Jinny Webber Reviews Writers’ Retreats in Greece

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Unable to decide whether to book La Bodeguita or La Casa Grande, I spent a week in each. Both are peaceful and conducive to focused work. In such beautiful, calm spots, I accomplished more than expected and felt lucky every minute! Each residence has advantages, so I can’t recommend one over the other. La Bodeguita in Dafni is more remote, with the sea at the end of the lane, an outdoor shower, and an enjoyable walk into the hills where a taverna is located. La Casa Grande, in the small village of Agios Ioannis on a hillside, is larger with constant internet. 

I appreciated the enthusiasm Nikos and Georgia have for their retreats. They’re helpful organizers, friendly and accommodating to guests’ needs and wishes. Mine included swims at the beach by the nearest town, Aliveri, and its Saturday Farmer’s Market, an excursion to the Aegean side of the island, and various special treats. Georgia’s excellent meals add to the delight of being in Greece, and the residences were well stocked with delicious fruit and snacks. 

Best of all, however, is the stimulating atmosphere: lovely places to work. I hope to return soon.

I had such a wonderful time!

Unforgettable.

My stay with you exceeded my expectations! 

Jinny has been born in Los Angeles, Califoria and living in Santa Barbara since she came to UCSB as a freshman, she has spent a great deal of time in England, watching the construction of the new Globe, the restoration of the Rose theatre ruins from Shakespeare’s London, researching at the British Library and Cambridge University Library, and best of all, visiting historical sites and attending plays.

All of these contributed to her historical novels set in Shakespeare’s England. Each features a girl who disguises herself as male in order to perform on the London stage, when only men were allowed to act: The Secret Player, Dark Venus, and, published in November, 2021, Bedtrick.

Her own amateur theatrical experience contributed to her backstage view: she has played Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Corin the shepherd in As you Like It (as a woman), and the widow in The Taming of the Shrew. As a sabbatical project, she co-directed and stage managed a faculty production of As You Like It with Jim Edmondson of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Her short stories and essays have appeared in Blood and Roses, Library Book, Splickety Spark, and Greek Myths Revisited. Plays include Dearly Begotten, a spin off from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, and Bedtrick, based on the novel, as well as Queeen Undaunted: Margaret of Anjou, Qualities of Mercy, Tales of Woo and Woe, and From Eve’s Fair Hand for DramaDogs of Santa Barbara.

Jinny spent one week in each residency in September 2022.

Guest Writer Agnes Marton Got Published!

Long Poem Magazine - Issue 24 | Autumn 2020

Back in September 2019, Agnes Marton from Hungary/ Luxembourg spent ten days in La Bodeguita Writing Retreat in Dafni, Evia. According to her review, she seemed to enjoy her stay and she thanked us for our hospitality.

At that time, Agnes was working on several projects but we can remember that she was quite busy with a jaguar research. A few weeks ago, we got some exciting news!!!

Agnes Marton poem “Mission Jaguar” got published in Issue Twenty Four of Long Poem Magazine in the UK.

Congratulations Agnes!!! This is really impressive.

Honestly, we cannot describe better our excitement, pride and honour for this accomplishment which somehow took place in one of our Writing Retreats.

Please allow 5 minutes to read an extract:

 

The Jaguar God of Terrestrial Plague

 

The Aged Jaguar Paddler,

steering the canoe with Tonsured Maize God.

A nagual, protecting shamans from evil spirits.

Earth, you gave me pace and reproach.

I keep repeating the same mistake.

Habitat loss.

The Jaguar Patron of the War Mouth of Pax.

The Jaguar Goddess of Midwifery and War.

Peacing out sea, piercing out the Earth —

the Jaguar of the Backward Glance.

 

 

Agnes comments about this publication:

“To be able to explore the jaguar corridor and the jaguar habitat in Costa Rica, to do field trips to national parks like Corvcovcado, Amistad and Piedras Blancas, and to become familiar with the Boruca culture, I applied for and won the Jaguar Luna Arts Collective Residency and also the Mauser Harmony with Nature Foundation residency.

However, because of COVID-19, my research trip had to be postponed, probably until March 2021, maybe longer. I used the lockdown for doing the necessary research, and for finishing my poem sequence anyway. I studied wide-ranging areas from felid conservation to animal tales.

I tried to make the best of the situation and to reflect on the lockdown as well as ecological issues, the extended role of social media in our limited lives, the selfie-culture and artistic self-representation, the way mythology and shamanic practices might infiltrate the mundane and ephemeral. Instead of looking into the necessity and the advantages of wearing surgical masks, but certainly hinting at them, I elaborated on numerous aspects of artistic masks: their history, techniques  to create them, cultures where they were widely used.

Masks also gave me the opportunity to ruminate over identity, integrity, trust and betrayal, even blasphemy. Another part of the poem sequence revolves around desires and expectations, fulfilment and loss. The text is multi-layered with vivid imagery and playful language.

These jaguars lured me and haunted me throughout the lockdown.”

Issue 24 of Long Poem Magazine that includes Agnes’s poem Mission Jaguar (along with other amazing pieces of writing of course) is available for orders here: http://longpoemmagazine.org.uk/issues/issue-twenty-four/

Long Poem Magazine is recognised as a place to encounter the best of traditional and innovative new writing, with a prestigious and growing list of contributors. More details about it can be found here: http://longpoemmagazine.org.uk/about/.

From the bottom of our heart, we wish to Agnes some more greater achievements in the future.

Agnes, once again we would like to deeply thank you for your decision to spent time in La Bodeguita and work on your writing projects in Greece. Looking forward to hosting you again in December 2020!!!

As long as you love what you do, success is the only way.


