Creative Writing Retreats in the Unique and Unparalleled Beauty of the Basque Pyrenees

Spectacular views, country walks, Basque food & wine and professional writing instruction
Dates: 16th - 23rd May & 22nd - 29th August 2022

Creative Writing Retreats

Professionally facilitated writing retreats in a friendly atmosphere, run by an award-winning author, teacher and editor

Great Basque Food & Wine

Relaxed communal dinners around the farmhouse table with local produce and wines

Pyrenean Experience house icon

Farmhouse

Inspiring mountain views from every window, cosy writing nooks, comfy sofas, landscaped gardens and south-facing terraces.

Bucolic Country Walks

Mountain and forest walks along traditional Basque shepherding paths right from the farmhouse door

Warm & Friendly Atmosphere

Small, relaxed and supportive atmosphere with opportunities to exchange ideas with like-minded writers

An inspiring home from home - with a human touch!

  • Are you in search of an inspirational setting? Of a place where you can shut out the hullabaloo of daily life and focus uniquely on your own creative writing and thinking?

  • Do you crave a place of peace and solitude, while also seeking warm-hearted exchanges with fellow travellers and like-minded writers?

  • Do you need professional guidance on how to harness the creativity within you and channel it into your writing?

  • Are you looking to grow your writing skills, focus on finding your voice, shape your writing, sculpt your story arcs and give depth and gravitas to your characters and themes?
  • Are you finishing a novel, or perhaps pondering its inception, and searching for a place to curl up with your thoughts in a private space with a cup of tea - or a glass of wine?

Views from our farmhouse on our creative retreat in the Pyrenees

Join us at Pyrenean Experience for a creative writing retreat where you can hunker down and shake away the cobwebs, relax to the sound of the sheep bells across the valley or simply soak up the sublime views that greet you from every window in the house.

Breakfast in the Baztan Valley

All Writers Welcome at our Creative Writing Retreat in the Pyrenees

We offer a warm welcome to all writers looking for a little headroom at our beautiful farmhouse retreats in the Pyrenees. Whether you are new to writing or an established author we are here to support you. We gather each morning around the kitchen table to explore various pillars of creative writing such as voice, structure and dialogue. Guests are given the option of participating in exercises designed to unleash their creativity. For the rest of the day guests can enjoy the private spaces offered by our beautiful home and take advantage of the charming walks that step out from the door.

At seven each evening we come together for an informal dinner and to share the  creative processes we have explored during the day. We also share our daily writing experiences, which may include anything from roadblocks and doubts to triumphs and breakthroughs.

My passion is to unite people from all walks of life and create a truly international meeting of minds, and over the past twenty years my Basque mountain eyrie in the Pyrenees has welcomed some two thousand travellers the world over. Whether my guests join me to walk the mountains, to learn languages, to write their memoirs or simply to enjoy our community spirit and great Basque food, the sublime beauty of the views from my terrace does not fail to humble and inspire us all.

In 2021 The Times voted our language holidays as among ‘the top ten learning holidays worldwide’ and our creative writing retreats are facilitated with the same techniques that earned us this accolade. I have published two books 'Freedom to Choose' and 'Breaking the Language Barrier', and my writing has also been featured in The Sunday Times. I now feel privileged to work with editor and author Diana Friedman who facilitates our writing workshops and whose steady hand helped take my memoir, 'Life on a Basque Mountain' over the finishing line.

Georgina Howard founder of Pyrenean Experience

“Diana is the consummate writing instructor who checks all the boxes of a great collaborator. She lands squarely among those precious beings who can get out of your way and spark your craft, unearthing a talent you may not have known you possessed. Her endless generosity enhances her easy charm. If you study with her, consider yourself lucky.”
Thomas Rini, MA LMHC

Diana Friedman Writing Instructor

Diana Friedman has taught creative writing for over a decade and loves working with writers of all levels. As a 'midwife' for emerging artists, she especially enjoys helping those new to the artistic process find their voice. Over the years, she has taught professional writing at the University of Maryland and facilitated numerous workshops for writers at all levels. She is delighted to join forces with the dynamic Georgina Howard to bring a new crop of writers and writing workshops to the inspirational setting of Iaulin Borda.

Diana’s fiction, articles and essays have appeared in numerous publications including New Letters, Huffington Post, Newsweek and the Baltimore Sun. She is the recipient of the Alexander Patterson Cappon Fiction Prize and a Pushcart Prize nomination. Her work has been selected as a finalist and short-listed at multiple presses.

"Diana has taught me to trust my voice. She possesses a terrific mix of sensitivity and challenge and helps you to develop those areas - be it dialogue, character, plot – in a clear, smart and inspired way. Diana is dedicated to each student’s process and the seriousness with which she engages in her teaching fosters trust right from the start. My work with her is life-giving and priceless."
Anne E. Wild-Rocheleau, PhD

pyrenean experience welcome tapas on the terrace at our farmhouse walking centre in the Pyrenees

Creative Writing Retreats of Unique and Unparalleled Beauty in the Basque Pyrenees

Dates: 16th - 23rd May & 22nd - 29th August 2022

Farmhouse Accommodation

En-suite rooms with inspiring mountain views from every window. An open house and full use of living rooms, dining rooms, kitchen, log fires and flowery terraces with all sorts of creative nooks and crannies.

Food & Wine

The kitchen is stocked with all sorts of food, coffee, teas, wine etc. for help-yourself breakfasts and light lunches. In the evening we enjoy a delicious, communal 3-course evening meal together around the kitchen table.

Walks

There are over 10 amazing circular walks from the farmhouse door many leading to small Basque villages. Detailed maps and notes are available and we are happy to show our guests some of the paths personally and tell them the stories of the area.

Daily Programme

Each day we offer our guests the option of gathering after breakfast to discuss various aspects of creative writing. We also invite guests to participate in writing exercises designed to stimulate our imagination. But all these exercises are optional. The rest of the day is free for guests to work on their writing before we come together again at dinner time to discuss our day´s work and writing experiences. Evenings are then enjoyed listening to readings (for those who wish to share their work) and exchanging ideas and individual perspectives.

Transport

There are easy connections to the house from Bilbao airport and San Sebastian. We operate a pick up from the San Sebastian bus to our local village (Santesteban/Doneztebe) on the first and final day of our retreat. (Please consult us about times).

Prices

1250 Euros includes en-suite room, daily morning workshops, all food and wine, full use of the house & bus pick-up. This week there are NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS.

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