View 2015 Waves Discussion Series & Retreat Program

* In order to honor and provide space for the vital work of the new AROHO board, and with the exception of the upcoming AROHO Waves anthology, all programs and awards are suspended until further notice. We are grateful for your inspiration, and ask for your understanding, patience, and optimism as we embrace this evolutionary phase. Thank you for listening. Please keep writing, creating and connecting.

The AROHO Retreat is a cumulative, centrifugal force for creative women.

Retreat 09Not simply a retreat, and much more than a writer’s conference, AROHO’s Retreat & Waves Discussion Series is a week-long interdisciplinary experience shaped by our transformative and generous history.  In the words of participants, it is “a tapestry of women who, together, create a world of possibility for each other,” a “fearless convergence” of “supportive, wildly interesting women” sharing “a deep creative and personal journey into the writing life.”

The 100 women accepted to the biennial Retreat are competitively and thoughtfully chosen based on the diversity and excellence of their work, life experience, and demonstrated engagement with the Retreat’s themes.  In concert with our unique style of programming, this careful assembly ensures attendees access to:

  • mentorship and collaboration across all levels of accomplishment and between genres
  • acceleration of craft mastery
  • real opportunities to establish fruitful relationships with industry and literary experts
  • meaningful, personal engagement between artists facing the struggles of artistic innovation and marketplace reception first articulated by Virginia Woolf and still relevant today

Transcending the week’s space and time, each Retreat is the impetus for books, works of art, collaborations, fellowships, and friendships that inspire and sustain the creative pursuits of the women who attend long after the Retreat week ends.

The Waves Discussion Series is a cornerstone of the Retreat program that:

  • heightens the dialogue on Virginia Woolf’s work and literary legacy
  • lauds living women writers who’ve made lasting contributions to literature by naming AROHO Fellows of Distinction who anchor the Discussion Series through thought-provoking contributions
  • offers each participant the opportunity to contribute in imaginative, meaningful ways
  • results in the publication of a book and video to capture and share the contributions of women in attendance

Participating Writers

Each Retreat is alchemically defined by the group of women who assemble.  These women are the richest part of the program, creating unexpected magic when they gather to read, write, and discover together.  Every woman who attends an AROHO Retreat has the opportunity to take part in a meaningful way, responding to overarching themes in the Discussion Series, engaging in Master Class or Studio settings, or contributing their consultant expertise.

2013 Retreat Mic standApproximately one hundred women writers are granted coveted spots at the retreat by invitation and through an application process designed to gather a rich, diverse group of accomplished women. Participants in past retreats have included Pulitzer Prize winning journalists, lawyers, women active in the nonprofit sector, public school teachers and university professors, research scientists, stay-at-home moms, small business owners, military personnel, and others.  Click on each year to see all participants of past and upcoming Retreats.


2015 Participating Writers


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2015 Retreat & Waves Discussion Series: Writing Against the Current

August 10-16, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico



“I’m fundamentally, I think, an outsider. I do my best work and feel most braced with my back to the wall. It’s an odd feeling, though, writing against the current: difficult entirely to disregard the current. Yet of course I shall.” —From Virginia Woolf’s Diary, November 22, 1938


View 2015 Waves Discussion Series & Retreat Program

AROHO Retreat Program Design

AROHO’s Retreat program is grounded in our founding principle:  seismic personal, professional, and creative discovery made possible by community.  The program strives to make room for diverse experiences, voices, and modes of expression.  Each retreat offering—discussion series, studio hours, round tables, consults, readings, and intimate master classes—will be as unique as the women leading and responding.

2015-Retreat-Program-SnapshotDAn AROHO Retreat offers a well-rounded slate of options, a menu of excess created jointly by AROHO and the women who attend. Submissions of program contributions are accepted during the Proposal, Fellowship, & Artist in Residence application window. Once the program is assembled, the General Application and Registration window will open.

