Writer/performer Jan Cornall has been leading her Writer's Journey retreats for published and unpublished writers for 10 years. Among those who have received her help is former ABC journalist and Victorian MP, Mary Delahunty, whose first book Public Life, Private Grief was published by Hardie Grant in 2010.
Jan tells, " Mary first joined us on a wilderness retreat in the Tasmanian Tarkine. She had just a few chapters written of her memoir which she hadn't shown to anyone and asked me to tell her if it was worth continuing. Of course it was. She joined our Desert Writers retreat on the Larapinta Trail near Alice Springs in the same year and I continued to work with her as a writng mentor.Her book was published in record time!"
While Jan no longer runs the wilderness retreats, she has replaced the Australian desert with a twelve day Moroccan adventure. Beginning in the ancient artisan city of Fes, the group heads across the Low Atlas Mountains to a desert guesthouse called Cafe Tissardmine, nestled next to the famous Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Trekking out by camel into the Saharan desert and taking in the culture of the Berber people is a great stimulus for writing. Each day Jan links writing essentials to the cosmology of the eight-pointed Moroccan star, providing the tools for each writer to progress their current writing project. It was here in 2013, that Biff Ward ( daughter of noted Australian Historian Russel Ward) put the finishing touches to her recently published memoir, In My Mothers Hands (Allen & Unwin) and began work on her next book. The Moroccan Caravan has its grand finale in Marrakech, feasting on the sights and sounds of its fascinating souks and bazaars.
For anyone who loves to travel, write and be productive, Jan's adventures are a perfect fit. You don't have to feel guilty about indulging your travel fantasies if you come back with something to show for it. With a number of local connections built up over the years, Writer's Journey can also provide entry into places ordinary tourists can't always access, like an all night Berber trance dance ritual, or an invitation to a family wedding. Where possible invitations also go out to local writers to join the workshops on a sponsored basis, which always brings a richness of cultural exchange through shared story telling.
To date, Jan has run retreats and workshops in Bali in conjunction with the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, in Java and Cambodia, in Burma to coincide with the Irrawaddy Literary Festival, in Fiji at Savusavu Bay, in the charming heritage listed town of Luang Prabang, Laos, and in Vietnam, following the scent of the French author Marguerite Duras who lived there as a child. Plans afoot for 2015 include murmurings of New York, Turkey, Mexico; anything is possible!
While its hard to imagine how anyone on a supposed exotic holiday can clock up the word count Jan's writers do, one thing is certain: she does get results. Over the years a number of other writers working with Jan have gone on to publish with major publishing companies.They include: Marguerite Van Geldermalsen, Married To A Bedouin (Virago), Margaret Wilcox, Gone (Penguin), Catherine Therese, The Weight Of Silence (Hachette Livre), Margaret Stevenson Meere, The Child in The Lotus (Rockpool), Walter Mason, Destination Saigon (Allen & Unwin), Yvonne Louis, A Brush with Mondrian (Murdoch), Niromi de Soyza, Tamil Tigress (Allen& Unwin), Jennifer Smart, The Wardrobe Girl (Random House). Established writers like Margo Lanagan also receive support from Jan’s workshops. Her more recent fantasy novels, Tender Morsels and Sea Hearts, are published by Allen & Unwin in Australia, Knopf - USA, David Fickling Books, UK. Murder mystery writer A.D. Scott (Simon &Schuster, USA) has received Jan’s support for Beneath The Abbey Wall and North Sea Requiem.
In her role as writing teacher, Jan has combined over thirty years experience a published author, playwright and screen writer, with twenty years as a meditator, to create a method called meditative writing. Tapping into sense memory through guided visualisation, she is able to take writers deep into their creative source. The results are startling. Jan also has a Masters degree in Cultural and Creative Practice from the University of Western Sydney and has taught regularly at universities and writer's centres in Australia over the past decade.
Fresh back from an Indochine group adventure in Vietnam, Jan is busy preparing for her next trip. There are still some places left on her twelve day Moroccan Caravan adventure coming up in November, 6-19. Open to published and unpublished writers of all genres as well as artists of any modalitiy wishing to work with words or narrative. Bookings can be made at: www.writersjourney.com.au +61415921303 [email protected]
Writers Journey founder and director, Jan Cornall is a writer, singer, performance poet and teacher based in Sydney, who leads international creative writing workshops and retreats in Australia and the Asia Pacific. Jan is also a sought after writing mentor. She has written fifteen produced plays, musicals, a feature film, a novel and three CDs of songs. Jan has taught creative writing since 1998 at writer’s centres, community colleges, universities (UTS, UWS) and writer’s festivals in Australia and Indonesia. Using a technique she has developed called Meditative Writing, Jan takes writers deep into their creative source. Dedicated to nurturing the unique attributes of each writer, her workshops produce startling results.
Every year a number of Jan’s first time writers go on to publish with major publishing houses. They include: Marguerite Van Geldermalsen, Married To A Bedouin (Virago); Margaret Wilcox, Gone (Penguin); Margaret Stephenson -Meere, The Child Within The Lotus ( Rockpool) Catherine Therese, The Weight Of Silence (Hachette Livre); Walter Mason, Destination Saigon (Allen & Unwin); Yvonne Louis, Brush with Mondrian (Murdoch) and Public Life Private Grief, Mary Delahunty (Hardie Grant), Jennifer Smart, The Wardrobe Girl (Random House); Biff Ward In My Mother’s Hands (Allen & Unwin).Established writers like Margo Lanagan and AD Scott also receive support from Jan’s workshops. Margo’s most recent fantasy novels, Tender Morsels and Sea Hearts, are published by Allen & Unwin in Australia, Knopf – USA, David Fickling Books, UK. AD Scott’s murder mysteries: A Small Death in the Great Glen and Tales From The Highland Gazette are published by Simon and Schuster in the USA.
Jan’s mentoring, workshops and international writing retreats offer essential tools, methods and ongoing support for beginners and experienced, published and unpublished writers of all genres. Painters, photographers, poets, performance artists, song writers, zinesters and artists in all modalities also find Jan’s methods helpful in supporting and clarifying their creative process.
Retreats take place in Bali, Fiji, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Vietnam, Morocco.