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South Africa
Barrydale, 11 -15 November 2024
Cape Town 11 - 16 March 2025

 

We have a few retreats in 2024/5

We retreat twice a year in South Africa. New writers are welcomed along with returning friends. These retreats cover novel, memoir, non-fiction, screenplays and more recently blogging and short form writing. A mixed series of classes will give you craft input, while we carve out quiet time to retreat and write. 

Cape Town Retreats

WHO SHOULD COME?

Every year we retreat a few times for a writing immersion. Anyone with a book, or a writing project is welcome to join.

 

You may be a new writer, or an experienced writer who simply needs time away from your life to really settle into your writing.  You will join writing coach and literary agent Sarah Bullen on a journey into quiet, and into your story. 

All writing genre's are welcome on this retreat - novels, memoir, non-fiction, poetry, children's books, academic.​Mornings will be a structured class with afternoons free to pour your words onto the page. We gather in the evenings for reading, feedback and storytelling. 


I have writers of many different levels coming on these retreats. Some are starting a book and need more guidance, others working on the 2nd or 3rd books. Still other writers join to journal or write poetry. Academic writers are also welcome. Each writer will get a personal plan to focus on your project and work on your writing plans and material.

For those who need a push, the structured sessions will cover a lot of craft. There will be modules on how to write, edit and market your book, find a structure, character, plot, advanced plotting and pace, how to construct scenes. We also cover writing techniques, timelines and schedules, genre and finding your voice, preparing your manuscript, how to approach publishers, how to write your marketing material and new publishing models.

HOW DO THE DAYS ON RETREAT UNFOLD?

​This is an exercise in slowing down. Let's not rush. Allow yourself some time and space to really settle into your writing craft. The days unfold in a slow and easy way.  

* Two daily classes on writing craft from structure to story building.

* A structured programme to advance your project

* Anchored writing time where you can get feedback, input and review. Or just sit and write

* A writing plan for your project, with deadlines and support.

* Professional feedback and peer review on your work

* Personal book structure session with your host and writing coach Sarah Bullen

* Workshop your synopsis / proposal.

* How to present your book to agents and publishers

* How to make your book your brand.

The group is intimate and we are gathering in the most beautiful and magical of landscapes for a retreat in summer.

Sarah Bullen

Barrydale
11-15 Nov 2024

The Venue is in Barrydale at the Karoo Art Hotel, three hours drive from Cape Town. The wonderful little town of Barrydale lies nestled at the foot of the beautiful Langeberge in the heart of the Tradouw Valley, Life moves in a low gear, which is exactly the sort of slowing down that serves your story. We will gather in this arty and eclectic hotel for a week.

COSTS BARRYDALE

Please note that the price is in USD unless you are based in Southern Africa. See the relevant price structure below. 

 

COST IS: Tuition per person $800  (or R5680) .+ accommodation of your choice.

We have a number of different rooms available and they are listed below. Once you pay your deposit you will book your room separately.

 

So in calculating the cost of the retreat it is

TUITION + ACCOMMODATION. 

 

​THE KLEIN KAROO ROOMS

Single occupancy R9602,50 ($500) + tuition​

THE GROOT KAROO ROOMS

Single occupancy R10,947 ($550) + tuition​

THE GARDEN SUITES x 2

Single occupancy R11,600 ($600) + tuition​

 

Please note a deposit is required to secure your place. This is non-refundable as per our T&Cs which we will send you. Please be clear before your book as places fill up fast.

 

We can jump on a quick call to discuss if this is right for you. ​

 

COST INCLUDES

4 nights accommodation 

Breakfast daily and dinner

Two lunches,

Pre-dinner cocktails on two nights2 group dinners (first and last night)

A fully guided writing process

A one-on-one session 

Structured feedback on your project 

All course fees and learning material 

COST EXCLUDES

​Flights to Cape Town if needed

Travel to the venue.

We will organise a bus / transfer if you need at a shared cost, or self drive. 

