REGISTRATION for the 2020 retreat IS NOW OPEN.

25 January - 3 FebruarY 2020


Come and immerse yourself in the spectacular town of Tepoztlán.

This ten-day writing retreat is an opportunity to step away from the demands and distractions of your daily life and devote yourself to your writing, while being nourished by beauty, inspiration and superb food. Daily writing workshops will offer professional input, guidance and direction, as well as the companionship and insights of fellow writers.

Located in Mexico's Central Highlands, Tepoztlán is an inspiring place rich in tradition. The memoir writing workshops will be complemented by free time to write, relax or explore. Optional excursions to the town's famously colourful markets and historic buildings and/or a hike to the pyramid in the surrounding mountains are also on offer. Evenings will be celebrated with gourmet meals, stories, an exclusive presentation on Mexican art, and an optional night of dancing.

The setting for this retreat is Casa Temictli, famous for its architectural beauty, gastronomical wonders, luxuriant art gardens, and warm, welcoming hosts.

The writing workshops will be limited to 7 participants, so each person’s writing will receive extensive focussed attention.

Couples are welcome and spouses need not participate in the writing workshops.

I wanted so badly to sign up for one of the writing retreats over the past couple of years but felt I lacked the writing expertise. I also lacked the courage to ‘put myself out there’ and yet, in only one week, my life has been transformed. I have found a new ‘home’ with a small group of amazing, inspiring and encouraging writers.
Thank you, Alison. This was one of the most joyful weeks of my life.”
— June Elliot


25 January - 3 FebruarY 2020

I registered for Alison’s memoir retreat in Tepoztlán knowing that the daily writing workshops would be great for my writing practice, as I was already her student, finding my voice and honing my craft under her generous mentorship through weekly classes at home. What I didn’t know was how deeply I would go when everything else in my busy life fell away, and how inspired I would be by the vivid colours and culture of this magical Mexican town. And then there was the gorgeous food, served up like art by our gracious hosts, Janet and Doug. This was honestly one of the best weeks of my life.
— Holly Shephard


Each day will begin with a leisurely buffet breakfast on the terrace, followed by a 3- to 4-hour writing workshop with Alison Wearing. In addition to offering essential tools and guidance through obstacles and questions, these workshop sessions will give participants an opportunity to share and receive valuable feedback on their writing. People may be at different stages of the writing process and the sessions will be sculpted to ensure that every person receives tailored attention within the workshop. A simple application process will also aid in the curation of a mutually inspiring writing environment. For a detailed description of a memoir writing workshop and testimonials from similar workshops, please visit the Memoir Writing Workshop page.

Following the midday meal, people are welcome to do as they please! In the heat of the afternoon, rest and relaxation may be in order, a swim in the pool, a visit to the market, or a bit of writing time in a shady spot in the garden or living room. (For a full tour of Casa Temictli, please see the video at the bottom of this page.) Private or semi-private Spanish lessons can also be arranged at additional cost.

Optional excursions will include: a tour of the village, ending with a margarita on a hotel terrace overlooking the valley; a visit to the town centre on market day; a hike to the pyramid in the surrounding mountains; two meals in excellent local restaurants. (Guided by the natural rhythm of a tropical climate, some excursions may need to take place in the cooler hours of the morning, in which case the writing workshops would take place in the afternoon of that day.) Tepoztlán is also a fabulous place to simply wander on one's own...

Retreats begin in the afternoon of the arrival day (Saturday) and end after breakfast on the following Monday.

*PLEASE NOTE: at the suggestion of past participants, these retreats have now been extended by two days/nights to allow for more time to explore, write, relax, enjoy…

Alison Wearing’s writing workshop was a joy from start to finish. She is incisive in her observations, yet unfailingly supportive and inspirational. One couldn’t ask for better hosts than Janet and Doug, who provided warm hospitality and exquisite meals at Casa Temictli. Their gardens and the pool created a lovely, restful atmosphere.