Writers’ Retreats in Greece Annual Survey of Excellence & Improvement

La Bodeguita Writing Retreat Dafni

It has been almost 3 years since we created the Writer’s Retreats in Greece. In the aftermath of the recent virus shakedown, we noticed that almost everybody -except President Trump- started to rethink, reorganize and change completely the way they do things in their lives.

We belong to this category of people who see hardships and misfortunes as new opportunities and chances. Having said that, we aim to change the way we operate. We want to polish the good stuff, get rid of the clutter and start adding new exciting touches.

Honestly, we cannot think any better way to do it but listen to YOUR feedback. Hence, we are launching the first Annual Survey of Excellence and Improvement that we mean to run for a long time because sky is the limit!

Please allow 5 minutes of your super valuable time and complete the survey. It is anonymous and the results will stay between us. A huge THANK YOU in advance!


Urania Fung Reviews Writers’ Retreats in Greece

Table with a winter view | La Casa GrandeMy stay at La Casa Grande in Agios Ioannis was fantastic! The house is beautifully remodelled on the inside while keeping its original flavour on the outside. Nikos and Georgia diligently took care of my needs, so I could focus on writing. Immersing myself in the peaceful, relaxing rustic environment was a valuable experience for me.

I enjoyed hiking along farm roads and seeing sheep, goats, chickens, cats, and dogs. Sometimes, I could also see sheep across the street while working on the balcony. The healthy, locally sourced, homemade Mediterranean meal that was delivered once a day was always delicious and very high quality, and there was always an abundance of food in the house for snacking on. I was there in December, and plenty of wood was available to keep the cozy fireplace going. The luxurious bar soaps, laundry detergent, and softener are all homemade and organic.

If you want a nice place where you can focus on your writing, then I highly recommend this retreat!

Urania Fung US writerUrania J. Fung is an English professor at Tarrant County College, TX since 2010.

She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University, and her MA in English from Sam Houston State University where she saw a power in poetry that she employs in her fiction to this day.

Urania has hosted WORDfest (a festival of writer organizations around the Dallas/Fort Worth area) at TCC since 2017. She has also been a panelist at Polaris 24 and ArmadilloCons 34, 36, and 38.

Her short stories have been published in the fantasy anthologies Immersion (A Debate over the Hopping Undead), The Dragon & The Stars (The Right to Eat Decent Food) & Ages of Wonder (Mist Wraith).

 

Urania spent more than two weeks staying in La Casa Grande in December 2019. 

Frank Reidy reviews Writers’ Retreats in Greece

La Casa Grande is a wonderful Retreat and so conducive to creative endeavours. It is located next to the small hillside village of Agios Ioannis, Evia and within 15 minutes of the iconic seaside town of Aliveri, full of tavernas, cafes and supermarkets. But the key to this retreat is La Casa Grande itself.

The stone-built house with its patios and awnings is peaceful and has many nooks and crannies to work in. Yet, this lovingly refurbished house has all modern conveniences with a first class kitchen with a fast, secure and reliable broadband connection. There are numerous walks and strolls around the village some easy and others challenging.

Nikos manages the facility conscious of the needs of artists and writers and is readily available to assist and guide. The excellent logistics of the Retreat with ‘meet and greet’ at Athens Airport and the transfer at the end of the Retreat relieve the guest of worries or concerns. Nikos’s attention to detail and his practical approach is refreshing.

Above all else, La Casa Grande is a great place to work in and reflect. It’s very walls are lyrical and homely. After an all too brief sojourn, I can assuredly recommend La Casa Grande.

Once again Nikos and Georgia and families thank you for a wonderful visit and “I will be back”.

Frank Reidy Irish WriterFrank Reidy is a former army commandant, defence and security analyst focusing on Middle East & East Africa, member of TG4 Board, researcher and of course writer. During his 25 years in the Defence Forces, he was stationed in the Curragh in Kildare as head of the Audio Visual Unit, where he lectured on Media Studies in the Military College. He spent periods in both the Middle East and in Rwanda. On his retirement, he spent some time working with RTÉ as a reporter and researcher. He returned to Rwanda in 2000, working for Refugee Trust International. He regularly returns to Africa, travelling and as a voluntary worker.

His first book, Ó Chósta go Cósta, which was published by Cló Iar-Chonnachta in 2009, is based on his travels in east Africa. Ó Chósta go Cósta won the prestigious the Irish language book of the year award – Gradam Uí Shiúilleabháin – in 2010. Frank was born in Sligo and he lives in Ros a’ Mhíl, Co Galway. He is a regular contributor to both Raidió na Gaeltachta and TG4 on both defence and international issues.

Frank spent two weeks staying in La Casa Grande in October 2019.

Agnes Marton reviews Writers’ Retreats in Greece

I highly recommend the Artist Residency La Bodeguita in Dafni, Greece. I spent ten days there and got a lot of writing done. Can’t wait to be back to enjoy the uninterrupted time, the not-at-all touristy beach, the home-made meals, and last but not least the hospitality and friendship of my hosts.

Agnes Marton from Luxembourg visits La Bodeguita in Dafni (Writer's Retreats Greece)Agnes Marton is a Hungarian-born poet, writer, librettist & Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK). Recent publications include her collection ‘Captain Fly’s Bucket List‘ and four chapbooks with Moria Books (USA).

She won the National Poetry Day Competition in the UK, and an anthology she edited (Estuary: A Confluence of Art and Poetry) won the Saboteur Award. Her work is widely anthologized, some examples are: ‘Alice – Ekphrasis at the British Library‘ & ‘Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen‘.

Agnes stayed in La Bodeguita in September 2019.