contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

Durham, NC 27701

Writing Workshops & Retreats - France, Italy, North Carolina

What People Say About Writeaways



Writeaway in France

If this isn’t every writer’s dream, it should be! Just this week away from the world, dedicated to honing the craft with a congenial little gang of fellow writers would be enough. But chasing the muse through the gardens and vineyards of an honest-to-god chateau? A French chef who nightly exhausts our superlatives? Incroyable! John & Mimi are tireless in their full-time attention to our needs, literary and otherwise. They nudge and encourage and challenge and inspire—and frankly, spoil us rotten! Mille mercis!
— Florence, Durham, North Carolina
I came to this Writeaway as a respite from a life of noise and demands—which I love, but from which I needed a break. The chateau and its history, and especially the manner in which it wears its time, provide the grand setting to listen to the writer I have always known to be within me. As I wrote on, I could not hide behind my daily routine and responsibilities to “excuse” myself from the need to face my fears. and—write. Everything about the week conspired to clear the air for the writing process, from our hosts’ attention to detail to the immaculate dinners. This experience, being the first of my endeavors as a writer, will remain a milestone in the development of my voice.
— Cris, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
I needed to find a place where I could focus on my writing without distractions. I walked past a table at AWP and got seduced. All this wonderful food, all the wine I could drink. It was wonderful. I thought, yes, that’s exactly what I need to reconnect with my project. Mimi and John were fabulous with their feedback. Coming from an MFA background and environment, the way they run their workshops was so supportive and encouraging. It really got me excited about getting my project where I want it to be. And the food – c’est magnifique! This was definitely the experience I had hoped for.
— Jean, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Being a scientist, I really had no writing training. I always wanted to learn how to be a creative writer. I went back to an idea I had 20 years ago about writing a children’s book that also taught science. I thought I might end up with one page, but I ended up with 14 pages. I surprised myself! Now I feel like I can continue my story. I feel like I know what the process, which I didn’t know before. I loved being in a castle. It was a personal retreat from the real world in a fairytale land of living in a castle and being a writer.
— Shelley, Raleigh, North Carolina
My experience here at the chateau has been on so many levels. First, the cherished opportunity to work and write with a group and instructors who have like interests. Second, the place…the incredible place—the chateau, the surrounding countryside and the French people (who, by the way, are very friendly)! And third, it has been a journey of discovery for me. I have learned so much about myself as a writer—learning how to take a beautiful spot like this French chateau and create characters that I would have never written about before—also, working on a part of my writing that I felt needs work—being more descriptive of characters and surroundings. And, after a week, I can see a good deal of improvement. Lastly, I cannot fail to mention the food. Ah, the food! Our chef, Anne, is a culinary marvel. Every night, delicious four-course meals. C’est magnifique!
— David, Kerrville, Texas
I’m shocked and surprised at how confident I suddenly feel as a writer.
— Heather, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
A few of my favorite things about Writeaways: No matter the composition of the group of writers, they are always supportive, eager to help even a novice writer, and bring out the best in each other’s writing. The chateau grounds are beautiful, the chateau old and quirky, but charming. It is possible to feel at peace, isolated from the cares of daily life. Did I mention that the chef is extraordinary?
— Ginny, Raleigh, North Carolina
What do you get when you add a lovely 15th century French chateau, the Loire Valley, fabulous wine, even more fabulous food lovingly prepared, to personalized, friendly writing instruction and guidance by two published authors? A Writeaway.
— Joyce, Dallas, Texas
Where can I begin to thank you for this wonderful week? Thank you for encouraging me to take on this project. It is probably one of the most important things I will do in my life. Wow! That makes it pretty powerful. And you facilitated that! I admire your ability to cut to what’s most important and so quickly. You barely know me yet you figured out what I needed to hear. Sounds grandiose, but I do believe this week has been life-changing for me. What more can I say? You are so full of enthusiasm for life and of course for writing.
— Linda, Gillette, Wyoming
The chateau itself, the grounds, the food – all wonderful. And to top off all that, you two are such good teachers, knowledgeable, smart, funny, incisive, and patient. Oh – hardworking, dedicated, talented. Thank you.
— Candace, Victoria, British Columbia
Your humor and leadership were much appreciated. I know the work that went into planning this event – and we all felt such growth, thanks to your careful attention to detail.
— Kim, Gillette, Wyoming
A wonderful week that really challenged me as a writer. I love the individual instruction that is always available to us. You two are the perfect hosts, always checking that we have what we need. And, of course, the food was excellent. Thank you for a great experience.
— Mary, Wellesley, Massachusetts

Writeaway in Italy

Thanks to Writeaways. I wrote almost 5,000 words this week, including my first short story draft in six years. I wanted to come here and work with people who were serious about writing and legitimate in their writing, and honest and constructive and respectful about criticism and unflinching as well. I got all of that and more. What John and Mimi have done in the past week is taken a small group and in a short time made a community. I’ll definitely be back.
— Gayle, Singapore
Having been out of school for over two decades, my true learning neurons (more than two, I hope) needed some warming up. You gave me the confidence and right amount of push to dive in.

I intended to come to Palaia and soak in the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures of the Tuscan countryside. With your help, I found all that and the world I created with my own writing – a world previously locked behind synaptic walls.

You taught me how to ask the right questions to get the right details to engage my reader. Your voices now naturally fill my head. Every word is much more intentional – my words do more than fill space on a page.

