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Weekend Ragdale Retreat (April): DAYTIME COMMUTER

$550.00 · April 21

Daytime Commuter Spot for April 21-23, 2023 with Gayle Brandeis.

Start Date

April 21






In stock


Purchasing this option does not give you overnight access. You have access to everything except a place to sleep – you must commute in each morning.

This is for the April 21-23 weekend retreat with Gayle Brandeis.

*Note: Vaccination proof is required for participation.

Ragdale and StoryStudio Chicago are pleased to announce an exceptional writing retreat this summer with author and Core Faculty member Abby Geni at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois, a spectacular setting that offers the best of nature and architecture.

For over 100 years, Ragdale has provided the time and space for artists and writers to delve deeply into creative endeavors, and today it has a tangible energy that feeds your work from the moment you arrive.

“One of the unique features of Ragdale is its unbroken continuity as a center for art and creativity. It has been, without interruption, the home of artists.” – Arthur Miller, in the Introduction to Ragdale: A History and Guide by Alice Hayes and Susan Moon.

For April 2023’s retreat, you will focus on strategies to get you into the work, and inspiration to dig more deeply once you’re there. Guided writing activities, including prompts on place, memory, and the senses, will encourage writers to unearth new material and find fresh ways to approach their work.

The retreat led by Gayle Brandeis will help attendees tap into their most sustainable sources of creativity and momentum, and fortify writers of all genres to move forward with reinvigorated commitment. We will celebrate our writing with participant readings and share lively conversation over Chef Linda’s lovingly prepared meals.

In addition to scheduled programming, we’ll take advantage of the winding paths, secluded benches, and fifty acres of pristine prairie. The history of Ragdale, the unique setting, and the spirit of so many writers who have written in these spaces before are sure to inspire us all. This retreat will offer everyone the opportunity to stop and look and wonder, and sometimes learn.

What’s Included?
The purpose of this weekend is to leave the world behind so you can focus your attention and energy on your stories.

The retreat includes all programs, workshops, and use of the Ragdale grounds. Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and Sunday breakfast and lunch are all included. 

Retreat Schedule
The weekend’s schedule is never set in stone because we never know how the spirit of Ragdale will inspire us. Here is a general sense of writing time, workshops, meals, and unscheduled moments.

Friday, April 21
3pm-5:30pm: Arrival, check in, open writing
5:30pm: Welcome, wine 
6:00-7:30pm: Dinner 
7:45-9:30pm: Workshop session

Saturday, April 22
8:00-9:00am: Continental Breakfast
9:30-11:30am: Morning session
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch
2:00-4:00pm: Afternoon session
4:00-6:00pm: Individual writing time (read, chat, nap, or simply relax with a walk through the prairie)
6:00pm: Dinner
7:30-8:30pm: Student readings 

Sunday, April 23
8:00-9:00am: Continental Breakfast
9:30-11:30am: Morning session
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch and final wrap-up
1:30-3pm: Writing, reading, strolling in the prairie
3:00pm: Departure

*(schedule subject to change)

To register for an overnight, en suite room in the Ragdale house, please click here. (What’s different? It’s overnight, with a private bathroom.)

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 Gayle Brandeis

Gayle Brandeis is the author, most recently, of the memoir The Art of Misdiagnosis (Beacon Press), and the novel in poems, Many Restless Concerns (Black Lawrence Press), shortlisted for the Shirley Jackson Award. Earlier books include the poetry collection The Selfless Bliss of the Body (Finishing Line Press), the craft book Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write (HarperOne) and the novels The Book of Dead Birds (HarperCollins), winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize judged by Barbara Kingsolver, Toni Morrison, and Maxine Hong Kingston, Self Storage (Ballantine), Delta Girls (Ballantine), and My Life with the Lincolns (Henry Holt BYR), chosen as a state-wide read in Wisconsin. Her essay collection Drawing Breath: Essays on Writing, the Body, and Grief will be released by Overcup Press in 2023. Gayle's essays, poetry, and short fiction have been widely published in places such as The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, O (The Oprah Magazine), The Rumpus, Salon, and more, and have received numerous honors, including the Columbia Journal Nonfiction Award, a Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Award, Notable Essays in Best American Essays 2016, 2019, and 2020, the QPB/Story Magazine Short Story Award and the 2018 Multi Genre Maverick Writer Award. She was named A Writer Who Makes a Difference by The Writer Magazine, and served as Inlandia Literary Laureate from 2012-2014, focusing on bringing writing workshops to underserved communities. She teaches in the low residency MFA programs at Antioch University and Sierra Nevada University.