Winter Reading Retreat

Reading Winter Reading Retreat
July 03–12, 2018 · Gresford, NSW

The Centre For Deep Reading is inviting expressions of interest for our winter reading retreat at Tyraman Retreat in the Hunter Valley from July 3rd - 12th, 2018.

What is the reading retreat?

The retreat is a temporary reading collective made of fifteen people (plus special guests). The collective is bound by the act of reading and living together amidst reading. The conceptual core of the retreat is to read alone together. The guiding intuition is that individual reading energy combines into a group dynamic of attentive immersion. The ambition is to create an atmosphere of motivation and pleasure.

What will we read?

Readers propose their own reading program. The theme of the winter retreat is Land and Country and we invite proposals responding broadly to this theme. Indigenous history, settler history, land use, ecology, literature from the Hunter Valley and Australian literature more generally are examples of areas that readers might focus on (but we're always open to rogue suggestions).

The retreat is ideal for getting around to reading things you always mean to but never actually do. It's also a good place to tackle texts that both seduce and intimidate you.

There is one set text for the winter retreat and we ask all participants to read Alexis Wright The Swan Book (copies will be available at the retreat).

How will the retreat work?

The retreat has three aspects: solo reading, all-group meetings and one-on-one conversation. The basic daily structure is free reading time followed by a group meeting around 5pm. This meeting is the one daily group ritual where conversations and presentations occur before bleeding into dinner and beyond.

This structure affords maximum readerly autonomy but maintains daily collective connection. The one-on-one conversations sit between the self-directed reading and group work. We encourage readers to find time each day for an informal conversation about their reading with one other reader.

What do the special guests do?

The special guests will drop in for a short stay during the retreat and lend us their particular specialness. Ross Gibson will be staging one-on-one conversations with readers, Gary Warner will lead a few bush reading walks across the property and Vanessa Berry will give a talk on psycho-geography and her new book Mirror Sydney. There's more details to come on this as we confirm more special guests.

What is the living situation?

Tyraman Retreat is a spacious property with huge roaming potential. The house itself is commodious and easy for readers to spread out in. Winter is the best season to be at Tyraman and there are multiple fire places (inside and out) to keep us warm (as well as oil heaters in the bedrooms). There are two large dorm-style rooms with 8 beds in one room and 6 in the other. There is another bedroom with a double bed in it. There are also mattresses in the cupboard that can be moved about as needed. Light sleepers and those who want privacy might think about pitching a tent.

There's also a plush master bedroom which we reserve for the special guests and our catering angels. The catering angels are Joey and Helene from Alfie's Kitchen. Perhaps the single best feature of the entire retreat is the fact that Joey cooks for us. Prepare to be astonished.

What does it cost?

It's $500 for salaried and $300 non-salaried. The participant fees will cover approximately one third of the real costs of the event. The rest of the funds will come from a fund-raising dinner party at Alfie's Ktichen.

10 nights is a long time!

Indeed it is, and we can be flexible and accomodate some shorter stays (we ask for a 5 night minimum) but we think that duration is large part of what makes the retreat rewarding.

Getting there and back?

Readers will have to make their own way to and from the retreat and will have to supply their own poisons and medications.

Are you interested in being a Reader?

Please write an expression of interest that briefly outlines your proposed reading project. Set yourself an ambitious reading program but prioritise quality over quantity.

Send expressions of interest to: