**The Great River Writers Retreat accepts applications from writers currently residing in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin**

The Great River Writers Retreat winner is selected from an applicant pool of writers from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin across multiple genres, and allows the winner to spend a week working on a specific writing project they have underway.


* * * * * *

The Great River Writer’s Retreat Contest will open for all writers on January 1, 2023 and close on May 31, 2023. The retreat dates for 2023 are July 25-31, 2023 at the Benet House Retreat Center in Rock Island, IL.  

The Great River Writer’s Retreat is generously sponsored by Dr. Nicolas Shammas and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

* * * * * * * * * *

2023 Great River Writers’ Retreat – Submissions Open January 1, 2023!

“The week I spent at the Great River Writers’ Retreat was amazing. I got more accomplished during the retreat than I’d dared to hope, completely revising one manuscript and drafting several poems to include in a new one. Whether I was walking the paths of the 90 acres of land behind the monastery, reading in the library overlooking the lake, or writing at my desk in my room, my solitude and work were encouraged and protected. The nuns were kind and hospitable, and I felt very welcome. I am so grateful to the Midwest Writing Center for the gift of this time to reflect and write.” 

2010 Retreat Winner, Ann Hudson

**Update on the 2023 Great River Writers Retreat**

Currently, our plan is to host the winning writer for a residency at the Benet House Retreat Center in Rock Island, Illinois (including a travel stipend, and an invitation to read to the literary community of the Quad Cities), dates TBA. 

The application must include the following:

1. Cover page
2. Proof of residence in IL, IA, MN, or WI (valid photocopy of driver’s license, current utility bill, etc.). Sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers and Driver’s License numbers, can be redacted.  
3. Short bio, listing publications and any relevant work experience (100 words max)
4. Statement describing the project you intend to work on and what goals to your project are you hoping to achieve while at Great River Writer’s Retreat (500 words max)
5. 10-page sample of your work (poets: 10 pages of poetry, one poem per page; fiction and nonfiction writers: 10 pages of a short story, essay, novel excerpt or other work, accompanied by a brief synopsis if necessary) Work sample should be in 12 pt. font, Times New Roman). The work sample should be taken from writing done within the last 3 years.

**Deadline for submissions is May 31, 202**

You can pay the application fee via PayPal using the button below 


Great River Writers’ Retreat Reading fee


or pay over the phone with a credit card by calling us at 309-732-7330.

If paying by check, please make payable to: Midwest Writing Center

Applications should be sent only via email to the address below
(.doc, .docx, .pdf file types only, please): 


Winner will be notified June 28th. 

Generously sponsored by Dr. Nicolas Shammas in collaboration with the Midwest Writing Center


Past winners of the Great River Writer’s Retreat:

2022 Jo Ivy Young

2021 Jeffrey Wolf (will attend residency in 2022)

2020 – GRWR cancelled due to COVID-19

2019 LeVan D. Hawkins

2018 Chanell Ruth

2017 Misty Urban

2016 Mary Howard

2015 Keith Lesmeister

2014 Kali VanBaale

2013 Mary Davidsaver

2012 Janice Croom and Angela Narciso Torres

2011 Christiana Langenberg and Robert Manaster

2010 Ann Hudson and Paul Brooke

2009 Jennifer Perrine and Emma Rainey


The Great River Writer’s Retreat is generously sponsored by Dr. Nicolas Shammas in collaboration with the Midwest Writing Center