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Writing By The Sea in Bali.jpg

Shelley Kenigsberg

Shelley Kenigsberg.jpg


Anna Kwiecinska

10-17 June, 2023

Come to your senses and write, write, write *

Come to your senses, and write, write, write in a beautiful seaside villa, with Shelley Kenigsberg.

Join us by the sea in stunning East Bali for a truly enriching week in Paradise.

This 8-day/7-night retreat offers a week of sensory inspiration in a simply beautiful, secluded tropical seaside village in stunning East Bali.  Your writing mentor is Shelley Kenigsberg, a prominent freelance editor, book coach, writer, mentor, and trainer who’s worked in publishing for over 30 years. More about Shelley on the Teaching Team page


With our carefully curated program — unfettered time in focused writing sessions — you’ll be guided to evoke the rich world of sensory detail so each piece you write is charged and alive.

You’ll flourish, too, with your week of exploring and tuning into each of your senses — there are more than you think — with a feast of sensual delights.


​Our daily, guided writing sessions will be peppered with delicious experiences, zesty cuisine by our villa chef, heavenly sea swimming and snorkeling at the bottom of the garden, a cultural tour into Bali's most Eastern reaches, daily mindfulness meditation sessions, and above all, the undivided attention of Shelley Kenigsberg, in an all-inclusive week with your choice of 5-steps away direct-access beachside accommodation.

So, if writing a vibrant, compelling story is something you want to do, or do more of, or do with more joy and confidence — join us! Come to Your Senses, and write, write, write.

“Our senses are like a gateway into the world,” says Walt Whitman, “and as we open that gateway, through developing our sensory awareness, the world blossoms into a symphony of colors, scents, tastes, sounds, and touch”.

Add to this that sixth sense that daily mindfulness meditation and occasional yoga classes will tap into, and you have a Creative Living Retreat: expert tuition alongside the creativity-nurturing benefits of yoga in peaceful surroundings. Anna has been curating retreats here at Villa Nilaya in East Bali, and in Sri Lanka, since 2011 and is a past participant in Shelley's Writing in Paradise Retreat.

We are overjoyed to share with you this week of sensory inspiration with a swizzle of beautiful East Bali by the Sea!

What’s the program

Write, write, write

Many of our writing sessions involve generating new text to prompts from Shelley. You have the opportunity to share your piece aloud to the group. It’s not compulsory. Feedback is provided by Shelley and if you’ve not read, Shelley's happy to read privately and provide comments.

In sharing your writing with each other the writer and the group can see what really works in a piece and how they might use a particular technique in their next piece. Each element is designed to heighten writing skills as well as deepen the ways to look at and render, the world around you.


Alongside the daily freewriting exercises and other writing activities are session of instruction on writing craft and also an introduction to self-editing. While the focus for the week is writing, I know how vital the rewrite is. So you’ll be introduced to techniques to see how to make your writing ‘just right’ - let's call it the 'Goldilocks factor': Not too long or too short; not too flat or too lumpy; not clichéd or, heaven forbid, dull.

Writers who are attuned to their senses are able to excite the same interest and inspiration in their readers.


A sense a day

Each day we’ll focus on a different sense with immersion in exercises and activities that bring these to the fore. You’ll be attuned to noticing in a new way; as you begin to write, to render your responses to these new experiences. With that, you'll start building your own lexicon — a rich list of words, associations, vocabulary that is uniquely yours. It's this particular word choice and sentence form that is a great part of what stamps and distinguishes your writing voice from another.


Each day you'll:

  • have the guidance, support you need and unfettered time to harness a raft of new writing skills.

  • be guided to notice, extract detail and describe so you can convey fresh, rich ideas and images.

  • learn to create specific, strong, clear, evocative images.

  • place your words, in the right places, in stories that endure.

You’ll have an entire week of abundant guidance and support from a mentor with decades of experience.

Writing well is a seduction, really, and we’ll guide you to create pieces readers will fall in love with. It's this writing that readers want, that keeps them reading and recalling (often long after they've turned the last page or clicked the last screen!). [1] 

[1] There is a new term in the literary world. It’s ‘biblio-adultery’. This is the affliction of still being in love with the characters and setting of the book you’ve just finished reading, while beginning a new book and being drawn to a whole new world. It really is a thing!


the very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my life

Zadie Smith, author

What's the whole big picture?

With Writing by the Sea in Bali we’re preparing a luxurious week where all you need do is turn up each day after breakfast by 9.30 — you’ll have the time for a swim and a leisurely breakfast at your hotel. 


Having taken the short walk (8-10 minutes), through our pretty village to Villa Nilaya, you’ll spend the first 30 minutes of the day dedicated to mindfulness meditation and some calm and focusing breathwork — pranayama — and then to work ... We say ‘work’ and mean unfettered time in sublime surroundings, with like-minded dedicated writers in a small group,

You’ll be guided by Shelley for any writing, any genre with daily exercises and craft instruction. Each day, you’ll be guided to do whatever it takes to get your writing begun, flowing and end up, compelling.

