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Writing in Bali

The Art and Craft of Writing the Senses

Dates for 2014

Saturday 12 July to Saturday 19 July 2014
A Balinese Writing Retreat
With Patti Miller and the Australian Writers’ Centre
in association with Bookshop Travel

The itinerary for 2014 is now available. Fill in your details below and we'll
send you an itinerary.

Come with writer Patti Miller to the highland town of Ubud, the artistic centre of Bali, for a unique writing enrichment course. Whether you are writing from actual or imaginary life – memoir, autobiography, short stories or novels – The Art and Craft of Writing will show you how to create the colour, texture and weave of lived experience on the page.

This is a very special writing course, uniquely focused on developing the sensory richness of your creative expression. Immersed in the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of highland Bali, mind, heart and body all engaged in the writing process, you will explore how to translate the physical world of the senses into words.

The Art and Craft of Writing the Senses will reveal how the secret of powerful writing is to create a world our senses will believe is real. Brimming with both creative and sensory delights, Ubud is the perfect place to ‘write the senses’.

Staying in your own room at a beautiful resort set on the outskirts of Ubud, you will be able to write every day and explore the ancient culture of Bali. We will have welcome and farewell meals together and breakfast and morning tea are also included.

The Writing Course

In the peaceful, creative and luscious atmosphere of Ubud, long regarded as a cultural capital of Indonesia, this writing course will re-awaken your senses. You will taste, touch, see, smell and hear the world again. You will read and discuss extracts from a wide variety of writers such as Annie Dillard and Patrick Susskind, and participate in exercises designed to revitalise and extend your creativity.

Each morning for five days, from 10am to 1pm, the workshops will offer readings, discussions and writing exercises designed to re-awaken the senses and heighten observation, to explore the rich symbolic world of sensory images. You’ll learn how to use the senses to convey – or create – scene, characters and texture. You’ll also discover how sensual writing can be used to further narrative and even to convey ideas.

If you want to move from more factual styles of writing – academic, journalistic, technical or report writing – or simply feel your writing needs revitalising, then this workshop will help you make the leap into the rich textured world of powerful writing. This workshop is for both memoir and fiction writers and, whether you feel you are a beginner or more experienced, it will extend your creativity and enrich your writing.

Cultural experience

In the afternoons you will be able to write in the solitude and quiet of your own room, or you can head out to explore the fascinating town and countryside of Ubud. You can walk in the Monkey Forest and rice paddies; visit local temples and enjoy the vibrant colour of ritual and ceremonies; immerse yourself in the arts and crafts at the famous Neki Gallery or at nearby artist villages. If you like, you can take a cultural tour arranged by our tour manager to explore more of the richness of Bali.

In the evenings you can attend a performance of the traditional Barong or Kecak dances or simply enjoy some of the exquisite local cuisine. And of course, there are also the delights of the Ubud market, the rejuvenating pleasure of a therapeutic Balinese massage, or a quiet coffee at the Lotus Pond café, whenever you need a break from writing.

Your Tour Director and Writing Teacher – Patti Miller

Patti Miller is a highly experienced writer of both memoir and fiction, and a writing teacher. She is the author of the best-selling Writing Your Life, The Last One Who Remembers, Child, Whatever The Gods Do and The Memoir Book.

She has taught writing at university and writers’ centres for over 20 years
and has taken a number of writing workshops in Paris and Fiji. Her inspiring approach to writing is both passionate and attentive to the art and craft of
writing. For a list of publications and further information on her work see her website:

Click play to watch a short video of
Patti Miller talking about Writing in Bali.

  Yes! Please send me the itinerary

To download the course itinerary, including information about costs and accommodation, please complete this form.

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Click play to watch a short video of Valerie Khoo in Bali talk about the tour.


"Ever had a week so special you don't know what to say about it?".
Read the full blog post by 2011 participant Kerry Martin here.

"The course has opened my mind to attend to the details of writing and the sensory input that can create a world and characters to draw the reader in. The ideas and inspiration that came from participating in this writing course exceeded anything I might have anticipated.

"Patti is very focussed and very professional. Every lesson was well prepared and delivered with a great understanding of how we, the students, could develop and deepen our writing skills. Patti is passionate about her art and she shared her knowledge generously.

"I loved the whole experience. At a very personal level, in relation to my writing, it has been life-changing. It is an invaluable opportunity to inform your writing and take it to another level."
- Jo McCann

"Another fabulous course with Patti Miller at the helm. It definitely met all expectations and it will be very useful for my writing. I had a wonderful time and it was very enlightening."
- Therese Mullins

"This experience will help me both in my work as a copywriter, and my own personal writing. Patti was wonderful, she is a natural presenter and had such great tips and ideas every day. Her feedback on our writing was also honest but kind and really helpful.

"I loved it – there was enough time for the course, plenty of time for relaxing in the afternoon and then to meet up for dinner with the group. By the end of the week I was both relaxed and inspired! The accommodation was lovely and in a perfect spot – close enough to town to walk, but far enough away from the busy street and tourists/shops. This was a nice balance between learning something new, meeting new people, having a holiday, going somewhere new and relaxing! Perfect."
- Sarah Morton

"While the Bali location provided an endless amount of inspiration for 'Writing the Senses', the most valuable part of the experience for me was sitting in the classroom each day and learning from each of the unique, talented participants. Our wonderful, dedicated and inspirational teacher Patti Miller was so generous. I am saving up to attend the Writing Workshop in Paris."
- Rachel Cuthbert

"Patti's expertise, thoughtfulness in the structure of the program, seamless flexibility, and sensitivity made for a wonderful, informative, experiential time where I learnt so much.

"Nothing was too much trouble for tour manager Kaye. Her organisation and flexibility with constant changing requests, all done with such good grace, was fabulous.  She also brought a sense of fun to the total program. The tour blew my expectations away. A brilliant program."
- Barb Hawes

"Patti is an amazing writer and tutor. She led us through the workshop easily and imparted so much. Kaye went above and beyond in her duties as tour guide and she made the whole experience so much easier.

"The course has given so much in relation to writing the senses and enriched my writing. I found the opportunity of being away and getting space to write very useful. The course was an awakening of the senses and Ubud the perfect setting."
- Georgina Makalani

"I've already forgotten what it cost, but whatever it was, it was worth every cent. Patti did a fantastic job, was totally with the course and committed to participants. It gave me a kick in the right direction and I've moved out of a sense of apathy and discouragement about my writing that has lasted a few years. Extremely valuable, enjoyable, interesting and creative."
- Jennifer Thurstun

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