My wife came to the retreat without taking part in the writing workshop. She fully enjoyed reading some of the wonderful books that grace the bookshelves, swimming in the pool, exploring the town, and joining the rest of the group for the beautiful meals and delightful dinner conversations. We both highly recommend this retreat!
— Peter Newman


Exceptional gourmet meals will be prepared daily by chef and food artist Janet Dawson, one of our hosts at Casa Temictli.

Janet Dawson, chef extraordinaire, food artist and one of our hosts.

Janet Dawson, chef extraordinaire, food artist and one of our hosts.

Breakfast: Freshly-squeezed juices, coffee/tea, variety of tropical fruits, cereal, plus daily hot options

Lunch: A substantial midday meal with hot and cold options

Dinner: Gourmet meal including 1 complimentary glass of wine/beer*

Vegetarian options are available; limited special diet accommodations can be made.

* Beyond 1 complimentary drink, wine/beer will be sold by the bottle at cost. People are also welcome to buy their own alcohol at village shops and supermarkets.

There is no way of overstating this: the food at Casa Temictli is EXQUISITE. This is food as an art form.



Participants fly to Mexico City International Airport (MEX). Tepoztlán is a 90-minute ride from Mexico City airport (see Google map) and airport transfer to/from Casa Temictli can be arranged for a modest cost and shared with other participants, provided flights arrive at similar times.

Alison immediately saw what I needed to knit together a coherent collection of personal essays. I arrived with several balls of yarn and left with the beginnings of a sweater. Casa Temictli is an oasis of art and beauty (and good food!), a perfect home base for exploring this quiet Mexican town.
— Paula Dunning


There are four bedrooms in Casa Temictli (see photos below, plus the video tour at the bottom of this page), the home of our hosts, Janet Dawson and Doug Clark, and the setting of the retreat. There is also overflow accommodation at a beautiful boutique hotel a 3-minute walk from Casa Temictli, as well as a BUDGET family-run hotel just around the corner. Regardless of your accommodation choice, all meals will be enjoyed together and EVERYONE is welcome to make use of all facilities at Casa Temictli, including the pool, wifi, grounds, writing tables.

All rooms may be booked at a 'couple's rate' and shared with a spouse not taking the writing workshop. Please see PRICES below.

1. Canada Room* (2 TWIN beds, double-occupancy OR 1 KING bed, single-occupancy; shared bathroom**, private balcony)

2. Mexico Room (QUEEN bed, shared bathroom**, single- or double-occupancy)

3. Casita (Separate from main house, QUEEN bed, ensuite bathroom, single- or double-occupancy)

4. Master Bedroom (Deluxe room with KING bed, large ensuite bathroom, balcony, single- or double-occupancy)

* The Canada Room can be booked as a TWIN (double-occupancy) accommodation, in which case the room will be shared and a roommate will be assigned, or as a private (single-occupancy, king bed) room. Please see PRICES below.

** The Canada Room and the Mexico Room share one bathroom.


Once the rooms at Casa Temictli are full, beautiful suites and deluxe rooms are available at a neighbouring boutique hotel just a 3-minute walk away. The suites have a private balcony or terrace, and all rooms have mountain views and access to all hotel facilities.


There is a lovely, simple, family-run hotel less than a 5-minute walk from Casa Temictli. In addition to bright, clean rooms, the hotel has a rooftop terrace with a breathtaking view of the mountains. Single- or double-occupancy (or couple) rates available.

Alison’s workshop in Tepoztlán re-ignited my love of writing. I came in fear and left with the confidence to continue writing. Attending this workshop is a gift to yourself.
— Martine Becu


Includes accommodation for 9 nights (2 days/nights longer than previous retreats), gourmet meals*, daily writing workshops, all outings, use of all facilities at Casa Temictli, including wifi, pool, towels, garden, plus an exclusive in-house lecture/presentation on Mexican art. READ THE CANCELLATION POLICY.

