We curate this list but don't run the opportunities listed. This is not a complete list of all the retreats, workshops and classes in Scotland.
You might also want to look into our support programmes for writers; the New Writers Award and Ignite Fellowship.
Due to Coronavirus more retreats and residencies are moving online. We have compiled a list of these here.
Writing retreats and residencies
Cove Park - Argyll and Bute
Writers' HQ - Edinburgh and Glasgow - monthly
Spend the day in a room with a bunch of writers, limitless caffeine and no internet. A scoreboard, gold stars, general silliness and supportive competitiveness will help you reach your targets and break you out of your bad habits.
Date: Second Sunday of every month (Edinburgh) or TBC (Glasgow)
Angela Locke - Iona
An annual writing retreat is held on Iona, usually in the Argyll Hotel. The course is led by Angela Locke, a writer, poet and Creative Writing tutor. She also occasionally runs creative writing retreats elsewhere in Scotland, visit her website for more details.
Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre - Highlands
Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre is located in the Scottish Highlands, just fourteen miles from the city of Inverness. Since 1993 Moniack Mhor has been running creative writing courses tutored by some of the finest authors in the UK and beyond. The centre offers a variety of courses and retreats.
Liminal Residency - rolling deadline
The Liminal Residency is a series of alternative writers' retreats which take place in neglected and unusual spaces. Most ordinary retreats and residencies depend on isolation and the removal of distractions. The Liminal Residency depends on lived experience, random chance and shared adventure. If you’re interested in attending a residency, please get in touch with a bit about yourself and your work. You can specify an interest in a particular residency, or make a general application.
Entry free: Free to apply, although you would need to cover your costs of transport, accommodation and food during the residency
Find out more about Liminal Residency
Write South West Scotland
Writing courses and accommodation for retreat available in Bridge of Dee (Dumfries and Galloway).
Dalnaglar - near Blairgowrie
A series of writing retreats throughout the year taking place at Dalnaglar Castle near Blairgowrie.
Telephone: 01250 882 303 Email: Find out more about Dalnaglar
Blackhouse Forest Estate
Accomodation for a writing retreat. Based in the Yarrow Valley, Scottish Borders, Blackhouse Forest Estate is easily accessible from Edinburgh and Glasgow. The Lodge sleeps 10 people with areas both inside and outside for coming together.
Email: email@example.com Telephone: 07867434885
Kalewater Cottage Creative Retreat
Kalewater Cottage Creative Retreat is a purpose-built residency for creative practitioners. It is based in the Scottish Borders and welcomes all writers, translators, academics and creative folks.
One off retreats and workshops
Inkandescent - The Short Story for Beginners
An enjoyable creative writing course for beginners, devised and delivered by Justin David. No previous experience needed. Two-hour sessions will be held via Zoom for six weeks, beginning in September and ending in October.
Case Closed - Spread the Word and C&W Literary Agency
Case Closed is a free programme of panels, workshops, and resources exploring writing a crime, thriller and/or mystery novel. The programme runs throughout 2023 and is intended for unpublished and unagented writers, with a focus on those from diverse backgrounds.
Back to Basics - Intensive residency program in Hämeenkyrö, Finland
Back to Basics residency program gives artists the opportunity to clear their mind, get back to focus and (re)discover the very basis of their being. Artists, writers & creative professionals are welcome to apply.
The residency costs €1950 per month, although reduced fees are available.
Entry fee: None
Deadline: Wednesday 10 January
Back to Basics: Kickstart Your Novel
Join New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author Michelle Hodkin for a half-day workshop to kickstart your novel. Writers of all abilities and experience are welcome and encouraged.
Date & time: Sunday 26 November, 1pm to 5pm
Workshops and classes
Writing Groups across Scotland
Scottish Book Trust maintains a list of writing groups throughout Scotland.
Third Thursday Writers - Edinburgh - monthly
Ekphrastic (using visual art as a prompt) writing group, facilitated by Helen Boden, which meets once a month in a different Edinburgh gallery or exhibition. Each two-hour workshop moves between viewing, discussion, writing, and constructive critique. We visit most of the free exhibitions at National Galleries Scotland, and have also formed relationships with Fruitmarket Gallery, City Art Centre, Talbot Rice Gallery and Dovecot Studios. Using specially-devised exercises, we respond to art-forms from a range of mediums – painting, drawing, sculpture, video, installation, print-making . . . and from all historical periods.
This supportive tutored group is suitable for all levels of experience, and meets 10.30am-12.30pm on the third Thursday of each month.
Entry fee: £12 per session
More information: contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Fundamental Conduit - Paisley - fortnightly
Free workshops for all experience levels offering workshops on creative writing, performance and music, encouraging performance of writing backed by live music.
Scottish BPOC Writers Network
A link to the events page of the Scottish BPOC Writers Network, who hold frequent workshops. Please be mindful when booking. These are sessions for Black writers & writers of colour based in Scotland (or who, pre-COVID, would normally be resident in Scotland).
Offering a mix of workshops and courses in experimental writing.
Entry fee: Various. See website.
Writing courses scheduled throughout the year.
Entry fee: Various. See website.
Author Janis Mackay runs annual writing courses, please see website for options and prices.
Kelso Writers' Workshop
Writers of various genres and experiences come together to improve their writing skills and reduce social isolation.
Fee: £3 (£2.50 for members)
page one mentoring scheme - Johnson & Alcock
The Johnson & Alcock Agency are offering an online mentoring programme to underrepresented writers (including - but not limited to - Black, Asian, and minority ethnic candidates, those living outside of London and the South East, people with disabilities, and those from low-income families), with the aim of demystifying their industry.
You can find funding and resources for writers during the Coronavirus pandemic here.
Creative Scotland is a public body that supports the arts in Scotland. Individuals, groups or organisations can apply for funding.
The Gaelic Books Council commission grants
The Gaelic Books Council offers assistance to authors who wish to write in Scottish Gaelic. Priority is given to writers who have a publishing agreement in place, as well as to projects that contain a high percentage of Scottish Gaelic content. They support a wide variety of literary genres, and are open to applications in support of digital titles and other formats, as well as traditional printed books.
Scottish Books International: travel fund
This fund has been established by Scottish Books International to support writers who have been invited overseas to promote their work, including trips to festivals, publicity events and more.
Entry fee: Free
Find out more about Scottish Books International: travel fund
Society of Authors: Grants
The Society of Authors administers a number of grants for writers. Their grants help fund works in progress and support authors in financial difficulty. You have to be a member to apply for some grants.
Royal Literary Fund
The Royal Literary Fund is a benevolent fund for professional published authors; it is funded exclusively by bequests and donations from writers and others who wish to help writers.
While not strictly funding, you can join the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society for a one-off fee to earn money from published books, contributions (both written and illustrated) to published books, and contributions to regular journals and magazines with an ISSN number.
Poet's Hardship Fund
You can apply for one off payments of up to £50 for poets from this volunteer-run fund.
The Touring Network
The Touring Network is a community of promoters and performers. Funding and information is available. Please see website for eligibility criteria.