Additional lunch and dinner will be at your own cost or you can self-cater in your own cottage. 

Visas and Travel Insurance

Any additional services such as yoga, massages, treatments, or extra trips​

A HISTORIC ART HOTEL

The Venue is in Barrydale at the Karoo Art Hotel, three hours drive from Cape Town.

The wonderful little town of Barrydale lies nestled at the foot of the beautiful Langeberge in the heart of the Tradouw Valley,

Life moves in a low gear, which is exactly the sort of slowing down that serves your story.

We will gather in this arty and eclectic hotel for a week.

Cape Town
11 - 16 Mar 2025

Join writing coach and literary agent Sarah Bullen on a week long adventure into writing in the heart of Cape Town in midsummer.
March is the height of the summer in Cape Town and we are staying at a boutique hotel in the city centre to write, and explore the city. 

COST CAPE TOWN

The retreat is per person $2,300 for a standard room or $2600 for a mountain facing room. De.posit $600 plus instalments x 2. 

 

COSTS INCLUDE

  • 5 nights in a boutique hotel in the heart of Cape Town

  • Transfers from the airport

  • Breakfast daily

  • Your second meal daily which is either dinner (or lunch)

  • An evening with an authentic African 14-course menu with live Djembe drumming and dancing

  • A day trip around the city and beaches

  • All tuition and course material

  • Snacks at all sessions + teas and coffees

  • A fully guided writing process

  • A one-on-one session

COST EXCLUDES
  • Flights to Cape Town if needed

  • Travel to the venue. Uber is a great option.

  • Additional lunches / dinner outside the 5 inculded will be at your own cost

  • Visas and Travel Insurance

  • Any additional services such as yoga, massages, treatments, or extra trips

BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN CAPE TOWN

 

We are staying in the heart of the city of Cape Town at an intimate African boutique hotel. Walk around the city and explore, or climb the famous Table Mountain.

The hotel is located in Cape Town's East City 'Media Quarter' and nestled alongside leafy Dunkley Square (popular for its excellent restaurants, coffee shops and bars).

iKhaya Lodge is a 10-minute drive away (or Uber) from the V&A Waterfront and Robben Island Ferry. It has wonderful views of Table Mountain and Lion's Head and is in the bustling heart of the Mother City.

We are within a few minutes’ walk of many cafes, restaurants, yoga, museums and art galleries.

Enjoy the unfettered view of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head from the mountain facing rooms, or soak in the peace of the city facing rooms. All rooms invite you to kick off your shoes, and flop onto the oh so comfortable beds… we’ll forgive you for sleeping in…

WE WILL COVER ..

REVIEWS & TESTIMONIALS

WE HAVE LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF REVIEWS OVER THE YEARS.
SOME ARE BELOW 

THERE IS ALSO AN ENTIRE PAGE OF THEM HERE

Surpassed all expectations, delivered more than I hoped. I had an idea of what a writer's retreat should give. I had an idea of what I would experience. I also had a lot of expectations. Sarah Bullen's Writer's Retreat delivered on all of those, but also delivered an additional connection which was totally unexpected. It's hard to describe the full extent of it. All I can say is if you ever wanted to do a writer's retreat, if you cannot find time or struggled to hone your craft by yourself, if daily life is messing up your goals, GO AND DO THIS RETREAT! 

Evert Verhagen
 

Absolutely fantastic experience on the writing retreat with Sarah! 5 days of blissful writing, learning techniques from the best, sharing with an awesome group of ladies! Beautiful setting and lovely place for writing
by Patricia Pillay 

It took me 42 published books before I attended a writing retreat. I wasn't sure what to expect but wasn't disappointed. I learnt a huge amount on many levels— from the actual structure of book writing, seeing things from the publishers' viewpoint, and self-marketing, intermingled with some shamanic practices. Loved interacting with the other writers and hearing their stories. I wish I'd done this workshop before.

by Ann Gadd

​Everything was lovely, great group, Got valuable feedback, Sarah is very knowledgeable and personable. I enjoyed the experience and would do it again 

by Cesar

This was an excellent event! I learned a lot, met some fabulous other writers (whose ideas and talent was so inspiring), and got a real kick start on the process of writing my book! Sarah was fantastic. She held the vision of the group, engaged us, was fun and involved. I highly recommend her as a mentor, teacher and retreat leader.

