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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 then confirmed flight bookings may be necessary.

Loutro 2017
June 11 - June 18
June 18 - June 25
June 25 - July 01

Writers have always come to Loutro so for a few weeks each year, not for profit travel organisation 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 rooms, situated variously around the small village.


'Follow the Creative - Return to the Creative'


Sun, June 11 - Sun, June 18, 2017
Meet for Dinner - Sun June 11 - 8pm

Starry Nights with Fiona Benson  Course Fee - £320

This course will take inspiration from the bright stars of the Mediterranean sky. We will take all of nightlife as our springboard, from noisy cicadas to nightclubs, from lovers to the lonely, from dreams and nightmares to the mythology of the constellations. From our closest star the sun to the night-lit sidereal, we will interrogate our night side and our solar day, We will create new portfolios of poems in a supportive and constructive atmosphere and, of course, in the warm Cretan nights, do some stargazing of our own.

Fiona Benson’s
pamphlet was the first in the Faber New Poets series. Her debut collection 'Bright Travellers' won the Seamus Heaney Prize for First Collection and the Geoffrey Faber Prize, as well as being shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize, amongst others. She lives in rural Devon with her husband and their two children.

Contemporary Fiction with Christopher Wakling Course Fee - £320

We write to make sense of the world. This course will help you turn the issues you’re passionate about into compelling fiction. If you know what you want to write about we’ll help you do that well, evading sermons, journalese, hyperbole …… in favour of big stories told well. We'll look at great contemporary writing and if you’re in search of a spark to light your literary fire, we’ll provide the flint.

Christopher Wakling’s
novels include THE DEVIL’S MASK, ‘a fascinating, morally complex tale,' Sunday Times Books of the Year, and WHAT I DID, ‘warm, hilarious, eye-wateringly moving ... should have won the Booker Prize,’ Daily Mail.

Christopher Wakling

Sun, June 18 - Sun, June 25, 2017
Meet for Dinner - Sun June 18 - 8pm

After Image  with Helen Mort Course Fee - £320

Poet Don Paterson famously said that 'a poem is a little machine for remembering itself.' Together in a series of workshops we'll look at aspects of the memorable in poetry, from rhythm and half-rhyme to distinctive first lines, from metaphors to musicality. We'll discuss poems that explore unforgettable, startling themes. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, you'll leave Loutro with new work worth remembering. 

Helen Mort
- recipient of numerous Young Poet awards and from 2010-11, the youngest ever Poet in Residence at The Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere, Cumbria. Her collection ‘Division Street’ was shortlisted for the T.S.Eliot Prize and the Costa Prize. Her latest collection 'No Map Could Show Them' is a Poetry Book Society Choice. She teaches on the MA at the Manchester Writing School and is a former Derbyshire Poet Laureate.

Helen Mort

The Art of Short Story with Zoe Gilbert & Adam Marek Course Fee - £320

Short stories offer huge freedom for experimentation and creative play, but they require great discipline and precision to make an emotional impact on the reader. Together we’ll explore the essential skills of great story writing : how to come up with original ideas, how to develop arresting core images, characters with depth, plots that grab a reader and don’t let go, and engineering powerful endings. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, a fantastical absurdist or gritty realist, you’ll soon be writing stories that will linger long in your reader’s mind.

Zoe Gilbert's
short stories have been published in anthologies and journals worldwide, and won prizes including the Costa Short Story Award. Her first collection is forthcoming from Bloomsbury.

Adam Marek
is the award-winning author of two short story collections : Instruction Manual For Swallowing and The Stone Thrower. His stories have appeared on BBC Radio 4, and in numerous magazines and anthologies.

Adam Marek

Sun, June 25 - Sat, July 01, 2017
Meet for Dinner - Sun June 25 - 8pm

Poetry Retreat with Mimi Khalvati Retreat Fee - £360

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. Her new collection, ‘The Weather Wheel’, is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. 

Mimi Khalvati

Writing Retreat  with Jenny Parrott  Retreat Fee - £360

Jenny Parrott
- has acquired for Bloomsbury, HarperCollins and Little, Brown. Currently she is a literary consultant specialising in literary fiction and she is also publisher for Oneworld’s Point Blank literary crime imprint. She has a three-novel deal with Orion under a pseudonym. Her free time is spent at the Kent coast, in the sleepy town of Deal.



Course Details

June 11 - June 18   Courses & Workshops
June 18 - June 25   Courses & Workshops 
June 25 - July  01   Retreats

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.

- take place over five days from Monday mornings to Friday afternoons, and have 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 in the early evenings, one half day is set aside for Course 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 plentiful time for an undisturbed and sustained 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 advanced plans/first 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 and 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 occasionally meet 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.

Writers arrive from their flights on Satudays 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 once more during the week and then again 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. 

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. 
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

Course Reservation :
Please check availability by making contact at : 
Upon application, a £25 / $40 deposit ( non refundable ) per person is placed. 
Payable to: ‘Espirita’ at : Espirita, 12 Vale Road, Bowdon, Cheshire, England, WA14 3AQ
Flights should not be booked until your Course or Retreat availability has been confirmed

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

Course Arrangements

Accommodation / Food - Rooms at E25-E30 (budget) or E30-E40 (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. Various tavernas offer an extremely good level of cuisine with vegetarian options at reasonable prices, ( E20 - E30 per day ). Course + Room + Food = £650 - £750/wk

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. 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.

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