PRWR Alumni Alliance Writing Retreat at Still Point Mountain Retreat

Next retreat: January 6-8, 2023

Come join a small group of Towson PRWR writers at Still Point Mountain Retreat, a four-bedroom log house in a pristine nature preserve near Harper’s Ferry, WV. At this alumni-run retreat, a group of 5 to 7 writers gather for home-cooked meals and conversations about current writing projects. Between meals, you’re completely free to find a quiet nook by the fireplace, on the deck overlooking the Shenandoah Valley, or in the 2000-volume nature and spiritual writing library. Optional writing prompts will be provided to inspire you in your current project. In the evening, participants read from works-in-progress and relax by the fire or outdoors on the deck.

Still Point is just a 1 1⁄2 hour drive from Towson University, but a world away from distractions and interruptions.

For information on joining us at the next retreat, message us on Instagram or Facebook Messenger or email our retreat facilitator at lportolano at

Writing block is rare out here, but if it strikes, just go for a walk in the labyrinth or take a hike on 23 miles of marked trails with access to the Appalachian Trail and the Shenandoah River. Cell service & Wifi are available but spotty at times: that makes this your chance to experience unplugged, full-time writing in a beautiful setting with freedom to enjoy nature, quiet contemplation, and all that the West Virginia mountains have to offer.

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Alumni Alliance NEWS

(November 2020) congratulations to Ashley Wagner for publication of her first poetry chapbook, East Coast Blues, at Bottlecap Press. “There are Still Point poems in the book,” Ashley writes. We can’t wait to hear some of these beauties at our retreat in January. You can read more about the chapbook here:

(Winter 2022) Mahdis Marzooghian’s debut novel, Death Has None, is forthcoming from Austin Macauley Publishers. The first chapter of her novel was longlisted in The Voyage Journal’s Spring 2021 First Chapters Contest. Congratulations, Mahdis!

From Sean Sam (10/2/2021):

I gotta thank you for putting us together (Ligeia magazine & Five on the Fifth magazine editors) because we got some other schemes going since. 😎

I submitted the piece I finished at the retreat to a lot of places, so we’ll see. Yesterday, I received a Best of the Net nomination for a fiction piece that was published in June with The Westchester Review.

Update (1/6 /2022) I’m happy to say the piece I completed (and read part of to you guys) at your retreat resulted in a 1st place finish in a contest: literary magazine. So I’d say Still Point = good luck and blessings. 

From Ashley Wagner (10/3/2021):

Personally, the retreat really helped me to figure out the shape of my collection and, since I returned, I’ve been writing new poems whenever I have time, for a total of 10 in the past month!

Listen to our founding members  talk about their experience at the first Alumni Alliance writing retreat in Summer 2021:


Founding members and editors of Five on the Fifth magazine Mary-Anne Nelligan and Mahdis Marzooghian are eager to lead other PRWR alumni in a weekend of clarity and creativity. Take a look at the latest issue of Five on the Fifth here.

Editors of Ligeia magazine, Sean Sam and Ashley Wagner are also founding members of the PRWR Alumni Alliance and leaders at our retreats. Read the latest issue of Ligeia here.

Alumni Attendees: Byron Lin (Winter 2021)

Lana Portolano, Ph.D. is professor emeritus of the PRWR program at Towson. She makes a mean pot of spaghetti and is our retreat facilitator at Still Point Mountain Retreat.

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