Masterclass Retreat: The Art of the Short Story

A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage.
A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.”
– Lorrie Moore

Write and polish your short stories in the stunning surroundings of the Loire Valley in France.

Our Circle of Misse short story Masterclass, led by short story writer Annie Kirby, will help you develop your writing skills to meet the unique challenges of creating good short stories. Over the course of a week, Annie will walk you through the process of writing and editing a short story, from idea generation through to final editing.

On at least three mornings, Annie will lead group sessions covering key short story elements such as characterisation, plot, setting, voice, conflict and theme, considering the similarities and differences between using them in short and long fiction. The group sessions will include plenty of time for writing and experimenting with new techniques, as well as examining some famous short stories to see what can be learned from them.

The rest of the time you will be able to devote your time to writing and editing your own short stories, as well as attending regular one-to-one tutorial sessions with Annie for advice and feedback on your writing. There will also be at least one writing session away from the Circle of Misse house, allowing you time to write in one of the inspiring locations nearby.

About your course leader

Annie Kirby is Masterclass Retreat: The Art of the Short Storyan award-winning short story writer and editor, who has published short stories in a number of anthologies including

Don’t Know A Good Thing,(ed. Kate Pullinger, Bloomsbury, 2006), Beta-Life: Short Stories from an A-Life Future (ed. Ra Page and Martyn Amos, Comma, 2014) and Thought X: Fictions and Hypotheticals (ed. Rob Appleby and Ra Page, Comma, 2017). Her fiction has been broadcast on Radio 4 and she curated and edited the Arts Council funded Writing Edward King short story project. Her short story “The Wing” won the 2005 Asham Award and her novel in progress was longlisted for the Mslexia Prize.


Course Date: 29 Aug – 5 Sep 2020

Course Length: Starts late afternoon Saturday, finishes early Saturday morning (7 nights)

Schedule: Morning teaching sessions and one-to-one feedback sessions each day. Sessions may include an excursion to markets, chateaus and other adventures. Writing/free time in late afternoon/early evening each day and some full writing days with mentored support from the Masterclass leader.

Travel Details: Free pick-up (Saturday) and drop-off (Saturday) at:

  • Nantes Atlantique International Airport (You can arrive via plane or train). Full details here.
    • Pick-up 17:15
    • Drop-off 13:15

Meals & Drinks:  Breakfast, lunch & dinner each day, including wine & cocktails. Coffee, tea, juices, soft drinks and snacks available all the time.

Accommodation: Misse guest rooms have been designed to be the perfect writer’s space year-round: you’ll have comfort, quiet, privacy and a wonderful view over your surroundings. All of our guest rooms have en suite bathrooms. For more details see our rooms page.

Cost: £895  (includes EVERYTHING except travel to France). To secure a place a deposit of £300 is due at the time of booking; the balance is due 45 days before the course starts.