Renaissance House Retreat for Writers and Artists in Martha’s Vineyard will celebrate its 23rd season by offering three exciting writing programs in June, July and September 2022 at its original location in Oak Bluffs – a home where legendary novelist Dorothy West (“The marriage”) would write.

Renaissance House is one of the few retreats designed for issue-oriented writers, writers of color, and social justice writers. Renaissance House offers writers and other artists a subsidized retreat from the responsibilities of life and a safe space in which to create new works of art. It is one of the few retreats designed for scholarly writers, writers of color, and social justice writers.

Abigail McGrath, Founder and CEO, Renaissance House Writers Retreat.

“Renaissance House focuses on writers who are going through different stages of their careers, from emerging writers working 9-5 jobs, to notable award winners,” explained Abigail McGrath, Founder of Renaissance House. “The goal of the program is to give artists time ‘alone’, away from their family, their work and the daily tasks that make up life. The retreat, located in the historic home where Helene Johnson and Dorothy West wrote, provides a safe space in which to create new works or complete existing ones. There are workshops in memoir writing, journalism, poetry, and many other aspects of writing. But the key is to have time to “stare into space”.

In addition to the traditional Renaissance House Writers-in-Residence program, a commuter program for Island residents will be offered at a discounted rate. Additionally, a weekend writer’s retreat will be available for writer activists in September. The available dates are:

Weeks of June 19, June 26 and July 3 – Writing workshops for residential and suburban programs

September 16 – September 18 – Activist Writers Workshop Retreat

July 4 – Renaissance House will hold its annual public reading of Frederick Douglass’ historic speech on Inkwell Beach.

Renaissance House, a retreat for writers on social issues, is a program of the nonprofit Helene Johnson and Dorothy West Foundation for Artists In Need. Both of these women were residents of Martha’s Vineyard Island and prominent writers of the Harlem Renaissance. The application deadline for this program is June 6, 2022.

The Renaissance House program salons featured interviews with literary giants of Martha’s Vineyard such as Jill Nelson, Jessica Harris, Kate Feiffer, Susan Klein, Robert Hayden, Marty Nadler, Nat Benjamin, Shirley Craig, Brooks Robards, Janet Hill, Justen Ahern, Daniel Waters, Mike West and others.

Writers have educational workshops, one-on-one editorial advice, and most importantly, time. The retreat offers time to create new works or complete existing ones. Applicants may submit fiction, non-fiction, creative and problem-oriented non-fiction works to be submitted.
McGrath, author, actress and playwright, was raised by the leading ladies of the Harlem Renaissance. “My mother, Helene Johnson was a poet and summer resident who had to stop writing to support her family,” McGrath recalled. “My aunt, Dorothy West, was a year-round resident of Martha’s Vineyard who, despite her talent and previous fame, worked as a cashier at the Harbor Side restaurant in Edgartown until a Doubleday editor spotted her. writing in the local newspaper and giving him the opportunity to just “look at the trees and do nothing”. This allowed West to write “The Wedding,” a bestselling novel inspired by the interracial marriage of McGrath, the founder, and her niece. It was one of the last novels edited by fellow Vineyarder, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Participating writers include non-fiction writers Carolyn Brown, Linda Burnham, Jessica B. Harris and activist Caroline Hunter.

For more information, please contact Renaissance House at [email protected]