Cat Glennie

 

Pippa Shaper '22
This has the perfect holding space to get me started on a book that has been sitting in my head and heart for years. I doubt I would have had the courage to star without this space

Ruth Parry, UK ‘22
A wonderful balance pf pressure and fun, downtime play and focussed writing. Very clearly tells you and demonstrates tricks of the trade. A deeply absorbing experience, careful of the individual and their needs, while fostering community and shared difficulties and laughter

Megan de Beyer ‘22
The wisdom, experience and amazing energy of the Sarah Kate combo is incredible. A wonderful team to motivate me to write my next book. They create an interesting and solid container which attracts amazing people from around the world to their carefully chosen location.I’m a fan and for the first time, a groupie!

Tshepiso Phiri ‘22
If you are looking for a place to share your work /writing  with some experienced inspiring writers, Kate and Sarah are your girls. Amazing girls who are true to their craft. My ten days on the residency were filled with self discovery, time to write and learn much-needed techniques from experts from other parts of the world. I made some lifelong new friendships.

Sue Adams ‘22
I would recommend this 100 times over. Sarah and Kate your combination of expertise, enthusiasm and incredibly slick, well organised retreat made this experience memorable. Being given the space to write, while being encouraged, coached and assured, allowed me t develop as a writer. And as far as the Greek Island experience it was unsurpassed — amazing food, a village with great vibe, fabulous swimming and interesting excursions. It couldn't get better.

Andrew McEvoy, Australia ’22
Go and do it! Learn to write. Destress in a nurturing environment and do something completely different. It’s as much about “you-time” as it is about writing. It’s real life non-fiction. I loved learning how much I didn’t know about writing a book. You two are like peaches and cream — hand in a glove.

Millie McEvoy, Australia ’22
It doesn't matter the level of experience you have going into it, you will learn something. I was daunted entering the retreat by my lack of experience and not working on a book, but I learned things I wouldn't have learned had I not attended!

Sue Routledge ’22
This has been a life-changing experience for me. Transformation, as my card said. Kate and Sarah are an excellent team and I always felt valued and supported. Especially those who find retreats
daunting, this was spot on.

Suzanne Casamento, USA ’22
I highly recommend this retreat and residency experience if you’d like to receive inspiring instruction, sharing and exploration in a beautiful setting where the energy is perfect for creativity and writing.
I loved the balance of learning, sharing and exploring and also that there was no pressure if I needed to sit out an activity. Thank you for a magical experience and I will gladly follow you all over the world! Fantastic job! Lots of love.

Barry Gilder, Syria ’22
Sun, sea, quaint village, wonderful restaurants. Lots of inspiring and quiet writing spaces, Warm supportive facilitators.

Mary Joe ’22
Transformative and life-changing and you get to write a book with these amazing mentors and guides. Thanks Sarah and Kate for allowing me to be part of so many people’s beautiful journeys. You guys and in my heart forever.

Reneva Fourie Syria ’22
It’s a warm, inspiring environment for beginners and experienced writers alike. It was perfectly structured and where more personal writing time was required, the flexibility in this regard was appreciated!

Alex Ruczaj, United Kingdom ‘22
Just WOW - it may also depend on who your cohort is-just a little-but wow I lucked out! I feel reborn. Renewed! Rediscovered! Nurturing environment, fun, focussed and in an amazing setting! Thank you!

Celynn Morin, France ’22
The world needs more authentic stories  — everyone should attend! Loved the length of more left brain work in the morning and heart focussed work in evening.

