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' 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
with Greek National Holiday weekend variations

Loutro 2024
June 08/09 - June 15/16
 June 15 - June 22
June 13 - June 22

Should a course become fully subscribed, confirmed flight bookings may be necessary.

All room reservations end at check out Sat June 22

Writers have always come to Loutro - situated within the inspiring natural resource of South West Crete and bounded by its positive liberating energy, our writing courses bring together people, experts, ideas and artistic creativity. Arriving off weekend flights for the orientation dinners on Sunday evenings, the Courses & Retreats run from Mondays to Fridays, (please note 2024 variations) with ample free time outside the schedule. The writers dine together again during the week, with a closing dinner on the Friday evening at a nearby bay for readings of course work, food, wine, moon, stars… then heading for their return flights over the following weekend, the room changeover days being Saturdays and Sundays, (please note 2024 variations). 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. There are 8-9 restaurants and 4-5 café bars to choose from, with food, drink and accommodation all reasonably priced.

'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 2024
Meet for Dinner - Sun June 09 - 8pm

Poetry Course with & Maurice Riordan
Mon June 10 – Fri June 14
Course Fee - £395

Contemporary Poetry: A Fresh Look, Fresh Listen – Intermediate to Advanced (Presently Full)
At the heart of this course is the writing and sharing of new poems. You’ll be challenged to break free of your comfort zones, with the expectation you’ll broaden your techniques and sharpen your ambition. Through discussion of exemplary poems, you’ll also be pushed towards an intense engagement with contemporary poetry. By the week’s end, you’ll be in possession of promising new work, and be invigorated with fresh ideas and possibilities.

Maurice Riordan was born in Lisgoold, Co. Cork, and lives in London. His fifth collection from Faber, The Shoulder Tap, was published in October 2022. Among his previous books are The Water Stealer (2013), 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. 

Maurice Riordan

Poetry Retreat with Kathryn Maris
Mon June 10 – Fri June 14
Retreat Fee - £445

Kathryn Maris is a poet, critic, editor and curator who has been teaching creative writing for 25 years to all age groups, specialising in adult education. In recent years, she has conducted an enormous number of one-to-one sessions as a Writing Fellow for the Royal Literary Fund. She currently leads an art-focussed creative writing class at City & Guilds of London Art School, while pursuing a PhD at Durham University. Her most recent collection was The House With Only An Attic And A Basement (Penguin 2018) a portion of which won the Ivan Juritz Prize for creative development.

Please see ‘Tutored Retreats 2024 Review meetings before 14.00

Pulse     Poetry Option with Kathryn Maris
Mon June 10 – Fri June 14
Course Fee - £275

Pulse’ - Creativity is what it’s about in Loutro, so here's an out of the box gig that values the role of playfulness in poetry. To wit, a poetry course of late afternoon sessions that cater for the bon viveurs, the nighttime poets, the star gazers, the late risers. A poetry course where one doesn’t have to meditate profoundly at six in the morning and ‘thrash oneself with birch leaves’ ? Where one can walk straight from working on one’s tan to working on one’s oeuvre? Once your everyday self has been assuaged by joy and feel-good factor 50, your creative pulse should be beating a path to the page. 
And a friendly price point too. New writers, young writers, gummed up poets all welcome. 
As Noel Coward might have put it : ‘Poetry is more fun than fun.’ …… 
Kathryn has been developing innovative approaches to poetry and is well equipped to explore the creative depths. Her workshops at London’s City & Guilds, integrating insights from the visual arts 
into poetic form, have been fully subscribed.


Review Add Ons to Poetry Courses – June 09 - June 14 – 3 poems one to one Reviews
With Kathryn or Maurice respectively. Limited Availability. Details upon application.

June 15 - June 22, 2024
Meet for Dinner - Sun June 16 - 8pm

  Writing Week  

The first 10 days proceed in a familiar way to those who have attended Courses before. Over the years, one of the regular requests has been to spend more time in Loutro, so the second full week, 
the ‘Writing Week’ addresses this. There are three options :

- Come weekend to weekend just to write
- Stay on after the Poetry Courses & Retreat
- Stay on after the Writing Retreat

Group dinners : Sunday, Tuesday and Friday (TBC) 

There is an Admin charge for those attending : 
After a Course or Retreat : £40 Writing Week : £75 

As long as it is clearly stated beforehand and not changed on site, one can plan to leave Loutro on any day this week. Due to the Greek National Holiday weekend, commencing Saturday June 22, all room reservations end at check out on that Saturday morning. One can always use a night before or a night after in Sfakia or Chania or anywhere to flex with your flight schedule, but from the Loutro room management point of view, this final day of programme needs to be observed.

' 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 )

June 13 - June 22, 2024
Meet for Dinner - Sun June 16 - 8pm

Writing Retreat with Christopher Wakling Retreat Fee - £445
    Thu June 13 – Mon June 17  

Christopher Wakling - his seven novels include ESCAPE AND EVASION and WHAT I DID. He’s also co-written adventure stories for younger readers with Wilbur Smith, and is a longstanding tutor of creative writing for The Arvon Foundation and Curtis Brown Creative. He writes travel journalism as well.

Please see ‘Tutored Retreats

Writing Course with Christopher Wakling Course Fee - £395
    Mon June 17 – Fri June 21  

Unlock Your Story - Develop your writing voice and storytelling skills in a supportive, inspiring environment: whether you’re planning a novel, wrestling with a work-in-progress, or have always wanted to write fiction but don’t know where to start, this course will transform your will to write into words on the page. Workshops on voice, character, conflict and setting, with an end of Course assessment, will help you unlock and hone your story.

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 (1hr +) take place on a couple of 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 meetings with the Tutor, a synopsis of your work and 10 poems, or two sizeable extracts from writing in progress, 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. Six applicants per Retreat maximum. Further details on application.

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.


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.

Partners / Companions - There is availability each week for the partners or companions of writers attending Courses & Workshops - by application. Retreat participants are requested to attend without partners or travelling companions.

Course Arrangements

Course + Room
(7nts) + Food (7days) = £995 - £1095 per wk

Espirita is not externally funded – National Lottery, Arts Council etc

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 - bank transfer, card or cheque. In Pounds, US Dollars or Euros.

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. (TBC for 2023) (Edited)

Accommodation - We Reserve/You Pay - Rooms : E50-E65 (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 - E35 – E45 per day - The various tavernas offer an extremely good level of cuisine with many vegetarian options, all at reasonable prices. Those on a tight budget should bring a travelling kettle and basic utensils for drinks, room breakfasts and light meals, but allow for eating out in the evenings  (E15-E18). The good food of Loutro begins with a rather popular gratis 'vegetarian feast' on the Sunday evening dinner of each week. 


Young Writer Discounts : Under 25yrs of age : £75 / 26yrs-29yrs : £40

Etc - Loutro operates on a cash & card basis and clients should arrive with sufficient cash for the whole week. Rooms may best be paid for by cards, but cash is easily the most practical way to settle restaurant bills when group members dine together. There is now a Euro ATM in Loutro. Never use Travelex to buy currencies. Check out in UK for advance purchases at best rates.

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. Wifi works in the tavernas, cafes and rooms though online access can vary with the time of day. Mobile phones cover most of Loutro most of the time, and are integral to on site communications. The crystal clear water and the sheltered bay of Loutro offer some of the best sea swimming conditions of anywhere in the world. Regrettably, the steep inclines and steps around the village are not appropriate for wheelchair use.

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 light jackets, sweaters and scarves may 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