CRIPtic x Spread the Word Retreat for d/Deaf and disabled writers


Taking place online, the Retreat is completely free and runs from Thursday 29 July to Sunday 1 August. Expect a residential retreat – but from your own home.  

Convened by CRIPtic x Spread the Word, the Retreat is for 10 UK based d/Deaf and/or disabled writers of poetry, fiction and/ or scriptwriting and aims to encourage people to experiment and broaden their writing practice, get insight into the industry and become part of a writing community. 

The 2021 Retreat will focus on poetry, fiction, and scriptwriting. There will be creative exercises, workshops, guest readings, industry insights, and a public sharing event where participants can showcase their work to a wider audience.  

Our guest workshop artists are Matilda Ibini (scriptwriting), Omikemi (poetry) and Charlotte Heather (fiction) and guest artists for the readings  include Elle McNicoll and Nadia Nadarajah. There’ll be industry insights from Vici Wreford-Sinnott, Artistic Director of Little Cog; Julie Farrell, a writer, critic and activist and Aliya Gulamani, Assistant Commissioning Editor at Unbound. Jamie Hale and Ruth Harrison will also be doing an insight session on finding and applying for funding.

The Retreat will be BSL interpreted by Amy Hayward, Michelle Wood and Jemima Hoadley.

The CRIPtic x Spread the Word Retreat is supported by Arts Council England.


  • You are d/Deaf and/ or disabled (including: neurodivergence, chronic and long-term health conditions and mental health conditions); 

  • You must be based in the UK and over 18 years of age; 

  • You are committed to taking your writing forward and are writing regularly in at least one of the Retreats’ genres: fiction, scriptwriting, or poetry; 

  • You are interested in joining a community of writers, sharing your work and working across different genres.

Apply to be part of CRIPtic x Spread the Word Retreat 

Places on the Retreat are by application only. Alongside completing the online application form, you will be asked to provide two samples of your work either in word/ pdf/ audio or video format.  

The deadline has been extended (from 5 July) for applications to: 5pm, Wednesday 7 July. 

Apply by completing our online Google form and uploading two samples of your work:

Or, apply by downloading and completing this application form (a Word document) and emailing it to [email protected] by 5pm, Wednesday 7 July. 

Applications will be assessed by the Spread the Word team and Jamie Hale from CRIPtic. We will let people know the outcome of their application by Friday 9 July.

The decisions made will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. 

More info 

The Retreat: 

  • The Retreat will take place on Zoom.
  • From Thursday 29 July to Saturday 31 July there will be four sessions each day between 11:00-18:00 – a creative session, a workshop, industry insight video and a guest reading. Creative sessions will last 45 mins, workshops will last 2 and a half hours (including a half-hour break), industry insight videos between 10 – 20 mins and readings one hour each.  
  • On Sunday 1 August, there will be an optional session led by Jamie on ‘reading your work’ to help people prepare for the Retreat’s sharing event, followed by two short focus group sessions about access in the literature sector. After that, there will be a public reading by writers from the programme who wish to do this.
  • The Retreat schedule will be sent to successful applicants as part of a welcome pack a week before the Retreat starts. 


  • All Retreat sessions will be BSL Interpreted (we will announce the names of the interpreters soon). They will also be auto-captioned. 

  • The Retreat is a relaxed space. People will be given regular breaks and are able to take additional breaks as needed. 

  • Participants and guest writers will be asked to self-describe when introducing themselves. 

  • Any images used in the sessions will be described, and participants will be asked to describe any slides or images used in their own work. 

  • We cannot guarantee a trigger-free space, and while we will request that people put content notes on anything likely to trigger, we will not know in advance what people will be bringing to the space.

Writers applying for the Retreat should be intending to attend everything, although we know that unexpected circumstances may arise and will be flexible. We know that this structure may not be accessible to everyone, but it is based on our experience of running the Experimental! online retreat for d/Deaf and disabled writers in 2020, while adapting it to make it suitable for as many people as possible.  

Please email us about any other access needs: [email protected]  

Published 4 June 2021

Updated 3 July 2021