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Lamu, Kenya, November, 2025

Lamu Retreats

Come and join a group of writers in magical Lamu, a tiny, secret archipelago off the East African coast of Kenya. This is the place to discover your story, to connect, to rest and dream.

We are going back to Lamu to write in 2025, and this has now become an annual pilgrimage and a time to indulge in the magic of East Africa

We have been going there since 2021 to write. 
The first two years were in collaboration with the Littlegig Lamu Festival, where the focus of the festival was writing.  In 2025 the festival is changing gear, and so we are writing afterwards when the dust dies down and the music fades so we can find the quiet space to pour our words onto paper.

Why Lamu? 

Since the 1960’s, Lamu has attracted artists and nomads, writers and seekers. They have been enchanted by those white sails against that blue sea, and by Lamu’s hundreds of years of invaders and influence: Chinese, Omani Arab, Portuguese, British, Indian, Persian and African, dating back as early as the fourteenth century.

Stand on their shoulders, as you embark on your own creative journey, led by international writing coach, author and mentor Sarah Bullen.

For time slows right down when you’re sailing by wooden dhow, or exploring a medieval port town with no cars. ‘Pole-pole’ is the island’s mantra - Swahili for “take it slowly”. And, lulled by the laid-back pace, and the legendary comfort and service given by the Swahili islanders, you will do just that. 

​HOW WILL THE TIMING WORK?

You will arrive on the island in time to check into your accommodation on the Saturday 23 September from 2pm and in time for a welcome Swahili dinner. We will have full writing days on Sunday 24th, Monday and Tuesday. We check out on the morning of the Wednesday 27th when the writing retreat officially ends. Most flights off the island leave early, but you are also welcome to extend your stay for a day (or a week) and immerse in this magical place.

Travelling to a remote island is no walk in the park - so we want you to look carefully at flights and dates first. This is a long trip and the retreat is 4 nights in 2023. It will extend to 7 nights in 2025 for our next visit. I do suggest you add a few days afterwards to make this an unforgettable trip with around 7 days on the island. 

CONSIDER 
Staying on at Banana House or any of our recommended accommodation options 


Do yoga
Visit Lamu Old Town,
Swim in the mangrove swamps,
Take long walks on the beach,
Rent a dhow (sail boat) and take a day-trip up the coast
Shop in the gorgeous boutiques or markets

BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE

 

HOW IT WILL RUN IN 2025 

THE WRITING SESSIONS TAKE PLACE AT BANANA HOUSE
Owned by Monika Fauth (Dutch) and her husband Banana (who is from one of Lamu’s original five families), this has the charm of a boutique hotel that feels like an elegant private home, with rooms spread over three houses in a lush tropical garden with a swimming pool. Banana House is also renowned for its airy yoga studio and morning classes by brilliant instructors, and its organic food prepared by the resident chef.  All writers are encouraged to stay at BANANA HOUSE, with 10 rooms reserved for the retreat. 

WHO SHOULD JOIN 
You, if you need an adventure, plus the gift of time and space in an extraordinary island setting. You don’t need to be a writer or to have a grand project in progress. You may be halfway through a novel, you may just want to write a special letter, create a video on your trip, or you may choose to absorb the other-worldliness of Lamu while your story brews. All seekers are welcome! You do have a story in you.
You can be working on a novel, memoir, poetry, workbook, online course, photography-based book, life story or just a creative writing project.
This is for writers who just need dedicated time away from your ordinary life to totally immerse in a creative environment to write, write and write. The time is both a deep-dive into your own book, and a task-based programme to get your word count up, or finish your book ready for submission. Both advanced and novice writers are welcome.

 

RETREAT TICKET 2025 TBC

This year we are not including accommodation and you can book your own. Many writers will be staying on from the LittleGig Festival and may have a villa. The sessions will be happening at Banana House and those rooms are reserved for writers, so I like to encourage you to stay there for focus. 

RETREAT TICKET INCLUDES 

  • A structured writing journey for your full retreat, including:

  • One daily group session on a different aspect of writing and/or storytelling, led by international writing coach, author and mentor Sarah Bullen.

