Registration open NOW for 2023
June 18 – 23
With guest authors:
Lidia Yuknavitch & Natalie Serber
SOLD OUT (wait list only)
Sept 10 – 15
with guest authors:
Kim Dower & Michele Filgate
Sept 17 – 22
with guest authors:
Roxana Robinson & Jeanne McCulloch
In France, being yourself is the only way to be. Individuality is a value here; going along with the crowd is pas intéressant. To bring your boldest, most inspired and unique self to the page, it’s sometimes necessary to renovate your spirit. So, how do we get there? How do you go from schedules, screens, and the demands of everyday life to feeling creative and free enough to make a difference in your work?
You come to Collioure. Matisse loved it for a reason. In the summer, the weather and the light are perfection; the Vermillion coast is enchanting; and the colorful architecture, cuisine, wine, and locals are enough to make you swoon with delight. Yes, I said that. Swoon. Now: just imagine the effect that could have on your writing.
Why Collioure? It’s magical.
But don’t take my word for it – just ask Mattisse. When talking about the light here, he said: “There isn’t anywhere in France where the sky is bluer than the sky of Collioure. I just have to open the shutters of my room and I have all of the colors of the Mediterranean at my place.”
But there’s more. This village that sits in the very South of France doesn’t invite you to the sensual, it requires it. There’s the view of where the Pyrenees meet the Mediterranean, hundreds of shades of green and sparkling seas. There’s the smell of salt and earth, lavender, citrus and rose. And there’s the history. Collioure was built in 673 as an important outpost for Visigoths. Treat your senses to the Château Royal de Collioure, the 17th-century Notre-Dame-des-Anges Church, a moulin, a windmill, cobblestone streets and Fort St. Elme, high upon a hill. It’s almost as if Collioure was designed by a brilliant architect whose sole mission was to get humans to fall in love with the natural world, again. And let me tell you – it works.
It’s France. Get ready for incredible food.
The food. The food! The food. It’s so good, I need to exclaim more than three times but for now, I’ll tempt you with this: paella made with gorgeous shellfish plucked straight from the sea; bomba rice brought from over the Spanish border, and dolloped with rich, garlicky aioli; a pesto lasagne made with delicate layers of homemade pasta, creamy bechamel, and bundles of basil pounded into an aromatic sauce; and a wobbly panna cotta perfumed with leaves from the fig tree next door and topped with a refreshing Charentais melon granita. Are you there yet?
Part of coming to your senses is culinary, thanks to our talented retreat chef, Emily Park. Emily’s an expert on Mediterranean food and the flavors of Catalonia, which means her meals are transcendent and unforgettable.
“Cooking in Collioure is a chef’s dream come true. The access to incredible ingredients is unparalleled—tomatoes and eggplant in every shade of the rainbow, luscious figs and melon, herbs that perfume the air, the freshest fish caught in the sea that stretches out in the distance, and the fabulous local cheese, charcuterie, bread, wine, and more. My greatest pleasure it to take these beautiful ingredients and coax them into delicious meals that allow participants to truly connect with their surroundings (and their senses).” – Emily Park, Chef
Put yourself in Emily’s hands for the week and try new things. If you have severe allergies or dietary restrictions we’ll do our best to accommodate, of course.
Speaking of Writing…
Writing happens in the mind – and on the screen. If you’re not careful – and I say this from experience – you can push yourself to a level of productivity that requires you to spend even more time on the screen and less time in the world. But great writing is born from the senses – and coming to Collioure will awaken all of them. That’s why the retreat isn’t all about writing, it’s about living. Whether you’re a beginner, an emerging, or a published writer, this retreat will help you experience the world in a way that’s loose, free, and wonderful for your stories. Here, you’ll:
- Reconnect with your writing self to deepen your work
- Put words on the page every morning
- Surrender to the sun and the sea – and see what it does for your stories
- Experience in-depth craft workshops with special guest authors
- Get the gift of a one-hour private consultation with Karen
- Dive into Afternoon Sensory Adventures with Karen – swimming, hiking, marketing, wine-tasting – and emerge inspired, refreshed, and delighted
The sun, the sea, and inspiration for your story, included.
Each retreat is all-inclusive and has ten attendees, so registration is first come, first served. The retreat includes:
- 6 nights’ accommodation in Collioure village, close to shops, cafés, and the sea
- Two meals a day + hearty snacks included
- 5 morning writing workshops
- Afternoon sensory adventures with Karen and guests
- Evening craft talks by visiting writers
- The opportunity to connect with like-minded citizens of Karbohemia
- Optional one on one consultation with Karen
The only item on your To Do List is getting yourself to Perpignan; then you will surrender to a week devoted to getting back in touch with yourself, your body, the natural world, and your writing.
Writers love it here. Read on.
”Karbohemia is not a place one finds on a map - it is an experience and a state of mind. It is nurturing and challenging. It is new acquaintances who become old friends. It is deep vulnerability, and tears, and laughter and joy. It is rich colors, textures and tastes of food, wine and history and culture. Karbohemia is far more than I could ever have imagined.Laurie TaylorWriter, Author of The Accidental Truth
”The food is pine nuts and garlic and pesto and fresh ingredients from the local markets - the boulangerie, the meat shop, the spice shop, the produce carts of local farmers. Everything cooked all day by Emily, the magician chef. An experience not to be missed in this life.2018 Participant
”The writing is “what we shouldn’t ever speak about” and “what we’re afraid of” and “what we have yet to figure out.” This is where Karen Karbo’s masterful teaching and depth of writing experience took us. It was on the body and of the earth and sky and sea – all pink and midnight and mauve in a landscape that’s inspired art and war in equal measure. Breathtaking is too small a word. Long live Karbohemia.Jenny ForesterWriter, Teacher, Editor
”This week has been a life-affirming adventure, and I am grateful!Karen LynchWriter, Former Detective
Invest in Yourself.
All-inclusive Come To Your Senses Retreat
(includes meals, lodging, workshop, one-on-one consultation)
Each retreat is all-inclusive and has ten attendees, so registration is first come, first served.
- Our basic payment structure: 1/2 when you register, 1/2 four months before your retreat begins. Deposits can be placed on a credit card or debit card through PayPal.
- Cancellation policy: Can’t join us after all? I’ll refund your deposit with 90-day notice. With less than a 90-day notice, I’ll refund your full deposit only if we can fill your space. There will be a $25 handling fee for all cancellations.