Then, at the end of each day? Relax with a cocktail, take time out on the deck to watch the sunset, or on alternate evenings, join us for a deeply restorative, full, luxuriant yoga class on our beautiful sea-facing, teak-floored yoga space.

Stretch, breathe and relax deeply: drift off to sleep, perhaps, to the sound of the lapping sea at the end of the garden. On some evenings we gather for a healthy, delicious buffet dinner prepared by our own Villa Nilaya, and you'll have three evenings to spend discovering the seaside dining venues in our village of Mendira near Candidasa. Dining surprises are in store!

Where do you stay?

Choose from three seaside accommodations in our village.

From cute Balinese bungalows to luxe resort suites, all venues have dining facilities if you fancy a night at home. 

Your 7-nights' accommodation with breakfast is included in the retreat price. See the Accommodation

What's included in the program?

Along with 36-hours of workshop time this unique retreat includes:

  • A 40-minute private session, one-on-one, with Shelley.

  • A full day tour into the spectacular East Bali region of Abang. Delight in the mountain-fresh waters of the royal bathing ponds, before a hidden gem lunch treat of gourmet Balinese delicacies (called a 'megibung') as majestic Mt Agung — Bali's famous, most-revered volcano (yes, we have three here!) — commands the horizon, Spend the afternoon here working with Shelley sipping home-made tropical fruit beers.

  • Cooking'n'Cocktails with our executive chef — cook your own 7-dish megibung with tips and recipes to be able to make it at home — plus our Signature Nilaya cocktails and snacks as you stir the sauce! 

  • A stylish night out on the town with fine dining and live jazz.

  • Daily mindfulness meditation.

  • Alternate day yoga sessions including extra-long shavasana (deep rest) and a guided deep rest yoga nidra session (no matter what level your experience with yoga, you will feel comfortable with these classes).

  • A 60-minute deliciously restorative Balinese massage or reflexology treat with our expert masseuses using Sensatia's pure sweet almond oil infused with restorative essential oils where you choose your favourite scent — Meditation or Relaxation — and you'll receive a souvenir bottle to take some home too.

  • A 90-minute heavenly, live sound-bathing experience (some call it 'sound therapy' or 'healing' — we just call it divine) that will have your senses and imagination floating. 

  • Plus your choice of accommodation and breakfast for 8 nights + airport collection + all meals other than 3 dinners

  • surprises along the way!

You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them, and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. that is your role. Your gift.

Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

Creative Living Retreats by Anna Kwiecinska

With a background as an art historian and art gallery owner, my collaboration with artists continues to be a fascinating career which evolved into specialist art retreats designed to combine seriously good art tuition with authentic cultural experiences.

The practice of yoga has underpinned Creative Living Retreats, as a source of focus for creative inspiration  so whether you join us as a novice or a yogi, each day presents a new yoga journey with our intuitive teachers to Live Creatively.

As an avid attendee of creative writing retreats, this collaboration with Shelley Kenigsberg is an especially exciting one!

Over a decade, many retreatants have returned for our thoughtfully curated weeks of supported creativity, and I genuinely look forward to welcoming you to experience the depth of wellbeing for which Creative Living Retreats have become known. More info


Loved the whole thing. Food was amazing and plenty of variety. Staff amazing ... I just thought you did the retreat so well. I felt totally satisfied with the way you made it all happen and made us all feel very special. You really were the glue. Very professional.

Lyn Mowday, Busselton, Australia, 2019

Who will this retreat suit?

It's for:

  • people who write or know they want to write.

  • writers ready to dive into their project — fiction, non-fiction; short or long.

  • writers ready to find their project.

  • people who know they want to write and have inklings of a story.

  • readers who just know they want to write.

  • any level of yoga skill or experience, including novices and for those with restricted movement.

Retreat dates & extra nights

  • STARTS on ARRIVAL DAY (DAY 1) You will be collected from the airport, The drive to our village is about 90-minutes. 

  • The Retreat STARTS after lunch on DAY 1. 

  • ENDS after breakfast on DEPARTURE DAY (DAY 8). There is no program today and checkout time is 12 from your hotel.

  • Arriving early or staying longer is highly recommended!

  • Anna has secured special hotel rates for a limited period if you wish to arrive early/stay longer. Please enquire.

  • Pre- and post-retreat tours, trips and workshops are available — see the slider gallery above

How does the retreat work in detail?

With our varied evening programs, each day is a little different, but the working part of our program is like this:

BREAKFAST                    At your hotel.  Walk to the retreat hub, Villa Nilaya (about an 8 -10 minute walk away)

​MORNING                        9.30 - 10.00 am on all mornings other than tour day

BREATHWORK               Yoga breathing 'pranayama' to calm. Meditation to focus. 'Sound bathing' to inspire

SESSION I                        10.00 - 1.00 with morning tea break

LUNCH BREAK               1.00 - 2.30

SESSION 2                       2.30 - 5.30 with afternoon tea

YOGA                                5.45 - 6.45 (alternate days)

DINNER                            7.00 (on program nights, otherwise the day's program concludes at 5.30 pm)


  • The full day tour includes a gourmet Balinese lunch and a writing session

  • You’ll also have three free evenings with several dining options within just a few minutes' walk of the villa and your hotel.

