8th Annual

Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop

w/ Patricia Raybon & Gary Schmidt

Aug. 29 - Sept. 5, 2020

Only 20 Spots available!

Email leslieleylandfields@gmail.com

The 2019 HIWW was a spectacular success! Here’s how it went:



Calling all Adventurous Writers!

Harvester Island is a stunningly beautiful island off the west coast of Kodiak Island, Alaska offering refuge and adventure, contemplation and activity, solitude and community. It's wild, remote (population: no one but us) and a remarkable place to grow your writing. Leslie knows: she has written most of her books here over the last 42 seasons she's lived here and worked with her family in commercial fishing.

Leslie in red standing in green grass.jpeg

Leslie Leyland Fields is the multi-award winning author/editor of eleven books, including Crossing the Waters: Following Jesus through the Storms, the Fish, the Doubt and the Seas, which won Christianity Today's 2017 Book Award in Christian Living. Her other books include The Wonder Years: 40 Women Over 40 on Aging, Faith, Beauty and Strength, Surviving the Island of Grace (Thomas Dunne), The Spirit of Food: 34 Writers on Feasting and Fasting Toward God (Cascade Press), and Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers (Thomas Nelson). The Spirit of Food  won three "Best Book of 2010" Awards. Her books have been translated into eight languages. Her essays have appeared in Christianity Today, Books and Culture, Belief.net, The Atlantic, Orion, Best Essays  and many others earning her four Evangelical Press Awards, Pushcart nominations and a Genesis Award. With three graduate degrees (in English, Journalism and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction) she has taught extensively including Seattle Pacific University’s MFA program and the University of Alaska. The HIWW, as well as other writing workshops she leads, enable her to keep mentoring other writers---her favorite activity!  She is a national and international speaker addressing topics of faith, art and culture at conferences, universities, retreats, and churches throughout the U.S.  and the world. A number of her students and workshoppers have gone on to publish their manuscripts, (which makes her incredibly proud!)


To apply email   leslieleylandfields@gmail.com

              (Details below---Keep scrolling, but not too fast!)


Gary Schmidt and Patricia Raybon

Gary Schmidt

Gary Schmidt is an author and a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2005, Schmidt's novel Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy was awarded a Newbery Honor, which recognizes "the most distinguished contribution[s] to American literature for children", and a Printz Honor. In 2008, he was awarded a second Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars. Schmidt's novel Okay for Now, the 2011 sequel to The Wednesday Wars, was a National Book Award finalist.

Schmidt has written textbooks and picture books, biography and fantasy, folk tales and historical fiction. The Jewish influences of his childhood echo in books such as In God’s Hands, a collaboration with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, and Mara’s Stories: Glimmers in the Darkness, a collection of Holocaust-era stories. He has also co-edited a popular series of seasonal biographies (Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter). He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes and feeds the wild cats that drop by. 

Patricia Raybon at Daniels Park.JPG

Patricia Raybon ia an award-winning author and journalist whose books dig deep into the intersection of Christian faith and everyday life. Serving from Colorado, she writes about faith, family, race and grace — seeking to inspire healing and connection in Christ. Her  boo includes My First White Friend, which won the Christopher Award; I Told the Mountain to Move, a 2006 Book of the Year Finalist in Christianity Today Magazine’s annual book contest, and a One Year® devotional on Bible virtues entitled God’s Great Blessings. She also co-authored Bound for Glory, a tribute to African American spirituals, co-developed with calligrapher Timothy Botts; and Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace, co-authored with her younger daughter Alana Raybon.

Patricia’s essays on family, faith and race have been published in The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, USA Weekend, Country Living Magazine, Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, Guideposts, and many others. She’s also a regular contributor at Our Daily Bread and (in)courage at DaySpring.

A journalist by training and education,  she is a former editor of The Denver Post’s Sunday Contemporary Magazine. In mid-career, she joined the journalism faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she taught for 15 years. She now writes full-time, also teaching at writing conferences and workshops, and is a Certified Instructor of the Journal to the Self® Workshop. Find her at www.patriciaraybon.com or on Facebook or Twitter @patriciaraybon.

A Peek at past workshops:

Previous guest writers have included Ann Voskamp, Philip Yancey Luci Shaw, Jeanne Murray Walker, Scot McKnight, Marilyn MacEntyre, Bret Lott, Paul Willis, and Gina Ochsner.



              An interview with Luci Shaw, guest writer for HIWW 2016

Interviewing Luci Shaw, 2016



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Afternoons will feature optional activities: whale watching, wildlife viewing, mountain and beach hiking. Each evening we will enjoy fresh seafood dinners, (with alternative meats for non-seafood lovers)  followed by readings and special events, both literary and Alaskan.    

