Kick Start Your Novel in Málaga, Spain

June 19 – 25, 2016

An intensive novel-writing workshop for the serious fiction writer

Join us this summer in beautiful southern Spain and immerse yourself in a week-long Spanish experience that will inspire and invigorate your writing.

This workshop is for the writer who has writing experience, is highly motivated and has at least a nodding acquaintance with the novel that dwells within. While you may work on your novel-in-progress if you insist, Liz strongly suggests that instead, you work on something fresh for the purposes of this workshop. Leave your old work at home and let the spirit of the moment move you. Trust the creative process and watch the magic happen.

Plan to attend all sessions, and spend non-class hours working intensively on your book as well. Momentum is important.

This class is not for the faint of heart, the weak-willed or those who are afraid of the intense internal examination that novel writing entails. Your level of experience is not as important as your dedication to the process.

Come with your writing materials, a two-page synopsis of the novel you intend to write, an open mind and a willing heart.

Whether your dream is to write a best-seller or you want to travel while dedicating time to your writing, you’ll return from the retreat with a substantial body of work and the motivation to complete your novel.

Writers & Publishers International is pleased to invite acclaimed author Elizabeth Engstrom as our 2016 guest instructor for our novel writing workshop & retreat in Spain’s Montes de Málaga National Park, Andalucia, Spain from June 19 to 24, 2016.

Elizabeth Engstrom is the author of fourteen books and has over 250 short stories, articles, and essays in print. A Bram Stoker Award nominee for Best Fiction Collection for her book Nightmare Flower, her work has appeared on the Library Journal “Best Seller List.” In 2014 her short novel Candyland was adapted into the film titled Candiland, starring Gary Busey, James Clayton and Chelah Horsdal. Engstrom is also a highly sought-after teacher and keynote speaker at writing conferences, conventions, and seminars around the world. She has a BA in Literature/Creative Writing, and an MA in Applied Theology, both from Marylhurst University. Her most recent nonfiction book is How to Write a Sizzling Sex Scene, and her most recent novel is Baggage Check, a thriller. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her fisherman-husband and their dog where she is on the board of directors for Wordcrafters in Eugene. She teaches the occasional writing class, puts her pen to use for social justice, and is always working on her next book.

For more information visit

Watch the trailer for Candiland, a film adapted from Elizabeth Engstrom’s novel Candyland: Click here

“Liz is more than a teacher. She is a mentor, a friend, a coach and an encourager. She’s a creative light whose guidance will inspire writers at any point in their journey, whether they’re seasoned professionals or emerging artists. Her brand of wisdom and generosity comes along only rarely, and her teaching becomes a part of the blood and bone of a writer’s art.”

Susan Wiggs, #1 NYT bestselling author.

“As an educator, Elizabeth Engstrom speaks in direct and easy to understand terms about the development of story and character. Her methods whittle away the impeding assumptions of her students and help them become the story-tellers they are meant to be.”

Alan M. Clark, Author of the Jack the Ripper Victims Series

“Elizabeth Engstrom is, quite simply, the best teacher of fiction writing in America.”

Bryce Courtenay, author of The Power of One.

Málaga Province, Spain — A Writer’s Paradise

¡Bienvenido a Málaga! Located on the southern Mediterranean coast (Costa del Sol) of Spain in Andalucía, Málaga has inspired writers and artists for centuries. The birthplace of Pablo Picasso, Málaga and the region have also been the setting for many novels and stories by both Spanish and foreign writers. Ernest Hemingway wrote about the pueblo blanco (white town) Ronda: “That is where you should go if you ever go to Spain…” And Orson Wells was so mesmerized by its beauty, he insisted his ashes be buried there. In fact, few tourist destinations in Spain have as many cultural offerings as the Costa del Sol, and Málaga’s capital is fast emerging as one of Spain’s new culture and arts hub. The exquisite beauty of the region and its literary history have resulted in a very large number of artists and writers, both Spanish and foreign, living there today. With its rich historic and cultural past, miles of beaches and stunning mountain villages, Málaga is a world that will inspire you and the novel you come to write.

Interesting facts about Málaga:

• Number of sunny days a year: 300

• Málaga city is about 2,800 years old, making it one of the oldest cities in the world.

• Its cultural infrastructure and artistic heritage have culminated in the nomination of Málaga as a candidate for the 2016 European Capital of Culture.

• While other Andalusian cities have their Alcazars, Málaga boasts not one but two Moorish castles.

• The native Malagueños are considered to be the friendliest of all Spanish and have a custom of hospitality ingrained in them.

• The White Towns of Málaga – Ronda, Mijas, Nerja, Frigiliana, and Casares – are internationally know as some of the most beautiful and charming towns in all of Spain. The white towns have long histories and show architecture that comes from the times of the Moorish conquest. They are completely unforgettable.

Hotel El Cortijo de la Reina

Venue: Our retreat will take place in the 4 star Hotel Cortijo la Reina, a traditional Spanish country estate in the heart of Montes de Málaga Natural Park. Originally a country residence for Spanish nobility, the immense mansion occupies 150,000 m2 and dates back to the 19th century. The stunning cortijo has been carefully refurbished, integrating modern annexes and installations into it’s historical structure. Write and relax in one the historical salons or enjoy one of the many gardens with impressive vistas of the natural park. History and modernity, luxury and nature: Hotel Cortijo la Reina is one of Málaga’s most sought after venues for gatherings, conferences, weddings and retreats. The hotel is 30 minutes drive from the center of Málaga, 20 minutes to some of Málaga’s best beaches, and only 10 kilometers away are Málaga’s most attractive cultural and historical sites.

