Loading Events

Upcoming Events

Find Events
  • This event has passed.
April 5 - April 7
  • For writers
  • Workshop

Essex Radical Writing Retreat (SOLD OUT)

Various participating authors


Othona Community
East Hall Farm, East End Road
Bradwell-on-Sea, CM0 7PN
Booking details to be confirmed

Box Office:

Mercury Theatre
01206 573948

Essex Book Festival is delighted to be hosting a Radical Writing Retreat in partnership with University of Essex and Radical Essex.

Based at the Othona Community in Bradwell-on-Sea – one of the most remote and beautiful parts of Essex – the Essex Radical Writing Retreat will be a mix of inspirational and experimental workshops, readings, performances, walks and critiques, all designed to help push the boundaries of your writing.

The Retreat, led by Dr James Canton who has written widely in creative non-fiction forms (Out of Essex; Ancient Wonderings: Journeys into Prehistoric Britain) and taught on the MA in Wild Writing at the University of Essex since its inception in 2009, and Ros Green, Director of Essex Book Festival, will involve a wide range of participating writers.

These will include landscape writer and social historian Ken Worpole (350 Miles: An Essex Journey; The New English Landscape), Essex-based novelist Kate Worsley (She Rises), Award-winning poet and novelist Philip Terry (Tapestry; Dante’s Inferno; Quennets), poet and folksinger Dr Adrian May (Ballads of Bohemian Essex; Discovering England), and Glenys Newton, winner of The Guardian’s Moth Award for Live Storytelling in 2015.

On booking, participants will be asked for their email address, access needs, dietary requirements, and that they have read and are happy with the ‘Ts and Cs’ listed below.



When to arrive

Participants will be asked to arrive between 5.00-6.00pm on Wednesday 5 April for check-in (the evening meal will starts at 7pm) and leave by 5.00pm on Friday 7 April

Why we chose Othona: a strong sense of community

The Radical Writing Retreat very much aims to encompass a strong spirit of community, encouraging companionship and support among writers and participants.

Othona prides itself as a place of welcome and acceptance. It is an open and inclusive community rooted in the spiritual tradition and drawing on a wealth of other inspirations. From its beginning in 1946 as a summer camp in tents on the Essex marshes, Othona has been a meeting place for people of all ages, abilities, backgrounds and beliefs, who are wanting to retreat and share their time with like-minded others on the quiet coast of Essex, overlooking the ancient St Peter’s chapel on the Blackwater estuary.

The Essex Radical Writing Retreat has been organised by Essex Book Festival and Radical Essex. Although non-religious in its core aims and content, we were drawn to the community spirit and shared living spaces of the Othona Community, the inspirational remote setting, and its strong radical roots.

Cooking and eating: a shared experience

Food will be provided during your two-day retreat, with vegetarian options offered, with shared dining for breakfast, lunch and an evening meal. Feel free to bring your own snacks and drinks for between mealtimes, as these may not be provided and there are no nearby shops. As we want to encourage a community feel to the retreat, participants are more than welcome to help with the food preparation, cooking and cleaning at mealtimes, and you will be invited to help us in the large shared kitchen and in the open plan dining room.

Sleeping arrangements

Othona offers a mix of rooms with single, twin and bunk beds, so it is likely that you will be sharing a room with one or more people. However, we may be able to offer individuals their own rooms, if requested in advance, and if there is room available, so please let us know if you’d like your own room when booking your place. The facilities at Othona are basic and simple, with shared bathrooms and hostel-like accommodation – participants are encouraged to bring their own luxuries such as hairdryers. Bedding and towels will be provided, but please feel free to bring your own if you would prefer.


There are only 30 places on the Essex Radical Writing Retreat, so places will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Booking is through the Mercury Theatre Box Office and payment will be taken on booking. Please note that participants must be aged 18 or over


Because of the small size of the group and limited spaces available, cancellations will only be accepted up to seven days before the retreat takes place, to allow time for your space to be offered to someone on the waiting list. If you cancel after this time, we will do our best to find someone else to take your place and if we succeed, your fee will be returned to you. If we cannot refill your place, we will retain any payments you have made.



Essex_uni_logos copy

Location of Event: