Download the 2019 Loutro brochure IN YOUR WORDS
' There really isn't a way to thank you enough for the creativity you helped release in me '
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The orientation dinners are on Sunday evenings at 20.00.

The Courses & Retreats run from Monday mornings to Friday lunchtimes

Early Booking Discount - end of February
There is a £25 discount for Course reservations received by the end of February.
Should a course become fully subscribed, confirmed flight bookings may be necessary.

Loutro 2019
June 08/09 - June 15/16
June 14/16 - June 22/23
June 22/23 - June 29/30

Writers have always come to Loutro so for a few weeks each year, not for profit travel outfit Espirita offers a dedicated Poetry and Writing programme within the inspiring natural resource of South West Crete - one of the most beautiful parts of Europe. The village of Loutro is intimate, ancient, friendly, and tranquil - equally good whether alone or in company. Loutro and its surrounding environment, serves as our centre. Bounded by this positive, liberating energy, our writing courses bring together people, experts, ideas and artistic creativity. Respect for individual space is central to the Loutro writing proposition and all writers are accommodated in their own en suite sea view rooms, situated variously around the small village.

'I can't write anywhere in the world like I write here' (poet - 2018)


'Follow the Creative - Return to the Creative'


June 08/09 - June 15/16, 2019
Meet for Dinner - Sun June 09 - 8pm

Private Poetry Retreat ( by invitation )   with Mimi Khlavati

Mimi Khalvati
one of the most inspirational and revered Tutors of the Poetry world, has published eight collections with Carcanet Press, including ‘Child: New & Selected Poems’, a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation, and ‘The Meanest Flower’, shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. Mimi is the founder of The Poetry School where she teaches. She received a Cholmondeley Award in 2006 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. A new collection of sonnets is forthcoming in 2019.

Bringing To Life with Lizzie Enfield Course Fee - £325

How to breath life into your writing and make it vivid and memorable? For shy beginners or more confident writers, this course is about making your work shine. We will look at the elements that help bring words alive on the page: character, voice, dialogue, setting and structure. Whether you are writing flash fiction, short stories or Tolstoy length novels, honing these elements will help a story take shape and form, to become more than just the words on the page. With its magnificent mountain and sea setting, Loutro never fails to inspire. It is the perfect locale to reawaken creativity and get your creative juices flowing.

Lizzie Enfield
is a journalist and regular contributor to national newspapers, magazines and radio, has written four novels and had short stories broadcast on Radio Four and published in various magazines. She also teaches at various universities and on the Creative Writing Programme in Brighton. Her latest novel Ivy and Abe published by Michael Joseph is written under the name Elizabeth Enfield.

June 15/16 - June 22/23, 2019
Meet for Dinner - Sun June 16 - 8pm

Myth, Magic, The Everyday  with Fiona Benson Course Fee - £325

Myth, Magic & Superstition Versus the Everyday Quotidian! - In the mythically-charged location of Crete, this short taught course will play with different ways of using myth in our own writing. As counterpoint, we will explore the place of the quotidian in our poetry, and explore and write poems that address our home ‘truths’. Delving into historical and contemporary published poems, our focus in morning sessions will be on creating a new portfolio of drafts, with the chance to move the drafts forward during the week and experiment with deliveries that may be both matter-of-fact and deadpan, or wildly exuberant. Expect some sea-inspired myth-making, a celebration of our everyday, and, of course, a starry night walk!

Fiona Benson’s work includes Faber New Poets 1, Bright Travellers (winner of the Seamus Heaney Prize for First Collection, and the
Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award) and a new collection 'Vertigo & Ghost', due out in January 2019 ( Cape ). She lives in Devon.

Writing Retreat with Lesley Glaister Course Fee - £365

Lesley Glaister is the author of fourteen novels, most recently Little Egypt and The Squeeze. Her first young adult novel, Aphra’s Child was published in 2018. She’s also writes short stories, poetry and drama for stage and radio. Lesley currently teaches Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews

Tutored Retreats


June 22/23 - June 29/30, 2019
Meet for Dinner - Sun June 23 - 8pm

Poetry Intensive with Kathryn Maris & Maurice Riordan
Course & Review
Course Fee - £550

There are two components in this week's poetry schedule - regular 3 hour morning course sessions with Kathryn Maris ( Poetic Use of The Fragment), and pm appointments with Maurice Riordan for the high level professional reviewing of ten of your poems. It's intense and costs more - but it's worth it. And there will still be plenty of time to relax and enjoy.

Poetic Use of the Fragment - from Sappho to Social Media
We will look at poems and other kinds of writing that use methods of fragmentation and minimalism to create their imaginative force. The course will show the value of omission, redaction, aphorism and concision, and illustrate their use by current poets. Through discussion and writing assignments, you will broaden your understanding of what is and isn’t a poem. Drawing on forms and techniques that are both ancient and avant-garde, you will develop skills that will give your writing a contemporary edge.

Kathryn Maris is an American poet based in London whose most recent collection of poetry is The House With Only An Attic And A Basement (Penguin 2018). Her previous books include God Loves You and The Book of Jobs. Her work has appeared in Penguin Modern Poets 5, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Best British Poetry, The Forward Book of Poetry, Granta and Poetry. She teaches at the Poetry School and is the poetry editor of Mal.

Maurice Riordan
was born in Lisgoold, Co. Cork, and lives in London. His most recent collection of poems is The Water Stealer (Faber, 2013). Among his previous collections are The Holy Land (2007), Floods (2000) and A Word from the Loki (1995). He edited The Finest Music (Faber, 2014), an anthology of early Irish poetry in translation. He is a former editor of The Poetry Review and is Emeritus Professor of Poetry at Sheffield Hallam University.

Tutored Retreats

One Short Story  with Christopher Wakling  Retreat Fee - £325

One Short Story - from first word to last - for writers on a mission, this course is aimed at those who want to create and complete a new short story of up to 5,000 words within the week. We’ll look at plenty of examples, figure out how they work, and use them as inspiration for exercises which will feed into your finished piece. Come prepared to surprise yourself with brave new words.

Christopher Wakling - a prodigious writer, whose latest novel 'Escape And Evasion' was published by Faber & Faber in May this year. Other works include : What I Did, The Devil’s Mask, Towards The Sun, The Undertow, Beneath The Diamond Sky and On Cape Three Points. When not writing, he teaches creative writing courses for Curtis Brown Creative, The Arvon Foundation, and The Faber Academy. He writes travel journalism as well.


' I now know the last 30,000 words of my novel, and I'm going home to bash them out…….
.......I'm pleased to report the Loutro effect has not worn off and I'm writing away like crazy. ' ( writer-2018 )


For Whom
- There are a variety of Courses from open creative Courses for all writers, including new writers, to advanced options for more experienced writers. Our Courses can be used as an inspiration for completely new work, or as an opportunity to apply a more critical eye to what you are currently writing. If you have never shown your work or discussed it with others, these weeks will offer a supportive environment to do so. They can also be used as an opportunity to get feed back from the group about any work in progress, or simply as a means of re-energising the writing process.

Courses - take place over five days from Monday mornings to Friday afternoons, and with a maximum of eight clients. Morning sessions (c. 3 hours) focus on content, as directed by the course leaders. Afternoons are free for immersing oneself in one’s writing or for reading, relaxing, hiking, swimming, sunbathing etc. Course based feedback / work in progress sessions ( 1-2 hrs ) take place on three early evenings, one half day is set aside for writing and there is a readings dinner on the Friday evening. Within these arrangements Espirita supports whichever way a tutor conveys their ideas, whether highly structured or deeply intuitive.

Tutored Retreats - an ideal opportunity for an individual and expert review of your work, combined
with abundant time for a sustained and undisturbed focus on your writing. After a short introductory group session, the Retreat schedule is appointment based over the five days, with timings arranged prior to your arrival in Loutro. At the initial meeting with the Tutor, two sizeable extracts from work in progress and a synopsis of previous works are presented for review, together with a general writing plan for the week which the Tutors may oversee and inspire. The review process works best with poems that are approaching their final state, whilst submissions to the Writing Retreat can vary from first sketches/drafts to near completed works and may include plays, scripts and media writing. Expert guidance on the submissions is offered in subsequent private one-to-one tutorials. Rewrites of reviewed material may be assessed by Tutors during the week. Not least, Loutro’s strong suit rests in it being a great place for clarity of thought, for unravelling awkward technical writing issues, for unlocking complex creative processes.

