Thursday, January 7, 2010

Write Your Memoir in the Sun -- Writers' Retreat in Santiago, Chile - Feb 2010

Gazing out your window and dreaming of an escape from the winter chill ...? There's still time!

At LOS PARRONALES WRITERS' RETREAT in Santiago, Chile, you’ll be treated to sunshine, South American hospitality and culture, and, each morning, one of a series of entertaining and stimulating memoir-writing workshops. Journeys and Discoveries: Writing from Your Life, a two-week getaway open to writers of all ages, runs from February 7 to 21, 2010.

Los Parronales -- the name means "vineyards" -- is situated on a 60-hectare property with a spectacular view of vineyards and the Andean foothills. Fee includes 10 workshops, some one-on-one consultations with me, accommodation, meals and (Chilean, of course!) wine, transportation to and from airport, and accompanied excursions, such as one to the homes of Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda. (Airfare to and from Santiago is not included.)

Afternoons and evenings afford plenty of time for you to focus on your own writing; enjoy the facilities, which include a swimming pool and hiking trails (bring your camera); commune with others in your small group; or simply relax and soak in the bucolic surroundings. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet local writers with similar passions.

Canadians Gordon and Susan Siddeley are engaging hosts who have welcomed many returning writers to their Chilean residence. Journeys and Discoveries is their tenth retreat. Space is limited but there are still rooms available. Contact Susan at for details -- and to reserve your escape.

To view a flyer and more photos, click the link on the main page of this blog.

I look forward to seeing you there!


ALLYSON LATTA is an independent editor of award-winning literary fiction and non-fiction, and a writing instructor specializing in memoir. As a freelance editor she worked on The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon, which recently won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award. Several books she edited were selected for the 2009 “Globe Books 100.” She teaches life writing for the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, and for the past several years has offered a popular biannual workshop series through North York Central Library, as well as speaking to literary festivals and writers’ groups. Allyson was a judge for U of T Magazine’s 2009 short fiction contest (see Winter 2010 issue). She is also a lineup consultant for radio-host Stephanie Dickison’s “Portraits on Paper” memoir/biography segments on CKLN-FM’s In Other Words.

Portraits on Paper -- Memoirs on the Radio

Guest Blog by Stephanie Dickison

Getting to write for a living is just about the best thing in the world.

And it just got better, as I have been named a host on CKLN 88.1 FM’s In Other Words, a show about the written and spoken word!

The show airs every Tuesday at 2 pm and has a rotation of five hosts:

Week 1 - Charlie Huisken
Week 2 - Myna Wallin
Week 3 - Stephanie Dickison
Week 4 - Jennifer LoveGrove
Week 5 - Diana Kiesners

My audition for the show was a live broadcast that aired on November 17, 2009. I found out only days before so I had little time to prepare. I chose the focus of my show to be memoirs, biography and real-life stories -- Portraits on Paper.

I thought Allyson Latta would be the perfect guest, what with her memoir experience, as both an editor and a writing teacher. [Click the link on this blog to hear my interview with her.] And though I love speaking with authors, my goal with the show is to showcase everyone in the industry – booksellers, teachers, publishers and simply people who have a story to tell.

Allyson was so amenable and affable, both on and off the air, that she made my first show incredibly easy. You know, as easy as your first live on-air show can be!

As a result of that broadcast I was chosen to be a continuing part of In Other Words, and my next show was, again, just days later. On December 15, 2009, I interviewed co-manager of Nicholas Hoare Books in Toronto, Maxeen Paabo, about books and book clubs. It was fabulous. And I am pleased to say that I have had more time to prepare my next show on January 19 – what a feeling!

My upcoming guests will include Catherine Gildiner, Ian Brown, Wayson Choy, and Charles Foran to speak about their latest books, as well as many others. Throughout the show I also play music and spoken word CDs.

Allyson has been a freelance editor on numerous acclaimed memoirs and biographies, and some of my future guests, including Gildiner, Brown and Foran, are authors she's worked with. Catherine Gildiner will join me on-air in March. Her second memoir, After the Falls, has received enthusiastic reviews and earned a place on The Globe and Mail's 2009 "The Globe 100." Her first memoir was the bestselling Too Close to the Falls.

In Other Words airs weekly. You can listen over the Internet by clicking


or pasting this URL into your browser:

and then clicking the "Listen Live" icon.

I am grateful for this opportunity to speak about memoirs. It is nice to give a radio voice to what I believe is important literature. It’s also a helluva lot of fun!

I hope you will listen in.


Stephanie Dickison, author of The 30-Second Commute: A Non-Fiction Comedy About Writing & Working from Home, is a freelance lifestyle writer. See more at