New for Fall 2020--Reserve Your Space Now

Descanso Creatives Writers' Retreat 2020

Writing in the South of France: Community, Creativity...and Cognac

September 13th - September 20th, 2020


An Invitation,

We often hear the phrase “finding your voice” in writing circles. In this week-long Writers’ Retreat in Saint Sauvant, nestled in the Cognac region of Southern France, and 30 km from the beautiful wines of Bordeaux, we will seek to understand and honor the many different voices that inform and challenge us as writers, whether we’re playwrights, poets, or writing fiction, nonfiction, or blogs. Who do we listen to from our past? Our families? Friends? Our past adventures? Relationships? What voices inhabit us? What voices haunt us?



This part of France has been filled with saints and sinners, soldiers and sailors, as well as painters and poets since the Middle Ages. It served as a major trade route for salt, among other things, that led to its later development as a center for wine and cognac. The area sings with the voices of history, through wartime and peace. And the people here have a long and deep love for all things culinary—particularly in their three main food groups: Cheese, Bread, and Wine.

Join us. Find your “voices.” Be part of the community, creativity, and.....cognac.


  Bienvenue, mes amis.....

Descanso Workshop Leader
     Nathan Brown, Ph.D.
   Author, Poet, Songwriter

Nathan Brown is an author, songwriter, and award-winning poet living in Wimberley, Texas. He holds a Ph.D. in English and Journalism from the University of Oklahoma where he taught for seventeen years. He served as Poet Laureate for the State of Oklahoma in 2013/14, and now travels fulltime performing readings and concerts, teaching workshops and speaking on creativity, poetry, songwriting, and creative writing.


Nathan has published roughly nineteen books. Most recent are An Honest Day’s Confession; Apocalypse Soon: The Mostly Unedited Poems of Ezra E. Lipschitz; and Don’t Try, a collection of co-written poems with Austin Music Hall of Fame songwriter, Jon Dee Graham. Karma Crisis: New and Selected Poems, was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Oklahoma Book Award. His earlier book, Two Tables Over, won the 2009 Oklahoma Book Award.


He’s taught memoir, songwriting, performance, and creativity workshops from Tuscany to the Sisters Folk Festival in Oregon, the Taos Poetry Festival, the Woody Guthrie Festival, Laity Lodge, the Everwood Farmstead Foundation in Wisconsin, as well as for Blue Rock Artist Ranch near Austin, Texas.


Naomi Shihab Nye said about Nathan’s book, My Salvaged Heart: “Brave new world! The sizzle of couplings and uncouplings – attraction and romance, ineffable magnetism, mysterious as ever – but doused with a savory dose of Nathan Brown humor, a tilted long-ranging eye that sees the next bend in the road even when he’s standing right here, firmly planted.” For more, click here.

 Musician in Residence
  Dirje Childs, MS, LPC, CMP
  "The Grateful Cellist"

Dirje Childs, The Grateful Cellist, is a freelance improvisational musician who has enhanced the work of artists in the studio and on the road, and is known for her ability to craft parts in the moment. A self-taught composer, performing and recording original music, she has produced two CDs.


Dirje is also a licensed professional counselor and skilled trainer with 20-plus years of experience with groups and individuals across a variety of clinical settings. She enjoys designing and leading soulful retreats, workshops and seminars with her cello, related to the call to a peaceful and artful life. Recently she has begun collaborating with visual artists, creating music to companion works in galleries.  


Certified as a Music Practitioner, she takes her cello into hospitals and facilities to facilitate healing. For a full bio, and more, click here.

Eileen S. (“Chick”) Morgan, Ph.D.--Descanso Director of Programs

Chick Morgan, Descanso Director of Programs, is there to ensure the smooth running through our day-to-day magic as we journey through the week.  Learn more about Chick here.