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Master Workshop Retreat at Ragdale: EN SUITE (Feb. 2023)

$1,500.00 · February 20

Ragdale House EN SUITE for Master Workshop weeklong retreat with Vu Tran. 

Start Date

February 20






Out of stock



Purchasing this room will put you in the Ragdale main house. You will be in one of these rooms: Top of the Stairs, Sarah’s Room, Blue Room, or Albert’s Room. This is an overnight purchase, with a private bathroom. Rooms are on the second story, accessible by stairs.

This is for the February 20-25 week-long retreat with Vu Tran.

*Note: Vaccination proof is required for participation.

As part of Ragdale’s new series of Master Workshops, StoryStudio is proud to offer this week-long experience, led by Vu Tran. 

Part retreat, part mini-residency, this Master Workshop for writers will focus on providing space and community for your work-in-progress. Outside of structured writing time and mini-lessons, the week has been crafted to provide ample writing time to yourself. Vu Tran’s theme for this week will be on character:

Seeing Character: On the Page, in the World, and in the Mirror 

Character is many things to a writer: the people in our stories, a vehicle for the ideas and emotions we want to express, the very embodiment of our interests as an artist and person in the world. Beyond the page, it’s also a cultural concept, a lens for us to see the world, to see others, and most importantly to see ourselves.

During our week together, we’ll discuss what “character” means to each of us and explore how creating convincing and compelling characters—whether in our fiction or our nonfiction—requires that we “see” them from as many angles as possible beyond and on the page. So: What exactly does it mean to bring a character “to life”—to make them human or unique or memorable? How does this interact with plot and thematic development? How does it overlap with the real-life process of empathy and its pitfalls, especially when it comes to people who might not deserve our empathy, who would themselves never empathize with us? How might understanding our own personal character help us write not only about ourselves and people like us, but also about people who are nothing like us?

Along with readings and craft talks that will tackle such questions, we’ll do guided writing prompts as a way of generating new work and/or developing work in progress. Our one-on-one consultations can also touch on characterization in addition to each writer’s individual concerns. No matter where we are in our work or our writing experience, we can consider this week an opportunity to understand ourselves better on the way to understanding who and what we’re writing about.

Unlike traditional workshops, this week-long retreat will be more consultation, generative, and discussion based. Participants will be led throughout the week with guided prompts and exercises, followed by afternoon lessons. This lesson slot will comprise of craft talks, close-reading of a story or scene, some student readings and brief on-the-spot workshop.

There would also be slots during which participants will meet one-on-one with Vu to discuss an element of their writing that they want. There isn’t meant to be pre-reading of work, so this will not be workshop-based, but rather a conversation of your ideas, where you’re at in the process, discussing the publishing industry, etc.

During the course of the week, two of the evenings will host a different visiting writer for a singular evening. The visiting author will deliver an in-depth craft talk after dinner, followed by a fire-side chat/discussion with the whole group.

To register for an overnight, regular room in the Barnhouse, please click here. (What’s different? It’s overnight, but you share a bathroom.)

To register for an overnight, regular room in the Shearer Studio, please click here. (What’s different? It’s overnight, you have your own bathroom, and it’s in a newly renovated, top-of-the-line studio.)

*Please note: rooms are limited, and we cannot guarantee you a spot at any of our retreat spots. 

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About Vu Tran

Vu Tran's first novel, Dragonfish, was a NY Times Notable Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of the Year. His short fiction has appeared in the O. Henry Prize Stories, the Best American Mystery Stories, Best of Fence, and other publications. He is the winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship, and has also been a fellow at Bread Loaf, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the MacDowell Colony. Born in Vietnam and raised in Oklahoma, Vu received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and his PhD from the Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is a criticism columnist for the Virginia Quarterly Review and is also an assistant professor of Practice in English & Creative Writing at the University of Chicago, where he directs the fiction program.