"The Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop was so much more than a workshop; it was an adventure. Through words, through nature, through conversations. It refreshed my soul and creativity in a way I had not expected. If you're thinking about attending, stop thinking about it, and just go."
                                                                              ------Andrea Lucado

"Meals were bountiful!  Love the local flavors, the special treat of salmon, caribou and crab. . . . Gina was very sweet in giving me special (writing) stuff that she wanted me to have.  I was amazed at the breadth of knowledge both Leslie and Gina had."-------David Cecil

"Leslie's Harvester Island Workshop offers something so unique, soul-enriching,  body-stretching, beautiful and rewarding. Don't miss it!"

                                                                     -----Luci Shaw

"Still basking in Harvester afterglow. What a grace. Jill and I hope to return. The destination is worth the price."    

                             -------Brian Volck, author of Attending Others


"It is by far one of the prettiest places on God's green earth. Thanks to Leslie and Duncan for sharing their home, their island, their family and their life with us."----Karen Winkler

"The workshop was a grand success! What a hospitable, magical place! Leslie opened her life and home to us in an astounding way. I cannot imagine a better place for productive work."       ------Joni Powers, author of Lifespace


"Thanks, Leslie, for well-planned, fun, informative workshops. Your warm hospitality,interesting guests, tasty food, skiff rides, hikes, outhouse and banya all made for a great Alaskan experience."    ---Dan Cecil

"Thank you for such an impressionable, calming, spiritual, exciting experience. Your two islands were great places to sleep, reflect, grow and be me."------ Rita Fleet


"I cannot thank you enough for our week on Harvester .. ..it really opened my eyes to how the Kingdom should look on earth---arms and heart open wide." ---Carey Christian


Alaska, American, Delta all fly into Anchorage. From Anchorage, Alaska Airlines and Ravn fly into Kodiak. Leslie will meet you in Kodiak. From there we’ll take a float plane across the spectacular wilderness of Kodiak Island to Harvester Island (approximate cost $300 R/T apiece).


New, clean, comfortable heated rooms, many with mountain and ocean views.

*SINGLE Rooms (Brand new! NOW available)


*TRIPLE Room (over the ocean)

Do Please remember, though, this IS a wilderness island!  We use an OUTHOUSE and BANYA.  The banya is a Russian style wood-fired steambath in a separate building. Banya-bathing is available most every night. And both outhouses are clean and new, offering the best outhouse experience you've ever had---I promise! Still, if cleanliness is next to godliness for you, this may not be your workshop! 


The wilderness can’t be scripted! The weather can be wild and dramatic, preventing air or water travel at any time. If your schedule is sacred, and missing a flight due to weather is devastating, this is not your workshop!  An attitude of cheerful flexibility is the first necessary attribute to making the week spectacular, through sun, rain and storm.   


We’re in a remote area far from medical facilities, and some activities may be rigorous. Because of this, all applicants must be physically fit and in excellent health. 


7 nights, 8 days, all inclusive of Room and Board, instruction, wildlife excursions and tours:

SINGLES: $2750

DOUBLES: $2600

(Note: the average cost of wilderness lodges in Alaska is $800 -$1200/night) 

Once you have applied (email leslieleylandfields@gmail.com for an application) and been accepted, a non-refundable deposit of 1/3 of the total cost is required to hold your spot. (Once funds are fully paid, tuition is non-refundable, unless the vacant spot is filled.)

Contact me here: leslieleylandfields@gmail.com



Not ready for the Alaskan wilderness but still want to grow as a writer? Consider this very affordable writing workshop on the shores of Lake Michigan!



Nothing is as exciting as the group workshop, but those dates don't work for everyone. It's possible to come on your own, or with a friend/s or spouse for a private retreat, with all the same amenities between June 10 and August 15.

*A lovely private studio over the ocean, with a full kitchen, internet, bird's eye view of a pair of land otters who lump past every afternoon at about 3 pm, a sea otter who paddles back and forth about every hour, whales visible most of the time, with yourself as the sole resident.  

The Studio, all yours! And--all new! Modern kitchen, comfortable living/dining room and bedroom.

*Food and meals: (You may opt to bring your own food, or for an additional fee, food can be included.) You are welcome to eat as few or as many meals with us and our family/crew---or you may choose to eat alone in your studio. You're also welcome to join me in meal preparation or any of the other food work I am doing (making smoked salmon, jams and jellies, etc.)

*One-on-One professional guidance/feedback with me, discussing your work, as you choose. For one or two: 60 minutes a day. (If the group is 3 or more, one-on-one time is 30 minutes/day.) You may simply want space and time to work, but if you desire any kind of feedback or guidance, I'm there.

*Adventure: walking, ocean trips in the skiff, beach combing. Your choice on activity and adventure vs. writing time.

*Getting there: You would fly into Larsen Bay on the mail plane (R/T $280). I would pick you up in the skiff at Larsen Bay for a 25 minute skiff ride to the island. Or you could fly straight to the island on a float plane (at about double the cost). 

*Cost: For one person: $500/night, with a minimum of 4 nights, maximum of 8, (or as the retreat schedule permits.)

           *For two: $800/night

           *For three: $1050/night

*For four: $1200/night


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