Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop




Registration is OPEN!

Guest Writers  - Jeanne Murray Walker and Luci Shaw

Workshopping Poetry, Playwriting, Creative Nonfiction

Discussing: "The Faithful Artful Life"


Jeanne Murray Walker


Luci Shaw

AND JULY 22-27, 2016



"Christian Life in the Apostle Paul"

Click here for details!


**AND, NEW! Private Writing Retreats Now       

Available Here:  Private Writing Retreats


Here's a glimpse of the 2015 Workshop. It was a grand time as you can see by the slideshow above. 




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 38 years as she's lived and worked with her family in commercial fishing.  

2016 Guest Writer: Jeanne Murray Walker

Jeanne Murray Walker is a writer and teacher who was born in Parkers Prairie, a village of a thousand people in Minnesota.  She lectures and gives readings extensively in places ranging from The Library of Congress and Oxford University to Whidbey Island and Texas canyon country.

Jeanne has written eight volumes of poetry, including Helping the Morning:  New and Selected Poems,  A Deed to the Light, and New Tracks, Night Falling.  Her poetry and essays have appeared numerous journals, including  PoetryThe Atlantic MonthlyThe Christian CenturyThe American Poetry ReviewThe Georgia ReviewImage and Best American Poetry.   Her scripts, which have been performed in theaters across the United States and in London, are archived in North American Women's Drama, and are published by Dramatic Publishing Company.   The Geography of Memory:  A Pilgrimage through Alzheimer's, Jeanne's memoir, tells the hair-raising, often funny details of the decade she and her sister cared for their mother.      

Jeanne is a Professor of English at The University of Delaware, where she heads the Creative Writing Concentration.  She also serves as a Mentor in the Seattle Pacific University Master of Fine Arts Program.  

She has appeared on PBS television and is frequently interviewed on the radio.  Her work has been distributed across Pennsylvania on posters by The Center for the Book and has appeared on buses and trains with Poetry in Motion.

An Atlantic Monthly Fellow at Bread Loaf School of English, Jeanne has also been awarded a Pew Fellowship in The Arts, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, eight Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowships, and The Glenna Luschei-Prairie Schooner Prize.  

For 20 years she was the Poetry Editor of Christianity and Literature.  She currently serves on the Editorial Board of Image and Shenandoah magazines.   

Jeanne is a collaborating editor with Darryl Tippens of Shadow and Light: Literature and the Life of Faith, an historical anthology of literature.  Image magazine called it the current "stand-out, single-volume" on the subject of spiritual questing.  

Jeanne lives with her husband outside Philadelphia.  They are the parents of two children and the grandparents of three. 

2016 Guest Writer: Luci Shaw


Luci Shaw was born in 1928 in London, England, and has lived in Canada, Australia and the U.S.A. A 1953 high honors graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, she became co-founder and later president of Harold Shaw Publishers, and since 1988 has been a Writer in Residence at Regent College, Vancouver, Canada. 

Shaw is a frequent retreat facilitator and leads writing workshops in church and university settings. She has lectured in North America and abroad on topics such as art and spirituality, the Christian imagination, poetry-writing, and journal-writing as an aid to artistic and spiritual growth.

A charter member of the Chrysostom Society of Writers, Shaw is author of ten volumes of poetry including Polishing the Petoskey Stone (Shaw, 1990), Writing the River (Pinon Press, 1994/Regent Publishing, 1997), The Angles of Light (Waterbrook, 2000), The Green Earth: Poems of Creation (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2002), has edited three poetry anthologies and a festschrift, The Swiftly Tilting Worlds of Madeleine L’Engle, (Shaw, 1998). Her most recent books are What the Light Was Like (Word Farm), Accompanied by Angels (Eerdmans), The Genesis of It All (Paraclete), and Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination & Spirit (Nelson). Her poetic work and essays have been widely anthologized. Shaw has authored several non-fiction prose books, including Water My Soul: Cultivating the Interior Life (Zondervan) and The Crime of Living Cautiously (InterVarsity). She has also co-authored three books with Madeleine L’Engle, WinterSong (Regent), Friends for the Journey (Regent), and A Prayer Book for Spiritual Friends (Augsburg/Fortress).

Shaw is poetry editor and a contributing editor of Radix, as quarterly journal published in Berkeley, CA, that celebrates art, literature, music, psychology, science and the media, featuring original poetry, reviews and interviews. She is also poetry and fiction editor of Crux, an academic journal published quarterly by Regent College, Vancouver, Canada.

She and her husband John Hoyte live in Bellingham, Washington and are members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. She loves sailing, tent camping, knitting, gardening, and wilderness photography.