Speaking of food ... 

Balinese food is very flavoursome, with complex flavours that you'll learn about in our chef-led cooking experience. Even spicy food is not fiery, but tangy with galangal, lime, coriander and ginger.


Let Anna know of your special dietary requirements at booking.

What does your Retreat include? Practically everything except your airfare!
  • A/C Airport Taxi collection with name board on arrival at the International Airport

  • Accommodation with Breakfast for 7 nights in your choice of beachside hotels and bungalows

  • 36 Hours of Art Tuition with Shelley Kenigsberg over 12 sessions

  • Yoga Classes (gentle stretchy, restorative and deep relaxation yoga)

  • Breakfasts 7

  • Lunches 6 - buffet, provided at Villa Nilaya during the retreat. We serve really fresh food, with an emphasis on vegetarian, tofu and seafood protein, and not too starchy (quinoa and red rice often replace white rice).

  • Morning and afternoon teas each day

  • Bottled Water available throughout the retreat

  • Dinners 4 including:

  • - ‘Welcome Dinner BBQ' at Villa Nilaya (dietary restrictions catered for - please advise)

  • - Final Night Dinner and concert performance

  • - Cooking and Cocktails with our executive chef Pak Dewa Ardika

  • - A fine dining and jazz dining experience in town 

  • Balinese Massage or reflexology treatment in-house at Villa Nilaya

  • a sound-bathing event (some call it 'sound healing or sound therapy ... we just call it divine!) 

  • surprises along the way

What's not included
  • airfare

  • travel insurance

  • personal expenses 

  • return taxi (you can pre-pay this when you book )

  • 3 dinners our village of Mendira has several excellent 'warungs' - local restaurants

Costs and accommodation

Your 7 nights of the Retreat are included in the retreat package.  You'll stay just 8-10 minutes' walk from Villa Nilaya, the retreat hub, where most of the art-making, yoga retreat and meals are taken. All three options offer traditional Balinese  hospitality, in absolute sea-front locations, ranging from family-friendly Amarta Bungalows to 5-star resort luxe at the Candi Beach Hotel. You can check all of their details on the Accommodation page of this website

The Retreat accommodation BEGINS on JUNE 10 at 3 pm and ENDS after breakfast on JUNE 17. There are no classes on June 17. Arrival earlier to recover from travel or staying a little longer to rest after your retreat is highly recommended.

Anna has secured special rates from all 3 venues, so please feel free to contact me for 'extra night' quotes, and see HERE for add-on trips, workshops and tours which you may like to consider.

BOOK SOON to secure the hotel and room of your choice!    ALL RATES are in USD


3-star seafront, friendly and unpretentious, set amongst garden with swimming pool, restaurant, all sea-facing rooms

  • Superior Rooms (8 only)                    $2599

  • Suite Rooms (6 only)                           $2689

4-star spacious sea front property with 2 swimming pools, and various styles of rooms, restaurant and efficient service

  • Superior Ocean View Room               $2999

  • Deluxe Ocean View Room                  $3249

  • Honeymoon Suite (1 only)                   $3399

  • Wooden Chalet Sea view (2 only)     $2819

  • Wooden Cottage garden view (2)     $3119

5-star expansive sea front property amidst landscaped gardens with 2 swimming pools, safe private white sand sea beach, resort facilities, service and several restaurants

  • Deluxe Garden View Room              $3489

  • Deluxe Garden View Cottage          $3779

  • Deluxe Ocean View Room                $4129

  • Deluxe Ocean View Cottage            $4919

  • Deluxe Junior Suite Garden             $4389

  • Deluxe Junior Suite Sea View          $4599

  • Luxury Ocean View Suite                  $5119

  • Luxury Ocean View Pool Villa          $6339

  • These prices are in USD for single-occupancy A/C rooms with a queen or king bed.

  • Twin beds available in some room types. 

  • Please contact Anna about:

  •    prices for twin-share or double rooms with either another retreat participant or a non-participating partner.  

  •    prices and availability for extra nights pre- or post- retreat


If you have a dream of writing a novel , a memoir, a poem ... take the time to gift yourself this retreat. You'll leave with new friends, sharpened tools, bright eyes, open heart, a notepad of writing and most importantly, you'll remember the pure joy of why you turn up to the page in the first place.

Amy Davoren, novelist, Sydney, Australia


In the three weeks since the retreat I've been writing  on average  1000 words a day  Writing in Paradise

gave me the confidence to get writing.

Quade Herman, non-fiction writer, Geneva, Switzerland


For anyone looking to be inspired again, to feel invigorated about their project, even if they don't have a project, if they want to find some sort of direction and be nurtured and encouraged in the process, as well as learn how to write well, this is perfect for you.

Sandy Fairthorne, playwright, Adelaide, Australia

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