The Atlanta Writers Club, Georgia Writers Museum, and St. Simons Island Writers present a writing retreat designed to help you relax, recharge, and write!

Unlike many such events that are so intent on offering value thatthey overwhelm participants with activities, leaving no time forcreative output, the AWC-GWM-SSIW retreat is designed to give youample networking and learning opportunities while also providinglong stretches where you can further develop your work-in-process,get inspired to start something new, or just rest and rediscover yourmuse.

St. Simons Island, Georgia, is the perfect place to do this. Write with innumerable island views to delight you or explore its iconic lighthouse and pier, long shorelines, plentiful dining and shopping, miles of bike paths, and nature trails galore while you contemplate your next chapter.


5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

at Porch restaurant (549 Ocean Blvd.)

Network & Nosh Welcome Reception with appetizers, wine, and beer


Journey to Memoir.

Wanda Lloyd, a retired newspaper editor, podcaster and frequent lecturer on issues of diversity and culture, is the author of COMING FULL CIRCLE: From Jim Crow to Journalism, a self-reflective exploration of the author’s life growing up in the legally segregated Deep South and becoming a trailblazing editor at seven daily newspapers. Her journey was marked by lack of mentors at a time when there were few women or people of color in the industry. The foreword to COMING FULL CIRCLE was written by novelist Tina McElroy Ansa, who first met Wanda when they were assigned as freshman-year roommates at Spelman College.

COMING FULL CIRCLE was listed by as one of the “25 Best Journalism Books to Read in 2020.” Kirkus Reviews calls the memoir “Inspiringreading for aspiring journalists and students of civil rights.” Despite publishing the memoir in early 2020, just before the nation shut down for COVID, Wanda hasparticipated in several book festivals, including Greensboro Bound book festival in North Carolina, the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, the SchombergCenter Literary Festival in New York, and the Authors Showcase for the National Association of Black Journalists. She has shared the story of writing this memoirvirtually and in person on university campuses, museums, faith groups and with book clubs, corporate leadership teams and via podcasts.

Wanda released two books in 2020. She is co-editor (with Ansa) of MEETING AT THE TABLE: African-American Women Write on Race, Culture and Community, ananthology of essays from diverse perspectives. Lloyd and Ansa also co-hosted three seasons of the podcast, “2 Old Chicks Who Know a Lot of Sh*t!TM.” Theepisodes can be found on YouTube and all popular podcast platforms. Wanda is also a TEDx speaker in Savannah. A self-described “word nerd,” in 2022 shepresented and performed on the topic “Words Matter.”

For the past six years she has been a member of The Focused Writers, an online group of women who learn new ways of writing and publishing. In 2022, thisgroup published On Womanhood: Connecting and Thriving in Every Season, an anthology of essays, for which Wanda was a writer and she edited the book. This exercise was a learning experience — from conception to writing, editing, publishing and marketing.

Wanda has been an editor at seven daily newspapers, including The Washington Post and USA Today. She retired in 2013 from her last newsroom as executive editor of  the Montgomery Advertiser in Alabama. That’s when she returned to her hometown to accept the position as chair and associate professor in theDepartment of Journalism and Mass Communications at Savannah State University. She is also the founding executive director of the Freedom Forum DiversityInstitute at Vanderbilt University, where she launched a school to teach journalism to second-career people of color. She has been a four-time juror for thePulitzer Prizes. In Savannah she has been an opinion page columnist for the Savannah Morning News and

Wanda has been honored nationally for career achievement, including being Inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame, the Ida B.Wells Award for Media Diversity, and she holds an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from her alma mater, Spelman College.

Wanda is currently an Ambassador member of the AARP Georgia Executive Council based in Atlanta, and she is an advisory board member of The LearningCenter/Senior Citizens, Inc., in Savannah, where she also serves as a lecturer and discussion moderator. She has been a member of the Georgia Writers Association Board of Directors.

Wanda resides in Savannah with her husband, Willie Lloyd. They have a daughter, Shelby Cotton. These days Wanda enjoys consulting with emerging writerswho are finding a way through their journey of writing their own stories and getting them published.

For the past couple of years Wanda has been refining an outline for a sequel to her memoir, and she is waiting for the inspiration–and time–to start writing thebook.

Crafting Fiction: Real Talk…It’s a Process.