The Waves Discussion Series

Taking center stage each afternoon in a provocative dialogue with the entire assembly, The Waves Discussion Series weaves interaction and response into thoughtful, expert considerations of the series’ theme, with a variety of opportunities to freely express ideas in a genre or medium that best suits each individual woman. At the retreat, The Waves Discussion Series will include contributions that have been submitted and accepted before the retreat as well as responses created at the retreat, promoting an evolving discussion of collective exploration in a vital call and response, inviting participants to let go of preconceived notions of public sharing.  Exceptional contributions to the Series will be made available in video form and/or selected for publication in a book to be produced by Red Hen Press.

Master Classes


All retreat participants are encouraged, but not obligated, to commit to attending one Master Class, which brings the same group of nine women together each day.  Led by seasoned writers and industry gurus, these small group sessions provide an opportunity to gain a richer understanding of genre, craft, or project, while deepening connections among participants.  Additionally, Master Class participants will have the opportunity to sign up for a twenty-minute consult with their Master Class leader.  Individual consults will be incorporated into the final forty minutes of Master Class time each day.

Studio Hours

2011-AROHO-Retreat_0736Optional Art, Literary Craft, Writing Life/Career, Nature, and Performance Studios take place each morning, providing focused and cumulative opportunities for interdisciplinary exploration within a smaller group setting.  Each studio’s goal will be to produce something by the end of the hour:  a piece of artwork, writing, revision, reading performance, etc.

“Writing Profession” Group Consults

For an additional fee, writers may elect to take part in group consults led by agents, publishers, editors, and seasoned writers with expertise in public relations and social media for authors.  Half-hour sessions will take place in groups of six, benefitting from combined one-on-one and group dynamics.

Consults & Free Time

2011-AROHO-Retreat_evening readingThe two hours after lunch are reserved for specialized individual consults, group consults, napping, writing, or any other indulgent necessities.

Readings & Receptions

Participant readings take place in the evening, with a reception break for wine and snacks.  All participants have an opportunity to read.


Application & Admissions

Retreat 082015 Retreat Application Windows: CLOSED

Participants invited to attend AROHO’s Retreats are competitively and thoughtfully chosen based on the diversity and excellence of their work, experience, writing sample, and essay on the retreat’s themes.

Two kinds of applications:

Women who wish to attend the Retreat as Program Contributors, Fellows, and/or Artists in Residence (AIR), should submit a Proposal Application. Accepted Proposal Applicants may be invited to take part in the Waves Discussion Series, serve as Consultants and Studio Leaders, or receive the distinction of Fellow or Artist in Residence.

  • Accepted Proposal Applicants will receive priority registration (fee reduction, if applicable, and early sign-up) for retreat programming.
  • Program contributors, Fellows, and AIRs will be listed in the AROHO program and will have unique leadership opportunities within the group.  Consultants may earn income from their consults, less a 15% admin fee.
  • Fellows will receive full coverage of registration and room and board in the casitas.
  • AIR applications are specially juried. Artists in Residence take part in advance collaboration with the AIR team, and play a key role in producing material for the Waves Discussion Series video and book. Up to two Visual AIRs and three Video AIRs will be awarded.
  • Artists in Residence receive waived Registration and furnished room and board.  Because of post-retreat work hours, a small stipend is furnished to Video AIRs upon delivery of their individual and assigned projects. All Artists in Residence will supply necessary equipment/materials and transportation of that equipment/material to the ranch.
  • Proposal applicants may indicate their desire to be considered as a general applicant if their proposals are not selected, or if a fellowship or artist in residence is not awarded.

Women who wish to attend the Retreat without applying for a fellowship, artist in residence position, or program leadership should submit a General Application. Though described as “attendance only,” general applicants will have equal opportunity to engage with and contribute to the program in a variety of ways, in both large and small group settings.


What We’re Looking for:

General Applications:  

Acceptance to the AROHO Retreat is competitive.  Make your voice and experience shine through your writing samples and proposals (if applicable), not just through your list of publications.  Let us hear why you want to be a part of this AROHO Retreat community.

