September 22-25, 2024


The Great Lakes of Okoboji, Iowa


70 Workshops & 25 Panels


50+ Professional Speakers

Why every writer should attend

The Okoboji Writers’ Retreat (OWR) began in 2021 when 115 folks met in a one-room lodge. By 2023, the event was moved to a 147-acre lakeside campus, where panels and small-group workshops were held in multiple stone classrooms, a big tent, a large dining hall, and modern classrooms with audio/visual equipment. Enrollment was capped at 275; several were on a waitlist and turned away to maintain the ideal, low faculty-to-participant ratio.

Why is this such a success? It’s been described by many attendees as magical. Being in a wooded area by the lake and surrounded by a community of others who have chosen a solitary form of creativity appears to be just the right mix of experiences. Attendees and speakers are there to learn from one another.

Speakers understand their job is to serve attendees wherever they are in the writing process and that there is a story in everyone. We are intentional in the variety of offerings and diversity of attendees.

One participant dubbed OWR a ‘wordfest.’ OWR IV will add a ‘songfest,’ where Grammy-nominated singer/ songwriters will teach another form of storytelling: the song.

Of the dozens of workshops offered, you will find what you need. This retreat is designed for you.

Julie Gammack, event producer

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Testimonials / a few reasons why you should attend, too

Speakers / meet 4 of more than 50 workshop presenters, then click to see all of them

Abena Sankofa Imhotep

Children's Book Author

Nicole Baart


Caleb Rainey

Spoken Word Poet

Rekha Basu


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Cost / here's why you should register now!

Save Your Seat


Saves your seat at the Retreat until you pay the balance
Balance ($595) due by 1/15/24
Balance ($695) due after 1/15/24
Balance ($795) due after 7/15/24

Late Enrollment


You’ll pay this price after 1/15/24
You’ll pay $100 more than Early Bird rate
Price will increase to $895 after 7/15/24
Don’t wait until 2024!

We host the Okoboji Writers’ Retreat to help writers bring their stories to life  while offering our speakers an enriching experience, and doing our best to make sure  everyone has a memorable time. While we need to cover our expenses, we aren’t doing this to make a profit. That’s why we make sure there’s enough to spare from the enrollment fees paid to offer a limited number of scholarships. If you feel it is imperative that you attend, but are experiencing financial hardship, we invite you to apply.


FAQs / answers to our frequently asked questions

There will be an informal hot dog roast on the campus of Lakeside Labs, on Sunday, September 22, the night before the retreat officially begins. This is put on by volunteers who attended the retreat last year. Bring something to share. Hot dogs are provided. The retreat starts Monday, September 23, 2024.
Iowa Lakeside Laboratory on West Lake, Okoboji, Iowa.
Not at all. About half of the participants are just like you. The other half are experienced writers, and many have been published. This retreat is designed for all skill levels.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Omaha, Nebraska. Des Moines, Iowa.
Early Bird discount is available now through December 31, 2023. Registration after January 15, 2024, is $795.
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Get on the List / not ready to commit?

If you still aren’t ready to enroll in the 2024 Okoboji Writers’ Retreat, we don’t want you to miss out! Sign-up to be notified of deadlines, new speakers, and news.

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