* The basics of planning a compelling story

* The key elements of structure

* The business side of books and screenplays

* Short Form Writing Masterclass –

LinkedIn, Twitter, Substack and magazine journalism

* Researching and the art of the interview

* Creating realistic characters

* Beginnings, starts and hooks

* Self editing and editing styles

* Handling point of view* Working with dialogue

* Working through personal blocks

* Adding depth and layers, tone and voice

* Sourcing tips and techniques

* Understanding what an author brand is and how to build one

* How to launch your brand and publicity ideas

Our Team.

We are there to write, and also to have a lot of laughs and fun. We love travel and writing. Put the two together? Magic

Venue Temenos 2023

Temenos is well loved for its beauty and tranquility. It is set in the heart of the small village of McGregor. There are a range of simple, fully equipped cottages. ​Each cottage sleeps has its own private patio and fireplace for winter visits.

The centre is comes from the Buddhist tradition where simplicity and silence are welcomed. There is a swimming pool in the gardens, healing gardens are many private spaces for meditation and quiet reflection and writing.  

There is an on-site restaurant that offers breakfast lunch and supper.

There are 11 cottages and when you book you will be given the list and can select one that calls to you. 


COSTS 2023 + 2024 TEMENOS

Single occupancy room: R11,202  ZAR 
(please convert into your currency)
Deposit: R5,000 


Shared room: R9,502 per person 
Deposit: R5,000 per person


We will not pair you up with someone, so book this room if you are coming with a partner or friend. 
Non Residential Ticket R6,000 * limited to 4 places
Please note a deposit is required to secure your place. This is non-refundable as per our T&Cs which we will send you. Please be clear before your book as places fill up fast. We can jump on a quick call to discuss if this is right for you. 

COST INCLUDES

  • 4 nights accommodation 

  • Daily buffet breakfast

  • A guided writing process (tea and coffee provided)

  • A one-on-one session 

  • Structured feedback on your project 

  • All course fees and learning material 


COST EXCLUDES

  • Flights

  • Visas and Travel Insurance

  • Any additional services such as massages, treatments or extra trips

  • Extra meals not included _ please note the cottages are self catering


YOU WILL LEARN

  • ​ How to define and create your most compelling story

  • The elements of structure

  •  Finding your book genre and sub-genre

  • Creating plot, place and character outlines for your genre

  • Adding plot points and structure

  • Beginnings, middles and ends

  • Developing your main character

  • Developing your minor characters

  • Developing your voice

  • Developing point of view as a plotting technique

  • ​How to improve your plotting, pace and structure

  • How to make your characters unforgettable

  • Adding depth and layers​

  • Sourcing tips and techniques

  • How to present your book to publishers

REVIEWS & TESTIMONIALS

WE HAVE LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF REVIEWS OVER THE YEARS (BLUSH).
SOME ARE BELOW
THERE IS ALSO AN ENTIRE PAGE OF THEM HERE

Surpassed all expectations, delivered more than I hoped.I had an idea of what a writer's retreat should give. I had an idea of what I would experience. I also had a lot of expectations. Sarah Bullen's Writer's Retreat delivered on all of those, but also delivered an additional connection which was totally unexpected. It's hard to describe the full extent of it. All I can say is if you ever wanted to do a writer's retreat, if you cannot find time or struggled to hone your craft by yourself, if daily life is messing up your goals, GO AND DO THIS RETREAT! 

Evert Verhagen
 

Absolutely fantastic experience on the writing retreat with Sarah! 5 days of blissful writing, learning techniques from the best, sharing with an awesome group of ladies! Beautiful setting and lovely place for writing
by Patricia Pillay 

It took me 42 published books before I attended a writing retreat. I wasn't sure what to expect but wasn't disappointed. I learnt a huge amount on many levels— from the actual structure of book writing, seeing things from the publishers' viewpoint, and self-marketing, intermingled with some shamanic practices. Loved interacting with the other writers and hearing their stories. I wish I'd done this workshop before.

by Ann Gadd

​Everything was lovely, great group, Got valuable feedback, Sarah is very knowledgeable and personable. I enjoyed the experience and would do it again 

by Cesar

This was an excellent event! I learned a lot, met some fabulous other writers (whose ideas and talent was so inspiring), and got a real kick start on the process of writing my book! Sarah was fantastic. She held the vision of the group, engaged us, was fun and involved. I highly recommend her as a mentor, teacher and retreat leader.