Waves Discussion Series Proposals:

All proposals submitted to the Discussion Series should directly or obliquely address the Writing Against the Current Discussion Series theme or the springboard texts:  Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, and Maxine Hong Kingston’s Woman Warrior.  These five-minute or less “responses” to the week’s theme may take an infinite variety of forms:  a lesson on craft, reverse q&a with the other women at the retreat, a poem, an academic study, an argument with Virginia Woolf, a song, a dramatic presentation, a writing prompt or exercise, a personal story, a guided meditation, a tribute, visual art, movement.

Proposals invited and accepted in advance of the retreat will round out a diverse program, both in topic and voice.  We encourage proposals that will be of practical use to the working writers present and hope that many of the proposals will surprise us, engaging the theme and the needs of women writers in ways that the selection committee has not yet imagined.

Studio Hour Proposals:

Proposals  for single, one-hour studio sessions should specify one of the tracks provided on the application:  Literary Craft Studios will focus on developing particular cross-genre writing skills using a variety of methods; Writing Life/Career Studios will present current wisdom and practical advice for women who are actively selling and promoting their work; Art Studios will in some way involve artistic creation and the non-exclusive use of mediums other than language; Nature Studios may involve an outdoor activity, or focus on writing that is itself concerned with the natural world, or both; Performance Studios will center around the spoken word, the sound of words, the experience of and/or nature of performer vs. audience. Each studio’s goal will be to produce something by the end of the hour:  a piece of artwork, writing, revision, group project, performance, etc. Passion and inventiveness for these hour-long offerings are encouraged.  These sessions may or may not be centered around the retreat’s themes.

Consultant Proposals:  

Consulting spaces require impeccable credentials and consulting experience reflected by a unique and refined perspective on the proposed topic.  Applicants proposing one-on-one consultations will choose 4 one-hour or 8 half-hour sessions and will name their fees. Consultation service proposals may include but are not limited to manuscript review, publishing advice, creativity counseling, suggestions to improve a writer’s online presence, or advice about finding funding. Every woman applying as a Consultant should also submit a proposal for a Waves Discussion Series contribution, and/or to be a Studio Hour Leader. It is unlikely that a Consultant position will be awarded without another program proposal.

Fellowship Applications:

Fellowships are an honor bestowed on gifted, committed writers whose financial circumstances would otherwise prohibit their attendance. Every woman applying for a fellowship should also submit a proposal for a Waves Discussion Series contribution, Consultant, and/or Studio Hour Leader. It is unlikely that a fellowship will be awarded without a program proposal.  See the Fellowship & Artist in Residence tab for more details about available fellowship opportunities.

Artist in Residence Proposals:

Video and visual artists are selected based on project proposals that take place largely during the week using the retreat gathering as its inspiration. These projects should effectively integrate, explore, and engage the community of women gathered. We are looking for a variety of visual/video approaches to our theme:  macro (birds-eye) and micro-documentary; and interpretive, abstract perspectives. AIR applicants should also submit either one Studio Hour offering or daily “consults” for the hour after lunch that will engage retreat participants in their creative project.  See the Fellowship & Artist in Residence tab for more details about Artist in Residence opportunities.

See our Call for Contributions or FAQ for more details.


Fellowships & Artists in Residence

Fellowships enable the participation of gifted, committed writers whose financial circumstances would otherwise prohibit their attendance.  Approximately 20% of retreat participants attend through fellowships, many of which are conceived of and sponsored by women who’ve attended previous retreats.  Available Fellowships are starred below and listed on the Proposal, Artist in Residence, and Fellowship application here.  

