AUTHORS AT LARGE is the brainchild of Robin Hemley and Xu Xi, two award winning authors who met in 2002 at the Foreign Correspondents Club bar in Hong Kong. Since that first meeting, their writing lives have crossed transnationally numerous times.
In 2005 or thereabouts, over a drink by the river in Sacramento, they imagined the solitude of their writing lives buoyed by a literary community that connected regularly around the world. An early, over-ambitious attempt to launch AUTHORS AT LARGE was abandoned. Then, their careers as creative writing teachers took unexpected turns towards Asia, where each has a personal stake.
Ten years since they first articulated their idea, the time is now right to relaunch AUTHORS AT LARGE. In 2016, they began with their first intensive writing retreat in Asia, on the private island of Telunas in Indonesia. Their hope is to grow their community of writers in this region and beyond by sharing what they've learned in their transnational writing lives.
In the summer of 2017, AUTHORS AT LARGE extends their international reach beyond Asia to Europe, with retreats scheduled in Iceland, Thailand and again on Telunas. Their first weekend workshop will be offered in January in the south of France.
Robin Hemley is the author of 11 books of nonfiction and fiction, and has won numerous awards for his writing, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, three Pushcart Prizes in both fiction and nonfiction, The Independent Press Book Award, an Editors Choice Award from The American Library Association, State Arts Council grants from Washington, North Carolina, and Illinois, The Ohioana Library Association Award, and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, The MacDowell Colony, and many others. His work has been published in the U.S. Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Japan, Germany, the Philippines, Singapore, and elsewhere. Among his works are two popular craft books, Turning Life into Fiction, now in its fifth edition and A Field Guide for Immersion Writing. He has also written two memoirs: Do-Over and Nola: A Memoir of Faith, Art, and Madness, four collections of short stories, a novel, and a book of investigative journalism, Invented Eden: The Elusive, Disputed History of the Tasaday, which centers on a purported anthropological hoax in the Philippines. Invented Eden is currently in development with the BBC for a feature length film. With, Michael Martone, he co-edited the ground-breaking literary anthology, Extreme Fiction: Fabulists and Formalists, and with Hope Edelman, he co-edited an anthology representing the first thirty years of writing from Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program (forthcoming from University of Chicago Press). A graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, he returned to Iowa to direct the Nonfiction Writing Program for nine years before moving to Singapore to direct the writing program at Yale-NUS College and also serve as Writer-in-Residence there. He was also the Faculty Chair of the low-residency MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has been a tenured Full Professor at The University of Utah, Western Washington University, The University of Iowa (where he is now Professor Emeritus), and Yale-NUS College. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
Xu Xi 許素細 is the author of eleven books of fiction & essays, most recently a new novel, That Man In Our Lives(September, 2016) and an ekphrastic essay collaboration with photographer David Clarke Interruptions(September, 2016). Forthcoming books include a memoir Elegy for HK(2017) and a story collection Insignificance(2018). Other recent titles include Access: Thirteen Tales (2011); the novel Habit of a Foreign Sky (2010), a finalist for the Man Asian Literary Prize; an essay collection Evanescent Isles: from my city-village (2008). She is also editor of four anthologies of Hong Kong writing in English, including The Queen of Statue Square: new short fiction from Hong Kong (2014).
Prior to her full-time writing life, Xu had a parallel career in corporate marketing, mostly in the international arena. She worked in Asia and America for several major multinationals, and held management positions at Dow Jones (TheAsian Wall Street Journal), Federal Express, Leo Burnett and Pinkerton’s. Other marketing positions she held were at Cathay Pacific Airways, the Wall Street law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and PDT Architects in Cincinnati. In 1998, after the publication of her third book, she finally surrendered completely to the writing life.
At home in both New York and Hong Kong, she was on the faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in writing from 2002-12, and was elected and served as faculty chair from 2009-12. She was writer-in-residence at City University of Hong Kong from 2010 to 2016 where she established and directed Asia's first low-residency MFA in writing that is internationally recognized; in 2015, this highly successful program was controversially closed by the university. In 2016 she was distinguished visiting writer at the Virginia G. Piper Center for creative writing at Arizona State University in Tempe. She holds a MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn @xuxiwriter
That Man In Our Lives (novel)
Released September 2016 by C&R Press, USA.