 JULY 22 - 27, 2016

After a leisurely breakfast, mornings will be spent  in learning and discussion. Scot will lead us in considering the many ways the Christian Church revolutionized the Roman Empire.   Paul’s mission was to create a community that crossed all boundaries, a"fellowship of differents," that made invisible people visible. How can the Church today live up to this still-revolutionary kingdom design?

Afternoons will feature optional activities: whale watching, wildlife viewing, mountain and beach hiking. Each evening we will prepare our own fresh seafood dinner, followed by readings and special events: literary, cinematic, and Alaskan.    

For more information, email Leslieleylandfields@gmail.com.

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author or editor of fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.  Dr. McKnight has given interviews on radios across the nation, has appeared on television, and is regularly speaks at local churches, conferences, colleges, and seminaries in the USA and abroad. Dr. McKnight obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Nottingham (1986).

McKnight is the author of  the award-winning The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others (Paraclete, 2004), which won the Christianity Today book of the year for Christian Living. His books include Embracing Grace: A Gospel for All of Us (Paraclete, 2005), The Story of the Christ (Baker, 2006), Praying with the Church (Paraclete, 2006), The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus (Paraclete, 2007), A Community Called Atonement (Abingdon, 2007). He broadened his Jesus Creed project in writing a daily devotional: 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed (Paraclete, 2008). His studies in conversion were expanded with his newest book, Finding Faith, Losing Faith (Baylor, 2008), a book he co-authored with his former student Hauna Ondrey. Other books are The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible (Zondervan, 2008) and Fasting (Thomas Nelson, 2009).

His other books include a commentary on James (The Epistle of James, NICNT), One.Life: Jesus Calls, We FollowThe King Jesus Gospel (Zondervan), Jesus is Lord, Caesar is Not (IVP, 2013), A Long Faithfulness: The Case for Christian Perseverance (Bondfire/Patheos Books, 2013),The Sermon on the Mount ( Zondervan, 2013), Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church (Brazos), andThe Heaven Promise: Engaging the Bible’s Truth about Life to Come (WaterBrook, 2015).

COST: Five nights, 6 days, all inclusive (food, lodging, wilderness excursions) $1500. 

Leslie Leyland Fields is the author/editor of ten books, including Surviving the Island of Grace (Thomas Dunne), The Spirit of Food: 34 Writers on Feasting and Fasting Toward God (Cascade Press), Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers (Thomas Nelson), and her forthcoming book, Crossing the Waters: Front Alaska to Galilee Following Jesus Through the Storms, the Fish, the Doubt, and the Seas. Her books have been translated into German, Chinese, French, Korean and Polish. Her essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Orion, Best Essays Northwest, Prairie Schooner, and many others earning her Pushcart nominations, the Virginia Faulkner Award, and a Genesis Award. She was a founding faculty member of Seattle Pacific University’s MFA program where she taught creative nonfiction for six years. Previously she taught Literature and creative writing at the University of Alaska.  She is on the Editorial Board of Christianity Today; a national speaker addressing topics of faith and culture at conferences, retreats, and churches; and a popular radio guest with more than 200 interviews on stations around the country.  


Mornings, 9:00 - 12 pm, will be spent in classes and workshops with intensive and supportive guidance from Jeanne, Luci, and Leslie, both award-winning writers and veteran teachers. Jeanne, Luci and Leslie will team-teach a class and discussion, then we'll break into workshop groups. Poetry and playwrights will meet with Jeanne and Luci. Creative Nonfiction writers (memoir, essays, spiritual writing) will meet with Leslie. 

Afternoons will feature optional activities: whale watching, wildlife viewing, mountain and beach hiking. Each evening we will prepare our own fresh seafood dinner, followed by readings and special events, both literary and Alaskan.    

"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

"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

"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

"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 bush plane across the spectacular wilderness of Kodiak Island to the village of Larsen Bay (approximate cost $280 R/T) where we’ll take a skiff or barge 30 minutes to Harvester Island. 


New, clean, comfortable heated rooms, all with mountain and ocean views, double occupancy for all but the dockhouse, a cabin that sits literally over the ocean, which sleeps 4.  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. 


The cost for 7 nights, 8 days is $2,400 including room, board workshops, final one-on-one meeting with Leslie and Bret, excursions (bear viewing is extra), and tours. (Note: the average cost for most lodges in Alaska is $800 - $1000/night)

*If you're interested in coming but the airfare to Alaska seems prohibitive, I have an idea or two to significantly defray that cost. Please write!

Contact me here: leslieleylandfields@gmail.com


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 provided. Fresh seafood, wholesome homemade meals! 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. Up to 2 hours a 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 $250). 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: $300/day, with a minimum of 3 days, maximum of 10, (or as the retreat schedule permits.

Write for more details: