Kalymnos Writers' Festival

September 8 - 14 2024 Kalymnos Writers' Festival

Niall Williams’ Fiction-Writing Workshop

A three-day classical approach to the fundamentals of fiction. Each day’s session is divided into three parts and devoted to a different aspect of the craft of fiction, covering Character, Setting, Plot, Dialogue, Language and Voice. In the first part, Niall gives a directed talk on the chosen topic, using examples from classic literature, and outlining his understanding of how this aspect of fiction works, and why. In the second part, he assigns a writing exercise, tightly focused on the topic. All participants are given 40 mins to complete the exercise. In the third part, each participant is asked to read their exercise assignment, and Niall gives directed feedback, with the aim of highlighting that day’s aspect, and securing the points made. On the final day, Language and Voice, Niall is joined by Christine, his longtime first editor, using contemporary examples to identify the individual strengths of narrative voices and the central importance of language.

Find Your Voice, Tell Your Story

A one-day workshop lead by Moth storyteller Terence Mickey and The Bear’s Ben McGuire in which you will be guided towards finding your voice and preparing and sharing a story live around the evening’s fire. The workshop will cover the principles of story structure, how to mine your personal life for stories, pacing, performance techniques and stage presence.

The Master Class

On the final day of the festival, the team - Ben, Terence, Niall and Christine - will run a joint masterclass on individual work (limited to 3,000 words), previously submitted by participants. Everyone will be encouraged to read the submissions, which will be shared a month beforehand, and invited to give feedback. But the main focus will be from the team, with the aim of identifying the strengths of each writer’s voice.

Writing From Life

Christine Breen has 30 years of experience writing from life, including a travel memoir, and as the co-author of five books about life in the west of Ireland. She is currently working on her second memoir. She will meet with interested writers and share examples, tips and advice on writing narrative non-fiction, autofiction or memoir and those interested can receive her feedback on a submitted piece.



“An unforgettable week. You were wonderful teachers and guides and the range of your skills and experiences made it a very rich experience. Excellent idea to have the storytelling on the first day. The pace of the day was just right. Challenging, but not overwhelming. Niall’s sessions were all terrific. Enlightening, stimulating, inspired – delivered with a passion for literature that was infectious. Well done to all of you for pulling it off in such style.”

Jonathan Carr — Author of Make Me a City

“Kalymnos Writers` Festival was, ironically, almost impossible to capture in words. In the magical village of Emborios, an active character in our fictive dream, the festival opened doors to imagination, craft, and friendships. Niall, Christine, Ben and Terence piloted our week with perfect love, wisdom, and generosity. I learned a lot about my writing, a lot about myself, and probably most importantly, about the art of other people.”

Natalie Robinson — 2023 Festival Participant

What an incredible week! This retreat is more than just a literary escapade; it is a pilgrimage for the creative soul. It has left an indelible mark on my spirit, a reminder of the limitless possibilities that lie within the realm of imagination. To everyone who orchestrated this extraordinary experience, thank you. Your collective efforts have crafted a literary sojourn that will resonate within me for a lifetime. The heart of this retreat lies in its meticulous attention to detail – from the communal breakfasts that kick-started each day to the convenient proximity to the beach for a revitalising lunchtime swim. The storytelling masterclass led by Ben and Terence, Niall's three-day workshop, and Christine's masterclass on editing surpassed all expectations. But it was the choice of this enchanting location that truly elevated the experience to spellbinding heights, making it the perfect haven for inspiration and creative rejuvenation. This retreat is an undiscovered treasure, nestled on an island where the muses themselves seem to dance as shadows along the ancient cliffs. Here, we were not just attendees; we were granted a sanctuary, a sacred space to unlock the gates of our imaginations and let our creativity flow uninhibited. Evenings unfolded beneath a star-studded sky, where animated conversations and soul-stirring music wove a tapestry of connection, sparking fresh perspectives. Beyond what was imparted in the classes, this experience goes beyond the craft of writing; it's about unearthing the dormant magic residing within each of us. The classes served as a catalyst for unleashing untapped potential and realising the transformative power of our own narratives.

Catherine O’Brien — 2023 Festival Participant

Retreat Information

Retreat Date 09-08-2024
Retreat End Date 09-14-2024
Retreat Fee 1,950 Euros
Created By Kalymnos Writers' Festival
Retreat Contact Person Ben McGuire
Retreat Contact Information info@kalymnoswritersfestival.com
Genres and Categories Workshops, Creative Writing