  • One individual session with Sarah, to assist with any aspect of writing your story, from structure, to tools, to inspiration, or publishing advice. 

  • Daily Breakfast. Please note this only applies if you are staying at Banana House with us. There we get home-made bread, jam, yoghurt, fruits, juices, pancakes or Swahili breakfast to start the day well.


RETREAT TICKET EXCLUDES 

  • Your accommodation at Banana House. Accommodation ranges from approximately 75 USD (1 person in a simple room) to 340USD (2 people sharing a ‘top’ room) per night.

  • Flights to and from the island. Beware, travelling to an island is no easy task. Be sure you know how to get there and your timing. 

  • Lunches and dinners

  • Yoga classes 

  • Massages, day trips, dhow trips or any extras you want to to your stay. 


HOW THE DAYS UNFOLD

  • An early morning (depending on the tides) sea swim in the Indian Ocean mangrove channels with a small dhow trailing you.

  • Late coffee (or a fresh coconut) at the Swahili market, watching the fishing boats as they leave.

  • Yoga at Banana House with Kenyan instructors renowned for their island-style practice.

  • Waking with the call to prayer that rings from the Shela mosques in the distance. 

  • A mid-morning writing session on craft and structure.

  • Anchored writing time at Banana House where you are encouraged to sit, get quiet and finally write. 

  • Time and space to work on your own creative pursuit.

  • One individual session with Sarah during your stay, which will focus on planning, writing feedback, or telling your story.

  • Lunch on the famous Peponi pool deck overlooking the moving tides, or at the local Swahili Cafe on the Maasai market square.

  • Afternoons exploring (or writing) old hidden passageways and shaded villas

  • We gather again in the afternoon for a writing session, with feedback on your pieces or a deeper writing exercise to take to bed. 

Little Lamu Second Edition

The second edition of Littlegig Lamu Retreat will take place on the tiny, secret archipelago off Kenya’s East African coast from 21-28 September 2025. Once again, the retreat will have writing as its creative pursuit – although you don’t need to be ‘a writer’.Since the 1960’s, Lamu has attracted artists and nomads, writers and seekers. They have been enchanted by those white sails against that blue sea, and by Lamu’s hundreds of years of invaders and influence: Chinese, Omani Arab, Portuguese, British, Indian, Persian and African, dating back as early as the fourteenth century. Stand on their shoulders, as you embark on your own creative journey, led by international writing coach and facilitator Sarah Bullen, and produced by Littlegig founder Georgia Black.

Come and join a group of writers, creatives and yogis in magical Lamu, a tiny, secret archipelago off the East African coast of Kenya. This is the place to discover your story, to connect, to rest and dream.

For time slows right down when you’re sailing by wooden dhow, or exploring a medieval port town with no cars. ‘Pole-pole’ is the island’s mantra - Swahili for “take it slowly”. And, lulled by the laid-back pace, and the legendary comfort and service given by the Swahili islanders, you will do just that. 

Since the 1960’s, Lamu has attracted artists and nomads, writers and seekers. They have been enchanted by its hundreds of years of invaders and influences, its vast empty beaches, those white sails against that blue sea.

Stand on their shoulders, as you embark on your own creative journey with writing coach and literary agent Sarah Bullen, and festival owner Georgia Black. While Sarah will make sure that you take your writing to the next level, Georgia has developed a programme of extraordinary events so that you experience the full magic of Lamu, from world-class yoga to moonlight dhow trips.

This ancient land with its characteristic landscapes and incredible light will envelope you, as it has countless creatives before you. In fact, the energy – and spectacular land – of these master writers continues to inspire countless authors today. So take a deep breath and soak up your stunning surroundings: the rolling hills of Tuscany.

Sarah Bullen

WHAT OUR WRITERS SAY

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Stanley Gabriel, insurance CEO, Johannesburg

The Lamu Writing Retreat gave me the bravery to explore my purpose: I am destined for greatness and my voice can inspire a new generation of leadership.

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Trevyn McGowan, gallery owner, Cape Town

A very rare, very special, very cool retreat, whether you have written before or not.

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