This retreat is for writers who want to develop the skills and discipline needed to tell a story, regardless of the form they have chosen to work in. Whether working on a novel, autofiction, memoir, poetry, poetic-memoir, or other creative nonfiction our study sessions and writing practice are training ground for effective, compelling storytelling.


If you have pages from a current project that you would like to workshop, our group workshops will give you clear and constructive feedback, with critiques and suggestions from your fellow writers as well as both leaders. Cagibi’s uniquely co-led workshops are modeled on the synergistic alignment that is possible in artistic collaboration: addressing the most crucial thematic and technical aspects of storytelling, and getting at the heart of the matter.


If you don’t have a current project, this retreat is ideal for discovering it. The desire to write is the only prerequisite.

Workshops and Study

Each morning throughout the week, we do two things as a group: we workshop and we also engage in craft-oriented learning sessions that we call “cubbyholes”.


Our cubbyhole sessions are a hybrid of study, lively discussion, and writing practice, focusing on a specific aspect of craft or narrative approach such as metaphor or subject matter or world-building. Participants explore the content and form of their own writing by close reading works by master writers. This is followed by writing prompts that focus on applying these techniques. Given survey answers by participants in advance of the retreat, our cubbyhole sessions will be tailored by the co-leaders with an eye to the aims and needs of this group of writers.


The cubbyhole sessions are both warm-up for the day and very productive. Then, we will group workshop writing from participants’ current projects, focusing on offering clear and productive feedback. Guidelines for submitting your writing for these workshops will be provided to participants after registration, and generally will be 10 to 12 pages, double spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font. The schedule of when works will be individually workshopped will be arranged prior to the retreat, with the pages emailed ahead of time for the participants to print and bring.

The last retreat took place in the

Hudson Valley

The Cagibi Retreat:
Qu’est ce que c’est?

"The Cagibi retreats provide unique and stimulating place experience. In one interpretation, le cagibi is the place at which a writer’s inspiration is rendered into story, or shaped into poem".


This retreat will enrich your writing projects and your writing life. It will deepen your understanding of craft and mechanics, while fostering a discussion around aesthetic choices and creative freedoms. You will have many opportunities to ask questions in private and group settings; conversations to motivate you to bring your best self to this and future projects; conversations to decipher what it takes to get published, nuts and bolts, how to navigate the editorial process; conversations about the realities of, the commitment to, the regular practice of a writing life.

  • Sunday night Opening Remarks and Reading by retreat leaders

  • Daily craft discussion, practice exercises and activities, and group workshop sessions

  • In-depth work with you on the project you choose to bring with a roadmap for revision and next steps

  • Plenty of access to the leaders all week in impromptu conversation, to learn about lessons and tips they’ve learned along the way and joys of the creative process

  • Reading event for the participants

  • Private, quiet writing time (designated silent areas)

  • Pre-dinner group and evening social time, if you choose

  • Readings and conversations with guest authors

Activities and Free Time

There will be lots of free (and private) time to take advantage of the gorgeous premises (or the cafes in the village, which is within walking distance) to pursue your own writing. The week will also include excursions and activities in the area such as:

  • Excursions to Luberon medieval villages.

  • Afternoon to reputed vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

  • A day trip to the Calanques of Cassis nestled in the pristine waters of the Mediterranean.

  • Hiking trails in the Luberon Range overlooking the area of Lourmarin.

  • A morning at the famous Marché Provençal of Lourmarin.

  • Free yoga classes.

  • Cycling in Luberon trails *

*Extra charge

Participation in this retreat will be limited to 20 people. Selection is based on first come, first serve.

Sylvie Bertrand

Retreat Leader

Sylvie Bertrand is a writer, editor and teacher living in Brooklyn. A native French speaker, she was born and grew up in Montreal.  Her stories and poems have appeared in Peregrine Journal, Epiphany, Cleaver Magazine, december, and other journals. Her first published short story received a 2018 Pushcart Special Mention. She was a finalist for the 2019 Jeff Marks Memorial Poetry Prize and nominated for the 2017 PEN / Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. Sylvie has degrees in Literature & Communications, Political Sciences, and a MA in Anthropology from Princeton University.  She is the co-founder of Cagibi and faculty at The Writers Studio in NYC, where she teaches memoir and creative writing workshops. svbertrand.com


Christopher X. Shade

Retreat Leader

Christopher X. Shade is author of the novel The Good Mother of Marseille and the book of poems Shield the Joyous. He is co-founder and co-editor of Cagibi, at cagibilit.com, a journal of poetry and prose. His stories and book reviews have appeared widely, and he has won story awards including the 2016 Writers at Work fellowship competition. He teaches fiction and poetry writing at The Writers Studio. Raised in the South, he now works and lives in New York City. His debut book of poems Shield the Joyous, forthcoming April 2020, is about the loss of loved ones to the disease of addiction. christopherxshade.com