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In 2017, the Iowa Summer Writing Festival is thrilled to announce our collaboration with Authors at Large, an organization offering international writing workshops and retreats, founded and run by writers and educators Robin Hemley and Xu Xi. Both have close ties to the University of Iowa. Robin Hemley is an instructor with the Festival and the former director of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program. He currently directs the Writing Program at Yale-NUS College, Singapore. Xu Xi was a Distinguished Visiting Writer in the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program and the founding director of the low-residency M.F.A. in Writing at the City University of Hong Kong.

This year, the Festival will collaborate with Authors at Large on two international retreats in Iceland and Thailand. Acceptance to these retreats is by application only through Authors at Large.

The Iceland retreat, May 27 to June 1, will be held at the Siglo Hotel in Siglufjörður, Iceland’s northernmost town and a historic fishing village. It is located at the heart of a narrow fjord beneath towering mountains, 24 nautical miles from the Arctic. This retreat offers three separate workshops, with enrollment limited to seven per group:


Nonfiction, led by Brenda Miller

Short Fiction, led by Rúnar Vignisson

Novel, led by Xu Xi


The Thailand retreat, July 16 to 22, will be held at Baan’thai Villas in Hua Hin, a seaside resort on the Gulf of Thailand. In the 1920’s, this once quiet fishing village became the site for the Thai royal family’s summer palace. This retreat offers three separate workshops, with enrollment limited to twelve per group:


Nonfiction, led by Robin Hemley

Fiction, led by Madeleine Thien

Mixed-Genre Prose Writing (for writers at all levels), led by Xu Xi


Applying for International Retreats

Registration for retreats held in conjunction with Authors at Large is distinct from your registration for Festival workshops on campus. For detailed information about the retreats, and to apply, visit