Sometimes, writers just need to get away. Together. 


May 5 - 7, 2017

SOLD OUT. Email to join a waitlist.  


If you'd like more information, please contact us at

photo 1.JPG

"So elegant, serene, hidden... what a gem."

"Beyond what I could have imagined. Just wonderful!"

"The Porch Writers' Retreat at Rivendell was an exceptional experience, bringing writers together in an intimate exchange of advice, craft and instruction, and fellowship. The setting (consisting of charming accommodations on an idyllic mountain bluff) and good food and wine only enhanced the weekend. But I'm mostly excited about the relationships forged with the lovely women I met (this retreat happened to be all women), and look forward to the benefits of my expanded network of writer friends."


Read Kate Parrish's Blog post about the 2014 fall retreat or Katie McDougall's article in 2nd and Church about the 2014 spring retreat. 



The Porch is thrilled to offer its fourth annual spring weekend writing workshop, May 5th - 7th, 2017, at Rivendell Writers’ Colony. Step outside your busy life and be a writer amongst writers in a place infused with literary roots and uncommon beauty. You can expect inspiration, time to scribble, instruction, discussion, opportunities to share, relaxation, spectacular views, camaraderie, and good food and libations.


A stone’s throw from University of the South, Rivendell Writers’ Colony offers charming, writerly accommodations, breathtaking views, and a myriad of lovely perches for reading, writing, and musing. Rivendell Writers’ Colony adjoins the historical Brinkwood property once owned by William Alexander Percy, and later his novelist cousin, Walker Percy. Imbued with the rich literary heritage and spirit of both Sewanee and the Percy family, it is a place where a writer cannot help but feel inspired. 



5:30 – 7:00         Arrival: cocktails and hors d'oeuvre

7:00 – 9:00         Dinner; writing party


8:00 – 9:30         Breakfast

10:00 –12:30     Writing time

12:30 – 2:00       Lunch

1:30 – 3:30         Draft Chats

4:30                     Craft Talk

6:00 – 7:00         Cocktails and hors d'oeuvre

7:00 –                  Dinner and optional participant reading


8:30 – 9:30        Breakfast

10:30 – 11:30 Craft Conversation

12: 00 –             Optional informal lunch; departure



Single Occupancy: $475

Double Occupancy: $415

Day Participants: $250 (includes all but lodging)

$200 non-refundable deposit due upon registration. Participants are encouraged to register soon in order to ensure a spot. Final payment due April 28. Cancellation after April 29 will result in forfeiture of payment. 




What I'm really looking for is some time and space to write. Are the workshops and activities required?

Not at all. Everything is optional, so if you want to hunker down in your room to work, that's just fine by us. That said, all the workshops and activities promise to feed to muse and offer a nice balance to the time spent at work.


I’m working on a particular project, and I’m hoping for feedback.

The Saturday morning "Draft Chat" is designed to give writers both an audience as well as some feedback. However, due to time limitations, writers will be limited to sharing a maximum of five pages during that workshop. Additionally, we are offering one-on-one manuscript consultations for a fee of $40. There is a 20-page maximum for prose, and 10 pages for poetry. Please contact us  at if you are interested in this option.


I’m a beginner. Is that okay?

Absolutely. Our retreat is designed to inspire all levels.


I’m a vegetarian.

No problem. While we may not be able to accommodate all food allergies or needs, our meals will be as inclusive as possible.



"The Porch Retreat to Rivendell was the perfect escape - an opportunity to be with other writers, drink from the well of their collective wisdom, and enjoy the serene and inspiring environment. I expected bunk beds and a cafeteria and was instead awed by a gorgeous property and luxurious accommodations and meals. If I didn't know I could come back next year, they'd have had to pry my fingers from the doorframe to get me to leave."

"My main goal for the weekend was to carve out some time for myself to write, and I was able to spend almost all day Saturday doing so, which is a rare accomplishment for me. It was a great opportunity to contemplate and get rejuvenated about a long term project. Thanks to organizers Susannah and Katie for setting the tone for a wonderful weekend."


past retreats:



AUGUST 14 - 16, 2015

We're thrilled to offer this special getaway at Rivendell in August. Participants will explore the art of the book from three angles: as readers, writers, and bookmakers. You'll have the opportunity to create two handmade books during your stay—a simple Dutch map fold and a stitched leather-bound journal. Instruction and materials will be provided by Nashville bookbinder and artist Jennifer Knowles of Brown Dog Bindery, and Porch cofounder Susannah Felts will lead a two-hour writing workshop. There will be time to relax, wander the grounds, and of course, read. All meals will be catered by Julia's of Sewanee.


Jennifer Knowles has fifteen years experience in bookbinding and book arts. She teaches classes and workshops at colleges, universities, and arts organizations throughout the southeastern United States. Her sculptural work, artists books and photographic works are exhibited and collected internationally. Jennifer is a member of the American Craft Council, the College Book Arts Association, the Southeast Guild of Bookworkers, the Tennessee Book Arts Guild and Tennessee Craft. She opened Brown Dog Bindery in 2010 focusing on book restoration, repair, and conservation including photo and document restoration. She is the Founding Director of Brown Dog Nashville; an organization that conceptualizes, organizes and promotes creative collaborations between local businesses, artists and the community. These organizations include The Nashville Limited Edition Club, the Nashville Print Crawl, Handmade and Bound Nashville, pop-up artists book exhibits such as Beyond Books, and many other collaborations between visual and performing arts organizations. When she isn't busy binding books or organizing events you might find her navigating Tennessee's rivers in her little yellow kayak or cruising country roads in a rusty truck with her little brown dog, Nollie.

Susannah Felts is cofounder of the Porch, and a fiction writer, freelance writer, teacher, editor, and native Nashvillian. Prior to launching the Porch, Susannah taught creative writing at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago's Gallery 37 after-school arts program, and in several other youth and community workshop settings. Her first novel, This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record, was published in 2008 by Featherproof Books.

Susannah was the recipient of the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Individual Artist Fellowship in Fiction for 2013. She has been awarded the Tennessee Williams Scholarship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, as well as residencies at the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Oxford American, The Sun, Quarterly West, Corium, Redux, Hobart, Five Chapters, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency,, Wigleaf, Quick Fiction, and others. She earned her BA with Highest Honors in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and holds an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


  • $550 single occupancy
  • $500 double occupancy
  • cost includes all meals, materials, and instruction