the retreat

Telunas 2016 workshop with Robin Hemley

Telunas 2016 workshop with Robin Hemley

In 2017, Authors at Large (AAL) is delighted to be returning to the beautiful private island of Telunas (near Singapore) for another week-long retreat. Come spend six days/five nights with AAL partner Robin Hemley and the 2016 Booker Prize finalist author Madeleine Thien. Robin will lead the nonfiction workshop and Madeleine the one in fiction. Workshops are small, limited to no more than 8 participants.

A typical day will begin with a sumptuous breakfast followed by a full morning of writing in seclusion, reading by the pool, taking a walk, fishing off the pier, or conversing with your fellow writers. It’s up to you how you choose to shape your mornings.

Every afternoon, we’ll meet for workshop sessions. Each author’s submitted manuscript (maximum 5,000 words) will be discussed for at least an hour. Guidelines are provided by your workshop leader to ensure a constructive discussion.  

There will be no formal program in the evenings so that those who wish to write some more in their villas may do so. For those who prefer to mingle, we’ll gather for informal salons. Robin and Madeleine will offer topics of interest to writers for discussion and authors may offer to read from their work to the group.

Interested?  Please go to this link to APPLY and submit a manuscript for acceptance to the retreat. Deadline for applications is June 2.

(AAL clients and former MFA students of either Robin or Xu Xi need not submit applications and may register directly at specially discounted rates.)

Robin and Madeleine will each offer a limited number of individual consultations for longer manuscripts (up to 25,000 words) specially priced for retreat participants. Register soon at this link as we anticipate these will go quickly.

Airfare & accommodation are not included. You must make your own travel arrangements (boat pick up available from Singapore) and book directly with Telunas Private Island for your stay. Please contact Lillis at

Note Although we prefer participants to come alone (or with another writer for a villa share), we understand that a spouse or partner might wish to join you and enjoy the resort. Since this is a private retreat for writers, we do charge a small fee for a non-participant who accompanies you. Non-participants may not attend the afternoon workshops but are welcome to join the evening informal salons.


previous testimonials


“Sleek wooden hand-built speedboat with triple outboards engines roaring past mangroves taking us ever closer to the Equator — this was going to be good. It had life jackets; I wore one . . . (the retreat)  It worked so well because everyone was genuinely committed to it, and Xu Xi and Robin had taken so much care to be really familiar with each person’s work . . .  That everyone felt comfortable to read their work before their peers attests to the gentle, supportive and respectful atmosphere created.”

Anjuli Pandavar, Shanghai.

“A magical mix of beautiful places, beautiful people, and fresh air.”

- Jane Houng, Hong Kong.

“The Telunas retreat was a rare chance to step back from the rigours of every day and embrace the writing life.  It was a wonderful opportunity to write, to talk about writing and to belong to a community of writers drawn from all over the world. I made new friendships at Telunas that will enrich me personally and professionally. I feel proud to be a Telunas alumnus and recommend it to all.”

Kristin Weidenback, Australia.

Kristin photo-HIRES 2.JPG

“I came away from the week with a lot of clarity on where my novel is heading plot-wise and with some deep insight into the kind of novel I wanted to write. This kind of insight only comes from a lot of time letting ideas and thoughts brew uninterrupted, which I struggle with in my daily life . . .  From experienced, published authors to newbies, everyone was welcoming, encouraging, open and friendly. I would highly recommend the week and will definitely be back next year!”

Michaela Anchan, Singapore.

“Don’t go to Telunas for shopping or sight seeing.  There are no shops and the sights are pretty much restricted to the island, other islands and the ever changing sea and sky.  That’s by no means boring.  Watching the weather turn from mist to rain, to bright blue and sunny is a pure mindful meditation.  The wooden fishing boats, from small skiff to large ‘junks’ are likewise mesmerising.  The accommodation is charming and comfortable.  If you want a quiet, beautiful, peaceful place to write and meditate with great leaders and a group of fascinating people, this is it.”

- Lynnette Kennedy, Sydney.

“I felt the workshop was almost tailor-made to what I needed.  Both the individual critiques on my writing and comments from fellow participants gave me the confidence to continue the novel I am working on and very valuable direction for moving forward.”  

- Dan Kreps, San Francisco.