Cat Glennie

 

Pippa Shaper '22
This has the perfect holding space to get me started on a book that has been sitting in my head and heart for years. I doubt I would have had the courage to star without this space

Ruth Parry, UK ‘22
A wonderful balance pf pressure and fun, downtime play and focussed writing. Very clearly tells you and demonstrates tricks of the trade. A deeply absorbing experience, careful of the individual and their needs, while fostering community and shared difficulties and laughter

Megan de Beyer ‘22
The wisdom, experience and amazing energy of the Sarah Kate combo is incredible. A wonderful team to motivate me to write my next book. They create an interesting and solid container which attracts amazing people from around the world to their carefully chosen location.I’m a fan and for the first time, a groupie!

Tshepiso Phiri ‘22
If you are looking for a place to share your work /writing  with some experienced inspiring writers, Kate and Sarah are your girls. Amazing girls who are true to their craft. My ten days on the residency were filled with self discovery, time to write and learn much-needed techniques from experts from other parts of the world. I made some lifelong new friendships.

Sue Adams ‘22
I would recommend this 100 times over. Sarah and Kate your combination of expertise, enthusiasm and incredibly slick, well organised retreat made this experience memorable. Being given the space to write, while being encouraged, coached and assured, allowed me t develop as a writer. And as far as the Greek Island experience it was unsurpassed — amazing food, a village with great vibe, fabulous swimming and interesting excursions. It couldn't get better.

Andrew McEvoy, Australia ’22
Go and do it! Learn to write. Destress in a nurturing environment and do something completely different. It’s as much about “you-time” as it is about writing. It’s real life non-fiction. I loved learning how much I didn’t know about writing a book. You two are like peaches and cream — hand in a glove.

Millie McEvoy, Australia ’22
It doesn't matter the level of experience you have going into it, you will learn something. I was daunted entering the retreat by my lack of experience and not working on a book, but I learned things I wouldn't have learned had I not attended!

Sue Routledge ’22
This has been a life-changing experience for me. Transformation, as my card said. Kate and Sarah are an excellent team and I always felt valued and supported. Especially those who find retreats
daunting, this was spot on.

Suzanne Casamento, USA ’22
I highly recommend this retreat and residency experience if you’d like to receive inspiring instruction, sharing and exploration in a beautiful setting where the energy is perfect for creativity and writing.
I loved the balance of learning, sharing and exploring and also that there was no pressure if I needed to sit out an activity. Thank you for a magical experience and I will gladly follow you all over the world! Fantastic job! Lots of love.

Barry Gilder, Syria ’22
Sun, sea, quaint village, wonderful restaurants. Lots of inspiring and quiet writing spaces, Warm supportive facilitators.

Mary Joe ’22
Transformative and life-changing and you get to write a book with these amazing mentors and guides. Thanks Sarah and Kate for allowing me to be part of so many people’s beautiful journeys. You guys and in my heart forever.

Reneva Fourie Syria ’22
It’s a warm, inspiring environment for beginners and experienced writers alike. It was perfectly structured and where more personal writing time was required, the flexibility in this regard was appreciated!

Alex Ruczaj, United Kingdom ‘22
Just WOW - it may also depend on who your cohort is-just a little-but wow I lucked out! I feel reborn. Renewed! Rediscovered! Nurturing environment, fun, focussed and in an amazing setting! Thank you!

Celynn Morin, France ’22
The world needs more authentic stories  — everyone should attend! Loved the length of more left brain work in the morning and heart focussed work in evening.

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