Grazie for your expertise, your keen listening, your thoughtful feedback, your ability to guide my words to a place they can flourish. You’ve awakened a writer in me.
— Alli, Richmond, Virginia



Writeaway by the River





“Time to get away…find a way… and ”Writeaway by the River.” Thank you, Mimi and John, for an enriching opportunity to join with other writers in a serene setting with nourishment, inspiration and honest guidance. The retreat pulled me in from a place of uncertainty and has set me on a path toward discovery.
— Lisa, Wilmington, North Carolina
Thank you for an amazing time at Writeaways by the River. I am looking forward to using all of the advice and suggestions you gave to move forward with my book. You are wonderful hosts. The food, wine, and fellowship were outstanding. My husband and I had a great time working with the other members of our group, whose input was also very beneficial to the experience.
— Edwina, Lakewood, New Jersey
Mimi and John make you feel right at home. They are excellent teachers. You come to the Writeaways not knowing how to move forward with your writing, but you leave with the tools you will need to improve.
— Carl, Lakewood, New Jersey
It’s been eye opening, transformative. I feel like I’ve grown up in a weekend. I love the interaction, sharing with each other, then giving each other feedback. At first I was intimidated by that, afraid to share my work. I didn’t want to feel vulnerable. But it was such a comfortable caring environment. I definitely want to come back. It was a freeing experience. I have a newfound joy for writing instead of pressure to get something done.
— Rachel, Raleigh, North Carolina
This is my second one. I was more than ready to come back. John and Mimi are very direct in their approach. Very specific questions are asked about plot or character. It forced me to think about my work on a deeper level and approach it in a more serious less lazy way. It’s not confrontational. It’s direct into the work, a deep dive into the work. The Whitehall is grand and at the same time intimate, personal. It’s a home, and once you settle in you feel at home. Come expecting to work, see it as an immersion in the work, but when you come up for air you’re going to be pampered.
— Doug, Covington, Kentucky
Writeaways by the River helped me get out of my own creative way, by showing me that I am a writer and not merely a woman who has a private drawer of papers written to make sense of her world. Mimi and John (and the talented writers who also attended) gave me the encouragement, critical input and tools that will allow me to build my skills and my confidence. From the best gluten-free cookies I ever tasted, to the magical warmth of Whitehall, to Mimi’s patience with my uncertainty and naiveté as a writer, I recommend Writeaways by the River without hesitation.
— Lisa, Bridgewater, Virginia
The River Writeaway Workshop went beyond my expectations. As a beginner writer, I appreciated the intimate atmosphere, the positive learning workshop sessions and the camaraderie among other writers. The delicious meals, the beautiful surroundings and the comfortable home were a bonus. I am delighted to come away with new friends, validated as a writer and inspired to continue writing. I will definitely be back!

John and Mimi work well together, encouraging and teaching in tandem. The readings, the workshop sessions and the personal attention to each writer’s style make this workshop stand out. I further developed my own writing voice, as well as learned new writing techniques all in one weekend. I look forward to participating in another Writeaway soon.
— Melora, Dallas, Texas



Writeaway on the Outer Banks

Mimi and John not only helped me find my inner voice, but placed a megaphone in its hand.
— Matt, Raleigh, North Carolina
The Writeaways workshop was rewarding on so many levels: the writing exercises, the balance of structure and free time, feedback/direction, attention both individually and as a group was invaluable. I’m leaving feeling encouraged, inspired & enlightened. Thank you John & Mimi for an incredibly enriching experience!
— Terri, Raleigh, North Carolina
I’m inspired to work and excited about new possibilities of where I can take my novel.
— Laura, Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina
Beaufort House Exterior.jpg



Writeaway in Beaufort

I didn’t know until I got busy how essential to the process being removed from my regular life would be. John and Mimi took care of all the necessities, creating a space for us to write and indulging us along the way. The food was amazing!

Mimi and John are so skilled at perceiving and articulating what’s going on in people’s writing and how to take it to the next level. They don’t deny the hard work that goes into writing, but they somehow manage to keep me moving forward with encouragement, insight, laughter, and compassion. Their complementary approaches, along with their seemingly endless bag of fun, effective, and creative writing exercises, made the week worth every bit of the time, money, and energy invested.

The whole week was extremely well planned, and yet there was plenty of flexibility. John and Mimi maintained the overall arc and purpose of the experience while being exquisitely responsive to our individual needs.
— Charity, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Invaluable experience! John and Mimi are smart, intuitive, and capable, and give specific and supportive advice about writing. By Friday I realized what a transforming week it had been.

Kudos to John and Mimi for being able to balance writing, critiquing, discussion, and cooking, so that in one short week, you can become a writer. I’d do it again without reservation.
— Jean, Chapel Hill, North Carolina



Winter Beach Writeaway

I escaped the inland winter, felt free and safe, got pampered, was deliciously fed, solved three problem stories, kick-started my muse, hung out with smart people, formed new friendships, was soothed by the susurrating surf, drank fine wines and the best beers, basked in the good will of good people. Mimi Herman and John Yewell’s Winter Beach Writeaway at Topsail Island was amazing and I will do it again!
— Ron, Durham, North Carolina
Writeaways gave me exactly what I needed to tidy up my play for submission — workshops, private conferences, a talented, serious writers’ group, time to write away from my everyday life, and fabulous food, drink, and location. John and Mimi are great hosts, critics, and writing partners. Thanks! I will be back.
— Kate, Columbus, Ohio
Mimi Herman and John Yewell offer a perfect combination of structured group activity and solitary free time. I came away from the Winter Beach Writeaway with a new character and a solid feel for the structure of my novel. Three healthy meals per day, no housekeeping duties, a lovely place to stay in an atmosphere of creativity, who could ask for more?
— A. J., Hillsborough, North Carolina


ga('require', 'linkid', 'linkid.js'); var pluginUrl = '//'; _gaq.push(['_require', 'inpage_linkid', pluginUrl]);