, to all-the-feels romance: if our community and editors fall in love with your book, you could land a publishing deal with Macmillan.

Read undiscovered books and learn how you can get published at swoonreads.com.


All applicants must be 18+ years old by the time the workshop begins. Applicants applying for a scholarship will be considered for both scholarship opportunities. We use the We Need Diverse Books™ definition of diversity and applicants must identify as one or more of the following:

  • Person of color
  • Native American
  • Person with a disability
  • Marginalized religious or cultural minority in the United States.


Please note all schlarships for the 2018 event have been awarded. We are no longer accepting scholarship applications.

Applications should be sumbitted in the manner outlined in the previous section. To ensure your application is considered for a scholarship, use the scholarship section of the application form to indicate which scholarship you are applying for.

Scholarship recipients will be notified by November 25th, 2018.


Yes! If you would like to contribute, checks can be made out to Hotspur & Co. and sent to the following address:

PO Box 442310

Lawrence, KS 66044

You can also support us via PayPal!

Every donation received will go toward funding future scholarships for aspiring writers.

If you would like to sponsor an additional Diversity Scholarship for the Writing Cross-Culturally workshop, please contact us directly at madcapretreats@gmail.com. All funds raised will be contributed will be used to fund diversity scholarships.

Please note: we are not a 501(c)(3) organization and cannot offer receipts for tax deductions.


We do our best to find venues that are accessible and affordable, however, this venue includes several staircases and uneven ground. While there is a ramp that will allow access for persons in wheelchairs, the site is not ADA approved. If you have any questions or concerns about accessibility, please let us know.


Plan your arrival for after 6pm on Thursday, March 15th. Plan to vacate the venue by 10am on Monday, March 19th.


The closest big airport is Nashville, TN, approximately 1 hour from the workshop house. After December 1st, 2017, we will enable participants to get in touch with each other to arrange carpools.


Comfortable clothes and your laptop. The majority of our time will be spent in the seminar spaces at the lodge. Dress for comfort!

You may also want to bring all or some of the following:

  • slippers
  • ear plugs
  • eye mask
  • hiking shoes
  • business cards/ a way to share your contact info


    The bunk rooms will be booked by gender idenity. There will be a space on the application form for you to express your preference.


    Each meal will include a vegetarian option. Additional options will be available on an individual basis.

    Continental Breakfasts (Friday - Monday) | Coffee / Orange Juice / Cereal & milk / Granola bars / Bagels & cream cheese / muffins / yogurt / hard boiled eggs

    Drinks | There will be a selection of non-alcoholic beverages (tea, juice).

    Thursday the 15th

    Dinner | Tossed Salad / Grilled Marinated Chicken / Herb Roasted Potatoes / Broccoli Casserole / Rolls / Strawberry Salad

    Friday the 16th

    Lunch | Cheddar Cheese Corn Chowder / Roasted Tomato Basil Soup / Rustic Grilled Cheese Sandwich / Assorted Cookies

    Dinner | Chicken Fajita Bar (Bar items include: Grilled Chicken, Tortillas, Nacho Chips, Refried beans, Mexican Rice, Salsa, Cheese, Lettuce, and Sour Cream) / Cinnamon Apple Crisp

    Saturday the 17th

    Lunch | Deli Sandwiches (turkey, ham, veggie) / Pasta Salad / Rocky Road Brownies

    Dinner | Rosemary Roasted Chicken / Wild Rice / Country Style Green Beans / Peach and Cherry Cobbler

    Sunday the 18th

    Lunch | Chicken Salad or Veggie Wrap Sandwiches / Broccoli Cheese Soup / Chicken Tortilla Soup / Rice Crispie Treats

    Dinner | Garden Salad / Black Bean and Pepperjack Lasagna / Meat Sauce Lasagna / Garlic Bread / Fresh Fruit with Amaretto Cream


    If you want something specific you are welcome to bring your own food and beverage items. There are no fridges in the rooms, but there is a fridge in one of the common areas that you are free to use.

    There are many options for lodging:

  • 22 bunkroom: 22 Twin bunkbeds with three shared bathrooms
  • 8 bunkroom: 8 Twin bunkbeds with one shared bathroom
  • 4 bunkroom: 4 XL Twin bunkbeds with a shared bathroom
  • Triple room with shared bath: 1 Queen, 1 daybed, 1 slide out trundle with shared bathroom
  • Triple room with private bath: 1 Queen, 1 daybed, 1 slide out trundle with private bathroom
  • King suite: 1 King, 1 daybed with delux, private bathroom
  • River cabin: 4 Twin bunkbeds with private bathroom
  • River cabin: 1 King, 1 daybed with private bathroom

  • While most of the rooms are in the main lodge, the River Cabin sits a short distance away near the river. Attendees in the River Cabin will enjoy a private gathering area and small, personal kitchen, as well as easy access to the river. All of the rooms are furnished with linens and towels. The accommodations are basic and comfortable!

    Rate includes 4 nights lodging, all meals for the duration of the workshop, supplies, and administration fees.

  • 22 bunkroom: $800 (room sleeps 22 individuals)
  • 8 bunkroom: $900 (room sleeps 8 individuals)
  • 4 bunkroom: $950 (room sleeps 4 individuals)
  • Triple room with shared bath: Queen bed - $1,000; Daybed and Trundle - $950 (room sleeps 3 individuals)
  • Triple room with private bath: Queen bed - $1,200; Daybed and Trundle - $1,100 (rooms sleeps 3 individuals)
  • King suite: King bed - $1,500; Daybed -$1,300(room sleeps 2 individuals)
  • River cabin bunkroom: $1,300 (rooms sleeps 4 individuals)
  • River cabin King suite: King bed - $1,500; daybed - $1,400 (room sleeps 2 individuals)
  • A nonrefundable 50% deposit is due at the time of acceptance into the workshop. Full payment is due two months before the start of the workshop. We accept personal checks, money orders, and PayPal.

    Venue Gallery

    The 22 Bunk

    This room contains 22 individual bunkbeds and three bathrooms. It's like camp!

    The 8 Bunk

    This room contains 8 individual bunkbeds and one bathroom.

    Queen/ King Rooms

    Several rooms have Queen or King beds as well as daybeds with pull-out trundles.

    Daybed and Trundles

    Several rooms contain daybeds with pull-out trundles. They are best suited to individuals who are not too tall!

    The River Cabin

    The river cabin has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and will sleep 6 individuals. It has a private sitting room and kitchen as well as a front porch and easy access to the river nearby.

    River Cabin Bunks

    The river cabin has a bunkroom that will sleep 4 individuals as well as a King room with a daybed (not pictured).

    Reserve your spot