The Sandhill Writers Retreat

Saturday, May 17, 2014
9:00am - 6:30pm
Saint Leo University
Saint Leo, Florida

**All spaces for poetry manuscript one-on-one consultations have been filled**

The Second Annual Sandhill Writers Retreat will renew the writer in you.

The full-day retreat will take place on the beautiful, serene University Campus, located in rural Saint Leo, Florida, approximately 35 miles north of Tampa. The retreat will feature eight hands-on writing classes in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. A stellar faculty of nationally-acclaimed Florida writers includes Enid Shomer (Florida Lifetime Achievement Award winner), Jeff Klinkenberg (award-winning Tampa Bay Times feature writer), Ira Sukrungruang, (who gave the best workshop at the 2013 pilot and is returning at attendees’ request) and poet Lola Haskins (Florida Book Award winner). These four renowned writers will guide attendees through lessons in craft and imaginative exercises that lead to new works The retreat will also include a faculty reading and book signing, a reception, and an optional open reading for participants. Participants are encouraged to bring their own lunch or order a box lunch for an additional charge.

A very limited number of private one-on-one manuscript consultations are available on a first come, first served basis. There is an additional fee for the 15-minute consultation of up to 10 pages of fiction, nonfiction or poetry **All spaces for poetry manuscript one-on-one consultations have been filled**.

Who Should Attend

You are invited! The Sandhill Writers Retreat is open to writers of all levels who wish to hone the craft and renew the joy of writing. Teachers, students, the military and the general public are all invited to attend.

2014 Faculty

Enid Shomer will conduct workshops in fiction. In 2013 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing from the Florida Humanities Council. She is the author of the novel The Twelve Rooms of the Nile, story collections, Imaginary Men and Tourist Season, and four books of poetry. She has taught at University of Arkansas and Florida State University and has edited the University of Arkansas Poetry Series since 2002.

Jeff Klinkenberg will conduct workshops on writing about Florida culture. He has written for the Tampa Bay Times since 1977 and is the author of Alligators in B-Flat, Pilgrim in the Land of Alligators, Seasons of Real Florida and Dispatches from the Land of Flowers. He is a two-time winner of the Paul Hansell Distinguished Journalism Award, the “Green Eyeshade Award,” and the national Sigma Delta Chi Award. He has taught at UF’s College of Journalism and was the first “Writer in Residence” for USF’s Florida Studies Graduate program.

Ira Sukrungruang will conduct workshops in creative nonfiction. He is Assistant Professor of English at USF, Tampa. He is the author of Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy and won the Anita Scharf Award for his poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night. He is co-editor of What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The FAT Nonfiction Anthology. He is the recipient of the 2013 Artsmith Writers Residency Fellowship, The Emerging Writer Fellowship, and an Arts and Letters Fellowship.

Lola Haskins will conduct workshops in poetry. She is the author of 11 books of poetry, including The Grace to Leave. Her prose publications include Fifteen Florida Cemeteries: Strange Tales Unearthed; Solutions Beginning with A; and a poetry advice book-- Not Feathers Yet: A Beginner's Guide to the Poetic Life. She has won the Iowa Poetry Prize, two Florida Book Awards, two NEA fellowships, four Florida state fellowships, The Emily Dickinson Prize from the Poetry Society of America, and recognition from Florida's Eden for her environmental writing.

Registration Information

Retreat registration includes access to all writing workshops, a reception and book signing, the faculty reading and an optional open mic. Both a box lunch and a one-on one-manuscript conference may be purchased for an additional charge.

Manuscripts of 10 pages of poetry **All spaces for poetry manuscript one-on-one consultations have been filled**, up to 10 pages of fiction and up to 10 pages of nonfiction may be submitted for close personal review and private conference with the appropriate faculty. Slots for one-on-one conferences are extremely limited and will be arranged based on a first come, first served basis.

All participants must be pre-registered to attend. Early registration will close on at midnight April 30, 2014. Late registration from May 1-12, 2014, incurs an additional late fee of $15 per registrant.


General public $85
Teachers, student, seniors $65
SLU faculty, staff, veterans & active duty military
SLU Students
One-on-one manuscript consultation **All spaces for poetry manuscript one-on-one consultations have been filled**
Box lunch


*Five student internships, for which there is an application process, waive the registration fee. To apply for an internship, contact the director.

Retreat Administrators:

Gianna Russo, Director, is the author of the poetry collection, Moonflower, (Kitsune Books, 2011) winner of a Florida Book Award, and the poetry chapbook, The Companion of Joy (SLU’s Green Rabbit Press, 2014). She is founding editor of YellowJacket Press. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in Tampa Bay Times. She teaches at Saint Leo University and is editor-in-chief of Sandhill Review.

Angel Jimenez, Assistant Director, is a Saint Leo instructor and tutor.

Questions should be directed to Retreat Director and Saint Leo English and creative writing faculty member, Gianna Russo, at (352) 588-8282 or


Click Here for Registration Page



Hotel accommodations are available at:


2014 Retreat Schedule

8:30-9:00 Check in    
9:00 Fiction with
Enid Shomer
Nonfiction with
Jeff Klinkenberg
Nonfiction one-on-one
10:00 Break    
10:15 Poetry with
Lola Haskins
Nonfiction with
Ira Sukrungruang
Nonfiction on-on-one
11:15 Break    
11:30 Nonfiction with
Jeff Klinkenberg
Poetry with
Lola Haskins
Fiction one-on-one
12:30 Lunch    
1:30 Nonfiction with
Ira Sukrungruang
Fiction with
Enid Shomer
Poetry one-on-one
2:30 break
sign-up for Open Reading
2:45 Faculty Reading    
3:45 Reception and Book Signing    
4:15 Open Reading    
5:30 Closing Remarks    


Contact Information

For questions about the conference, please contact:
Gianna Russo, 2014 Retreat Director
(352) 588-8282