Meals: Hotel Cortijo la Reina’s kitchen is renowned for its creative and traditional cuisine. As true alchemists, the team of chefs have taken the best of old recipes and have updated them to delight all palates. Vegetarian meals will also be included, but if you have special dietary needs, please let us know on the registration form.

More info at

Kick Start Your Novel Workshop

The way the Kick Start Your Novel Workshop works is this: Leading up to the event, we will ask you to write a 2-page synopsis for the novel you want to write. We’ll send you examples, so you’ll have your synopsis ready to bring with you to the retreat. We ask that the synopsis not be for a work already in progress. With Spain as our muse, we strongly feel that the beauty of our exotic location will inspire you to write fresh work that will surprise and please you. Of course the information you’ll be given can be applied to a work in progress when you return home, but for the retreat we want you to experience the magic of writing new work in a new environment. Every day during workshop sessions, you’ll learn the elements of the scenes you’re going to write, you’ll write them, workshop them, and for homework you’ll revise what you’ve written as well as the synopsis. This will give you time to reflect on what you’ve learned in the session as well as rewrite the scene or add to it as you see fit. By the time you leave, you’ll have key scenes of your novel written, a working synopsis for the entire novel, and a road map of how to get your novel done. With Elizabeth’s expert instruction and guidance, you’ll be well on your way to seeing the whole picture and completing your novel. Time and time again, Elizabeth has seen the success of the Kick Start Your Novel Workshop and how it has led to the publication of many novels.

  • 6 nights’ accommodation at the 4 star Hotel Cortijo la Reina, including all meals at the hotel(beverages excluded).
  • Writing workshops and feedback sessions
  • One-to-one tutorial with Elizabeth Engstrom
  • Full critique of your 2-page novel synopsis
  • Round trip transport from Málaga to our hotel
  • Expert session on all topics of publishing & personal market recommendations, including getting your novel made into a motion-picture
  • Choice of one of Elizabeth Engstroms’s audio books
  • Flamenco concert
  • Farewell party
  • Day trip to beautiful Ronda.

Optional add-ons for an extra price: massage, horse-riding, special guided tours of the natural park, bicycle rental, transport to explore near-by villages, and much more!

Mornings are devoted to writing workshops which include lectures, guided discussions, writing and feedback. Afternoons and evenings are free to:

  • spend all the time you want writing
  • take part in a feedback session
  • explore the stunning natural park
  • discover one of the near-by villages
  • relax by the pool sipping sangria or a non-alcoholic mosto (for those who don’t want to feel left out with the wine drinkers)
  • enjoy time writing or relaxing in the library or outside in one of the hotel’s surrounding gardens

Sample Schedule

08:30  –  09.30           Breakfast

09.30   – 13.30           Writing workshop (includes a 15 minute break)

13:30 – 14.30             Lunch

14:30 – 18.30            Free time to write

18.30 –  20.00           Write-in & feedback session

20.30 –  21:30           Dinner

21.30 onwards          Free time

Every afternoon, peer feedback sessions will give you a chance to share your new writing, receive constructive comments on what peers think is working and suggestions to help smooth out any glitches. It’s not obligatory to share during feedback sessions, but it is a great opportunity to hear others’ responses in a productive and respectful environment. We are all here to encourage and help strengthen your writing.

Remember, airfare is not included; however, we are here to assist you in finding flights to  accommodate your budget. For best airfare, it’s recommended to purchase your ticket as early as possible.

Since our venue is in the mountains and off-the-beaten track, it’s very important to follow the meeting times or you will have to hire a taxi or car on your own.

Arriving in Málaga:  The nearest airport to our venue is Málaga International Airport (AGP). If you are flying from the UK, RyanAir, EasyJet, and Norwegian offer flights as low as £40.

Arrival: Sunday, June 19. The retreat has been organized so you can arrive on the date the retreat begins. If you are flying in on the 19th we recommend that you arrive no later than 1.30 pm so you can go through customs, pick up your luggage, and meet us at 2.30 pm for transport to the hotel. If  you wish to arrive in Spain before June 19th, you’ll be responsible for accommodation, but we’ll be happy to recommend hotels or a B&B and help you with your travel itinerary. Details on where to meet on the 19th will be sent a few weeks before our retreat.

Departure: Saturday, June 25. After breakfast and goodbyes to our hosts at the hotel, we’ll return to Málaga. Be aware of our departure time for your return flight if you are returning on the 25th. For international flights you must check in at least 2 hours prior to your flight. If you can’t find a return flight in the afternoon, you may want to stay a night in Málaga. We’ll be more than happy to help you book a place to stay.

We will offer the opportunity to contact other participants prior to our workshop for those who’d like to organize travel time together before or after the retreat. In our experience, many workshop participants have wanted to continue traveling together after the retreat, so you may decide you want to stay some additional time. We can also help you organize an itinerary of places to visit and transport.


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