*9 3/4 Fellowship: For a writing mother of young children

*Agua Viva Fellowship: For a gifted and bold woman writer in recovery from alcohol and/or chemical dependency

*American Dream Fellowship: for a New American Woman Writer

2013 Retreat candles*Blackbird Fellowship: For a woman who’s ready to soar

*Beyond the Pink Ribbon: Breast Cancer Survivor Fellowship

*Courage Fellowship (waived registration only): For survivors of domestic violence &/or sexual assault

Creative Woman Fellowship

*Edna Payne Clarke Fellowship: For an African American Woman/Woman of the African Diaspora

Enchanted Land Fellowship: For a woman from anywhere in the US, writing in any genre, of Hispanic/Latina or Native American descent

Kenny Fries Fellowship for a Disabled Woman Writer

LAR Fellowship: For a writer who is an editor or works in independent publishing


LAM Fellowship: for a woman writer from Louisiana, Alabama, or Mississippi

*The Laura Award:  For a transgender woman, or a woman whose writing illuminates transgender issues

*Marg Chandler Memorial Fellowship:  For an applicant who was a past participant in an AROHO Retreat

*New Mexico Women Writers Fellowship: For a writer who has a deep connection to the state

Orlando Fellowship: For a woman writer from the LGBT community, especially one whose work addresses themes and experiences relevant to that community

*Spirited Woman Foundation Fellowship (waived registration only): honoring an everywoman visionary who is changing the world one spirited woman step at a time

*Tillie Olsen Fellowship: For a single mother whose passion for her children requires precious time away from her devotion to writing

*Touching Lives Fellowship: For a public school teacher who nurtures her students in their writing and needs time and space to work on her own

*Wings of Widowhood Fellowship: For a widowed woman writer who is ready to take flight

Wise Woman Fellowship: For a woman writer over 60.


Artists in Residence 

AROHO has created a growing role in the Retreat for artists interested in writing and inspired to use women in community as a medium for their art. A team of Video and Visual artists will be selected based on diverse project proposals directly or obliquely responding to the Retreat theme of “writing [or creating] against the current”.  Each proposed project should effectively integrate, explore, and engage the community of women that gathers. Successful artists in residence will find ways to meld their creative process with the retreat experience itself, completing the bulk of the creative work during the week.

The AIR at AROHO’s Retreat is not a solitary residency:  it is an opportunity for collaboration and connection with other artists and writers which brings a whole new level of inspiration to the Retreat experience. To enjoy the projects of past video and visual artists in residence, visit our Art Showcase.

Retreat_1150x350_Karina drawing


Retreat AIR Lindsay


Cost & Registration

roadProgram Costs

Master Classes, Master Class Consults, Studio Hours, Discussion Series, and evening readings are included in the cost of registration.  Additional consults or round tables, all travel, and room and board at Ghost Ranch require fees beyond the cost of registration.

  • Priority Registration (Program Contributors), $685
  • Registration, $715
  • Fellows and Artists in Residence receive waived registration and housing in the casitas


  • Additional Consults (beyond Master Class Consults which take place during Master Class hours) range from $50-$75 per half hour
  • Writing Profession Round Tables cost $50 per half hour session
  • Free Day activities on or off the ranch range from $35 for a Georgia O’Keeffe Studio Tour (reserved through AROHO) to $130 for a massage at Ojo Caliente
  • Merchandise and BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS!!!  A little spending money goes a long way…


  • AROHO’s shuttle from the ABQ Sunport to Ghost Ranch is a convenient option at a cost of $45 (round trip purchase only—advance reservation through AROHO)
  • Optional car rental
  • Airfare costs vary

Ghost Ranch Housing

Rustic, humble housing in stunning desert surroundings is furnished by Ghost Ranch. Housing fees are determined by Ghost Ranch and include all meals during the retreat. AROHO’s group rooms are double-occupancy; private rooms mean fewer women can attend. Housing sign up begins upon acceptance and registration to AROHO’s Retreat.


Mesa Housing

Mesa Level Housing with Private Bathroom/$834

Lower Level w/Semi-Private Bath

Lower Level Housing with Semi-Private Bath/$534

Lower Level w/Communal Bath

Lower Level Housing with Communal Bath/$450

Casitas w/Bath House

Casita Housing with Bath House/$350