Storywalk: Writer’s Retreats with Richard Wagamese


There is a storyteller in all of us. The trouble is that we forget that. When we struggle with our writing it’s because we forget the tools that we already carry. We forget that we are born with the gift of language. We forget that we alone among creatures have the ability to translate our dreams into words and image. We forget that we are all storytellers.

Storywalk is a unique writing program that comes from the Ojibway oral storytelling tradition. Through the use of ceremony and daily walks on the land you will reconnect to the storyteller within you.

Beginning with the practice of spontaneous oral storytelling you will be guided to remember the free-flow use of language you knew as a child. You will remember how to use language in a child-like, uninhibited way and to create whole stories on the spot from word cues.

This will introduce you to ’The Channel’, the vital storytelling space where creativity is given power.    


Working with The Channel

Each day you will approach The Channel through ceremony and time with the spirit of the land. You will learn how to center yourself on the creative channel we all possess but have forgotten how to use. You will learn how to access this creative channel anytime you choose.

Using Richard’s unique Storywalk technique you will learn how to use the 5 oral storytelling principles to construct strong, vibrant narrative arcs.

You will take these principles and techniques and transfer them to the printed page where you will learn to work with the ideas that ‘writing is not struggle’ and ‘when you start to think - stop.’ These two simple ideas will transform your writing.


Where You Work

For five days you live and work in Richard’s home overlooking beautiful Paul Lake in BC’s rugged Interior. All meals and snacks are included, boating and swimming on Beautiful Paul Lake included.


How You Work

Space is limited to a maximum of four and a minimum of two writers per retreat. Together you share ideas and work alongside Richard through all the exercises. Daily one-on-one time for your specific writing needs and projects each day.


About Richard Wagamese


Richard is one of Canada’s foremost Native authors/journalists and storytellers. In an award-winning 33 year career, he has published 11 titles with major Canadian publishers ranging from memoir to poetry to novels. Awards include the 2012 National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media & Communications, 2011 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature, 2007 Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction, 1991 National Newspaper Award for Column Writing.

Awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Thompson Rivers University, he was the 2011 Harvey Stevenson Southam Lecturer in Professional Writing at the University of Victoria where he taught this program as a credit course in Creative Writing.

He works simultaneously in radio, television, and newspapers and continues to publish.


What the writers say...


Attending Richard’s Writer’s Retreat has been one of the most powerful experiences of my life. The writer’s retreat was a course about writing that I have never experienced in all my years of university writing courses. I used to write set plots and characters but through Richard’s guidance I was able to open a channel which allowed me to unleash truly original ideas.

Brenda Prince

Middle of the Sky Woman

Vancouver BC


The writer's retreat was a paradigm-shifter; it took everything I thought I knew about writing and turned it on its head. Richard transformed my process from a painful extraction of slow words emerging onto a blank page into a pure creative torrent of fully-formed storytelling. I arrived at the retreat as a chrysalis of tightly wound creative energy, and departed as a butterfly in full poetic flight.


April E. Snowe

Kamloops BC


The Writer’s Retreat was easily the most innovative workshop I have ever been to.  There were many instances that felt very surreal, where I would take a step back in my mind and think to myself, “wow – am I really here, doing this?!”  The activities were designed to get us writing “without thinking” and I was surprised at the creativity and stories that were within me.


Anne Tenning

Victoria BC


What you will learn


how to create spontaneous oral stories


how to generate ideas rapidly and weave them seamlessly into oral storytelling


how to enter the storytelling ’channel’ and work from there


take oral storytelling principles and techniques to the printed page


write effortlessly and spontaneously for extended periods of time


banish the idea of writers block forever





5-days all inclusive, accommodations, three meals a day, snacks. $1500.00 Cdn. $500. non-refundable deposit.


Ask about special weekender retreats ongoing throughout the year.