Tina McElroy Ansa, a teacher, editor, publisher, and gardener, is the author of five award-winning novels, including Baby of the Family, The Hand I Fan With, Ugly Ways, You Know Better and Taking After Mudear. All five of her novels are on the Georgia Center for the Book’s “List of Books All Georgians Should Read.” Baby of the Family and The Hand I Fan With both received the Georgia Authors Series Award. And Ugly Ways was nominated for an “NAACP Image Award in Fiction.”

In 2004, Ansa founded the Sea Island Writers Retreat in her home state of Georgia and has taken the retreats on the road around the country, including to theSpelman College campus. The most recent retreat was held in November of 2022 on Tybee Island, Georgia, with Ansa, Crystal Wilkinson, Dolen Perkins-Valdez,Dawn Turner, Nic Stone, Wanda Lloyd (Class of ‘71), and Regina Taylor leading workshops.

In 2007, Ansa founded the independent publishing company DownSouth Press, which published her fifth novel, Taking After Mudear.

In 2011, Ansa was awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts from her alma mater Spelman College.

In 2020, Ansa edited and wrote the foreword to the anthology MEETING AT THE TABLE: African-American Women Write on Race, Culture and Community withher freshman Spelman College roommate, journalist Wanda S. Lloyd, in response to the turbulence and social justice protests that emerged in American life.Ansa’s DownSouth Press published the collection of stellar essays by a cross-section of 15 brilliant black women thinkers.

In 2021, Ansa launched the podcast with sister Lloyd, appropriately titled, “2 Old Chicks Who Know a Lot of Sh*t.” The podcast is in its fourth year.

Ansa has received the Bebe Moore Campbell Memorial Award from the National Book Club Conference. She has been awarded the Stanley W. Lindberg Awardfor her body of work and for her contributions to the literary arts community of Georgia. She was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writersof African Descent at the Gwendolyn Brooks Center of Chicago State University.

As well as lecturing and reading around the country, Ansa has also contributed “Essays from Georgia” to CBS Sunday Morning.

Ansa serves on the board of the St. Simons Island African-American Heritage Coalition. She is the first African-American to be invited to the board, which fills herwith pride.

She is at work on her sixth novel and is writing her first work of nonfiction. She is blessed to live and write on St. Simons Island, Georgia, along the Gullah-Geechee Corridor, where she always has greens growing outside her door.

The First-Time Author’s Survival Guide: Lessons Learned.

Celestial Holmes, known by the pseudonym Mbinguni, is a renowned author and multifaceted professional. With a background in computer programming and 15 years of experience as an Instructional Designer, Celestial has seamlessly transitioned into the realm of writing. Under the banner of NEW Reads Publications, her debut novel, Looking for Hope, captivated readers worldwide and has earned a prestigious 5-star rating on Amazon and GoodReads. Celestial’s talent and dedication have been acknowledged through distinguished fellowships, including the 2022 Hurston Wright Screenwriting Fellowship, the 2023 and 2024 Kimbilio Fellowship, and the 2024 Community of Writers Workshop.

In addition to her work as an author, Celestial is also a celebrated freelance writer and celebrity interviewer for, where she shares herunique perspectives on diverse topics. Furthermore, Celestial is widely recognized as a co-host on the immensely popular “Watch Dem Thrones” podcast, affiliated with the esteemed platform Black with No Chaser.

Driven by a thirst for knowledge and adventure, Celestial pursues various hobbies, including archery, horseback riding, and scuba diving. Born and raised in Fernandina Beach, FL, she attributes her passion for storytelling to her grandparents, whose love for reading, film, and television inspired her from an early age.

How to Find the Story…and How to Understand Where Your Voice Will Take You: Thoughts on Research, Structure, and the Discovery of a Novel.

Jonathan Rabb is the author of the novels Among the Living (a finalist for the 2018 Townsend Prize for Fiction), The Second Son, Shadow and Light, Rosa(winner of the Director’s Prize at Semana Negra, 2006), The Book of Q and The Overseer. He has published short fiction and non-fiction in a number ofmagazines and journals, including The Oxford American, The Strand, Lit Hub, Opera News and the Journal for Interdisciplinary History. He originated the role ofFermat in the Off-Broadway production of Fermat’s Last Tango, and has soloed with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, the Albany Symphony, and theHarrisburg Symphony, among others. He has taught at NYU, Columbia and is currently a Professor of Writing at The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). He has a BA in political science from Yale and an MA and MPhil in political theory from Columbia. He is currently at work on his next novel, which takes place in Venice 1607.