Does NOT include: flight, airport transfer to Tepoztlán. [Note: Transportation between Mexico City airport (or downtown Mexico City) and Tepoztlán can be arranged for an extra fee of approximately US$50 one-way.]

*All meals are for are included with the exception of two excursions to local restaurants and two lunches on ‘free’ days. These outings are optional and a stay-home meal can be provided as an alternative.

PLEASE NOTE: All prices are in US dollars. Payment plans are available. A scholarship is also available by application (see below).

COUPLES ARE WELCOME. For spouses not taking the writing workshop, please add USD$725 to the single-occupancy rate. For spouses participating in the writing workshop, please add USD$1500 to the single-occupancy rate of all rooms.



Canada Room, SHARED (2 twin beds, shared bathroom, balcony): US$2250 per person (double-occupancy**) 

Canada Room, PRIVATE (1 king bed, shared bathroom, private balcony): US$2800 (single-occupancy)

Mexico Room, PRIVATE (1 queen bed, shared bathroom): US$2700 (single-occupancy)

Casita, PRIVATE (Private outbuilding, queen bed, ensuite bathroom): US$3050 (single-occupancy)

Master Bedroom (Deluxe room with king bed, large ensuite bathroom, balcony): US$3300 (single-occupancy)

 ** This rate applies to two people who are BOTH taking the writing workshop. If you wish to share the Canada Room with a friend/spouse who will NOT be taking the workshop, the PRIVATE rate + spouse rate of US$725 will apply.]


Deluxe Suite (1 king bed, ensuite bathroom, balcony with mountain view, terrace, access to all hotel facilities): US$3000 (single-occupancy)

Standard Suite (1 queen bed, ensuite bathroom, mountain view, terrace, access to all hotel facilities): US$2850 (single-occupancy)


Single Room, PRIVATE (1 double bed, ensuite private bathroom): US$2100

Double Room, SHARED (2 double beds, ensuite bathroom): US$1950 per person (double-occupancy)

AGAIN, COUPLES ARE WELCOME! For spouses not taking the writing workshop, please add USD$650 to the single-occupancy rate. For spouses participating in the writing workshop, please add USD$1400 to the single-occupancy rate of all rooms.



Val Hawkins was an exceptionally talented musician, martial artist and healer. She was also a beautiful writer who participated in many of Alison’s workshops and dreamed of attending this retreat. The Valerie Hawkins scholarship has been established to help make this retreat accessible to someone in need of a discount. To apply for this scholarship, click here.

I have been the recipient of Alison’s mentorship and guidance during many writing workshops and retreats. She has a true gift for nurturing fledging writers and inspiring us to explore and take risks with our stories. I never thought my stories would evolve to the extent that they have. Alison is my memoir whisperer!
— Astrid Roch-Russell

highlights from the PAST retreatS


Alison's own story...

It was January of the year 2000, when the world was expected to fall into millennial chaos, but somehow didn't. I had hoped it would, or rather, I had hoped that some kind of shift would occur. Because I was looking for change, massive change. A rescue of sorts.

I was a new mother, and the transition had been tough for me. While I loved my son ferociously, I also ached for the loss of my life as a freewheeling travel writer, the independence I used to prize, the solitude, the spontaneity, the sleep...

One afternoon, in the middle of a freezing rain storm that had kept us housebound for days, I saw an ad for a house for rent in a legendary Mexican village with spectacular mountain views. I'd never been to Mexico before, knew nothing of its legends or its mountains, but on a whim—a desperate one—I called and booked the place for the following week. 

With my six-month-old slung to my hip, I set off. And within a day or two of arriving, I began to feel better than I had in months. The more I wandered Tepoztlán's cobblestone streets, inhaled its vistas and flowers, ate in its lively market, drank in its colour, warmth, blossoms and sacred natural surroundings, the more I wanted to live there, raise my son there.

To make a long story short, that is eventually what happened. And although we are back in Canada now and happy to be here, Tepoztlán is still home to us in many ways. So it is with particular pleasure and heart that I now share with place with others.