With the wine dark sea, the magnificent scenery and a variety of eating places within easy reach, Loutro is ideally constituted for the Retreat process. There is good company at the various dinners and meeting points during the week, the writers and tutors may meet occasionally to share ideas and practice and there is on site management to make the week run smoothly. Retreat participants are requested to attend without partners or travelling companions. Six applicants per Retreat maximum. Further details on application.

Course Technicalities - Please bring your own writing machines or materials with you, plus a European standard adapter for your laptop. Please note that there are no computers or printers on site. English will be the language of the group. 

Early booking discount - end of February - There is a £25 discount for Course reservations received by the end of February. Should a Course become fully subscribed, confirmed flight bookings may need to be submitted.

Young Writer Discounts : Under 25yrs of age : £50 / 26yrs - 29yrs : £25

A Fortnight’s Writing - The course dates and contents offer maximum flexibility for those staying for two weeks. You can choose between Poetry & Poetry, Writing & Writing, Poetry & Writing or Writing & Poetry. For those booking two consecutive courses, there is a £25 discount. With just one unscheduled day during the week, a one week Writing Course can be quite intense. But with 3-4 free days in a fortnight, attending two consecutive Courses feels more relaxed.

Partners / Companions - There is some availability each week for the partners or companions
of writers attending Courses & Workshops. By application

Writers arrive from their flights on Saturdays and Sundays and there is an orientation dinner on the Sunday evening. The writing courses run from Monday mornings to Friday afternoons, with ample free time outside the schedule. The writers eat together again during the week and then on the Friday evening - an invariably joyous occasion following a boat trip to a nearby bay for readings of course work, food, wine, moon, stars etc… The writers head for their return flights from the following Saturday morning onwards, the room changeover days being Saturdays and Sundays.

Please click through to the Travel page for detailed travel information. 

Course Reservation :
Please check availability by making contact at :
Flights should not be booked until your Course or Retreat availability has been confirmed
Upon application, a £25 / $40 deposit ( non refundable ) per person is placed by various means. 

Course Arrangements

Course + Room
(7nts) + Food (7days) = £700 - £775 per wk

Accommodation - We Reserve/You Pay - Rooms : E30-E40 (budget) / E40-E50 (standard) per nt. For personal privacy and individual creative space, all the writers are spread around the village in different houses, in separate ‘Greek Island style rooms’, simply appointed with sea view balconies, en suite bathrooms, towels & bedding provided. Upon Course reservation, we reserve a room for you, changeable on site by arrangement, which you pay for and manage on an independent traveller basis. Espirita does not offer the sharing of rooms by clients that do not know each other beforehand. 

Food - E20 - E30 per day - The various tavernas offer an extremely good level of cuisine with many vegetarian options, all at reasonable prices. The good food of Loutro begins with a rather popular gratis 'vegetarian feast' on the Sunday evening dinner of each week.

Local Fees - final invoices add £10 for Local Fees which Espirita pays on your behalf - for the E5 'Terrace Fee' and for the boat transfers to and from the Readings Dinner on Friday evenings 

Etc - Loutro still operates largely on a cash basis and clients should arrive with sufficient cash for the whole week . Those on a tight budget should bring a travelling kettle and basic utensils for drinks and light meals, but allow for eating out in the evenings: (E12-E15). A gift shop and some well stocked minimarkets provide fresh food, beach wear, basic commodities etc. Three or four stylish bars with laid back music offer a mellow starlit nightlife... Regrettably, the steep inclines and steps around the village are not appropriate for wheelchair use. Wifi works in the tavernas and cafes and there is a small Internet facility. Mobile phones cover most of Loutro most of the time, and are integral to on site communications. 

Climate - Apart from an occasional windy cool day, there is a 90-95% chance of perfect weather with highs of 27-33°C in June. Evenings and nights can be cooler in early June, for which jackets, sweaters and scarves might be appropriate.

' a very well executed week again……. I am deeply appreciative of what has been created for us. ' ( writer 2018 )

Espirita is an independent not for profit organisation

For general viewing, for viewing whilst in Crete……… 

Sfakia - a Greek Island film - 72 mins

Streaming - Free

Inspirita Books Loutro Poems Book

Espirita - Forest Donation Policy