“A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


This year the theme of the conference is “The Power of Writing Together”.


Remember the joy of writing together in person?! Remember those in-person retreats where there were the formal writing times, the informal conversations over meals and during walks, and then just the fun of hanging out with your AWA colleagues who just get it? All of it?!
This year’s in person retreat will be held at Jericho House, a retreat centre in the lush farmland of the Niagara Peninsula, just a short walk from the shores of Lake Erie. The retreat centre is 35 minutes from Niagara Falls (the Canadian falls) and 45 minutes from the US Border at the Peace Bridge.


Photo Gallery of Jericho House, nearby landscape and former retreats

Some Travel Information: Click the titles below to read more
By Air

There are three international airports relatively close by.

Buffalo-Niagara is an airport on the American side of the border.  Once you’ve landed there, you can rent a car and come across the border at either the Rainbow Bridge or the Peace Bridge border crossing.  You’ll need your passport to enter Canada but there are no covid restrictions at the time of this post.  Here is a post you may find useful:  How to get from Buffalo to Niagara Falls

Hamilton International Airport  is the closest Canadian airport to the retreat centre.  Pearson Toronto International Airport and Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Island are two alternative access points if you’d prefer to come through Toronto or if your airline doesn’t fly into Hamilton or Buffalo.


By Train/Bus from Toronto

You can get into Toronto by train from the airport. There is a GO/Via train from Toronto that goes to St. Catharines or Niagara Falls from Toronto. If you don’t want to rent a car, it might be possible to arrange a ride with another retreatant to get to the retreat centre from one of these two nearby cities . If this is something you would like/need please give us as much advance notice as possible. There is no guarantee we will be able to arrange a ride, but we can put it out to those who are coming who do have vehicles and see if someone is able/willing to pick you up.

Taking an Uber is another possibility.

Please be advised that the retreat centre is rural. If you want to access nearby urban areas (Port Colborne, Welland, Niagara Falls, Niagara on the Lake or St. Catharines) you will need transportation.

Link to Jericho House Retreat Centre website
What is included in the in-person retreat?

The in-person retreat will include time for AWA facilitators to connect and gather in-person, to write and read together, and also participate in site-specific activities.

Sessions offered during the retreat will equally cover business, craft, and social consciousness topics.

The in-person retreat also gives you full access to the following sessions:


  • Ellen Bass’ keynote, “Transforming Trauma through Art.”


  • Reflection, Review, and Sharing: Clarification about our Practice
  • Writing and Healing: A Panel


  • Writing and Collage
  • Writing about Sex


  • Zoom Best Practices
  • Illness as Trauma
  • Effective Marketing from the Heart
  • Using a Lifeline


  • Micro-Fiction / Flash Fiction / Spontaneous Poetry
  • Ask Us Anything: Business
  • Reaching out to Social Service Agencies

FINAL SESSION: Sunday October 8

  • AWA Today – where we are and where we’re going
  • What do affiliates need?
  • What does AWA need?

(Please note:  these are the sessions we have currently scheduled, but there may be more added, or these may be modified as the conference program develops).

What does “On-Site” accommodation mean?

“On-Site” accommodation is at Jericho House, about half an hour from Niagara Falls, on the Canadian side. Jericho House offers shared accommodation, meaning that during the time of September 29 to October 1, you will likely be sharing a room with another AWA facilitator. You will both have your own bed and access to a private washroom.

What is included in “Meals, and On-Site Shared Accommodation”?

Your cost includes 6 meals (dinner on Friday; breakfast, lunch, dinner on Saturday; breakfast and lunch on Sunday) and a shared room with another AWA facilitator.

What if I’d like a private room for the AWA retreat?

You are more than welcome to stay at off-site accommodations if you’d prefer private accommodation. Please view this list of alternative lodging. If you stay in off-site accommodations, you can still sign up for and eat meals at Jericho House with your AWA community.

Will Jericho House accommodate dietary restrictions?

Yes! Please email us at least two weeks prior to your arrival though so that we can inform Jericho House of dietary needs. Jericho House is happy to offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.

What is the “Self-Guided Retreat” and what does it include?
The self-guided retreat allows you to set up your own personalized writing retreat at Jericho House following the AWA conference. You can spend time with fellow writers or write on your own. The self-guided retreat includes three nights of private accommodation at Jericho House and 9 meals in total (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Please note this differs from the accommodation for the AWA Retreat where all rooms are shared with another AWA facilitator.
May I bring a partner or family member with me?

You are welcome to invite your partner and family members to stay with you in off-site accommodation. However, only AWA facilitators may book shared accommodation at Jericho House.

May I bring a pet with me?

Unfortunately, no pets are allowed at Jericho House.


Schedule for the In Person Conference/Retreat

from September 29 to October 1
Retreatants are welcome to arrive at the retreat centre and check in after 3:00 on the Friday afternoon.
We will have dinner together, and then the first session of the conference will be Friday evening from 7 – 8:30 as we write our way into being together.
Formal conference sessions will happen from 11:00 a.m EDT on Saturday till 4:30 pm. EDT Saturday (including the Keynote for the conference).
The afternoon and evening after 4:30 are for retreatants to socialize or retreat, as they prefer. Breakfast lunch and dinner are included on Saturday.

Sunday morning, October 1 begins with a choice of your first in-person only sessions from 11:00 to 12:30. After lunch we will have optional writing together or a possible trip to write at Niagara Falls. We’re still working on those details!

We will say goodbye to those of you who are leaving then. Those who are staying on for the self-directed retreat will gather together for dinner.

Schedule for the Extended Time/Self-Directed Retreat

from late afternoon October 1 to after Lunch October 4

This time will literally be self-directed. Aside from meals, there are no formally planned activities; this is your time to sleep, walk, write, read, dream, nap. However, we are a gathering of AWA affiliates, we suspect that leaders will gather in the small breakout rooms and write together as they choose. This can be a fairly spontaneous arrangement, day by day.


Our Keynote Presenter:

We’re delighted that Ellen Bass, celebrated American poet and author of The Courage to Heal, will be joining us virtually as our keynote speaker.
For more information about Ellen’s work, please CLICK HERE.