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