HKU Museum & Art Galley released September 2016
Habit of a Foreign Sky (novel)
2010 Haven Books, Hong Kong.
The Unwalled City (novel)
2001 Chameleon Press, Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Rose (novel)
1st edition 1997, Asia 2000; 2nd edition 2004, Chameleon Press, Hong Kong.
Access Thirteen Tales (short stories)
2011 Signal 8 Press, Hong Kong.
Evanescent Isles (essays)
2008 Hong Kong University Press.
International Retreats 2017
At our intensive international writers’ retreats, our authors lead small group workshops in fiction and nonfiction. Your manuscript is closely read by the workshop leader and others in your group. Guided by your workshop leader, each manuscript is discussed to discover what could make it an even more effective literary piece. Critiques are moderated in the communal spirit of writers reading and supporting other writers. There are also talks & discussions on writing craft, as well as informal sharing of our work. We offer an opportunity for all participants to reflect upon the writing life and its challenges. Personal writing time is factored into the daily schedule.
Click on WHAT WE DO for overall information about our scheduled retreats in 2017.
Authors at Large offers intensive weekend workshops in book-length creative projects such as the novel or memoir as well as workshops in short creative works such as the short story, novella or literary essay. These are limited to small groups.
In January, Xu Xiwill be writer-in-residence at La Muse Writer’s Retreat located in the village of Labastide-Esparbairenque in the Languedoc region of Southern France. She will offer a weekend workshop January 14 to 15. Residents and visitors at the retreat can enroll in this workshop exclusively designed for La Muse.
WRITING TO REVISE: a work-in-progress writing workshop
A weekend workshop in fiction & nonfiction for La Muse Writer’s Retreat
Saturday January 14: 9 am to 1 pm & Sunday January 15: 2 pm to 5 pm
Workshop description: To be a writer, you must in the first place write. And then you must read your own work as a writer does, with a critical eye for editing and revision to transform it into the best piece of writing you possibly can. In this workshop, you will read writing in progress with that kind of eye, by focusing on word choices, sentences and paragraphs of your own work and those of others in the group. This workshop will provide you with writing craft tools to think about your own work the way a writer needs to, and to help you consider how you might revise your work in progress for eventual completion.
Each participant must submit a piece of no more than 750 words that is the opening section of a NEW story or essay or book that you are writing or wish to write and for which you would like some feedback. This can be a complete short-short or flash piece of 750 words or less, but keep your submission to one single piece. Please don’t send me something you’ve already completed or published because that entirely defeats the purpose of a workshop in revision, which is to look at work in progress. Email this to me at email@example.com as a WORD or RTF attachment only (no pdf’s please) by no later than Thursday January 5. Include your full name, email address and indicate the genre of your piece (fiction or nonfiction) at the beginning of your manuscript; if it is a complete piece (as opposed to just an opening section) please say so.
All participants will receive by email a document containing all the submissions by no later than Saturday January 7 which you are expected to read before the first session on Saturday January 14.
The workshop: On Saturday, we will discuss all the manuscripts with an eye to how each piece could be revised through a guided discussion (guidelines will be provided with the document I send you for reading). Participants will each revise a section of their piece — up to 300 words — and we will read and discuss these revisions on Sunday. Please come with a laptop or tablet to write on and receive email as this is how we’ll share the revisions for reading on Sunday.
Maximum group size: 12 • Cost: US$175 per head
To book your stay at the retreat please go to La Muse - once you’ve secured your booking you can sign up for the workshop at Other Services
Information & Contact
All prices listed on this website for credit card charges are in US$
Authors at Large Writing Retreat prices are for the retreat & workshop only. Accommodation & travel costs are extra and you must make those arrangements yourself.
To attend our international writers retreats on Telunas private island or in Iceland or Thailand as part of the Iowa Summer Writer’s Festival, please submit an application. Go to APPLY for further information. Once your application has been accepted, your place at the retreat needs to be guaranteed by a paid registration. Until payment has been received, your place is not guaranteed. All registrations are first come first served.
If you have specific questions for either of us, please email.
Reservations for accommodations must be made directly with and paid to the retreat facility. Any cancellation of your stay will be subject to their policies. Authors at Large will not assume any responsibility for expenses incurred by your reservation.
Send us your queries and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Cancellations & refunds
We will refund 100% of your registration fee for a retreat if you cancel by no later than 90 days prior to the start date. Later cancellations are partially refunded: 75 to 90 days - 75%; 60 to 75 days - 50%; 30 to 60 days - 25%; less than 30 days -10%. All refunds are less service fees charged by our billing provider.