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International Writer's Retreat in Morocco.

International Writer’s Retreat
January 3rd - January 12th, 2020

With Professor Tawni Waters and MFA Program Director Carla Spataro

Image of Marrakech. There are cobblestone streets, and a yellow building on the left of the photo that says "Maison d'hotes Amssafah" which appears to be a hotel. A stone arch walkway decorated with various carved patterns in the center of the photo, and an old-fashioned street-side shop with wares displayed in woven baskets is on the right side of the photo.

The MFA in Creative Writing program at Rosemont College will offer its annual International Writer’s Retreat in January 2020. This year we will be traveling to Marrakech and Essaouira, Morocco. MFA in Creative Writing graduate credit, non-credit, and companion prices are available.


Airfare is not included
  • Graduate Credit Price: $3450 (includes tuition)
  • Non-Credit Price: $2900
  • Companion Price: $2400 

There are a very limited number of single rooms in Marrakech only for an additional fee of $300. If you are interested in a single room, please email the MFA program director for availability.

This trip has a limited number of participants. Once the trip is full we will open a waiting list. If a sufficient number of additional people want to come, we may be able to add them to the group.


Thursday, January 2nd, 2020 - Depart USA

Day 1: Friday, January 3rd, 2020 - Arrive in Morocco

  • Morning: Arrive in Marrakech, meet with CISabroad on-site program coordinator, then transfer to accommodations.
  • Afternoon: Group lunch and discussion or activity with Moroccan students.
  • Evening: Group Welcome Dinner and Orientation
  • Meals: lunch, dinner.
  • Transportation: Airport to accommodations (one group transfer via private coach); to visits and dinner (walking and private transportation).

Day 2: Saturday, January 4th, 2020 - Marrakech

  • Morning: Walking tour of Marrakech medina and historical sites, followed by a couscous lunch with a local family.
  • Afternoon: Class Time.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch.
  • Transportation: (walking and private transportation).

Day 3: Sunday, January 5th, 2020 - Marrakech

  • Morning: Jewish history walking tour, including the Jewish Cemetery and Synagogues.
  • Afternoon: Class Time.
  • Meals: Breakfast.
  • Transportation: (walking and private transportation).

Day 4: Sunday, January 6th, 2020 - Marrakech 

  • Morning: Visit the Majorelle Gardens and the Berber Museum.
  • Afternoon: Visit the Museum of African Contemporary Art.
  • Evening: Recommended Activity: Watch the sunset from a rooftop terrace.
  • Meals: Breakfast.
  • Transportation: (walking and private transportation). 

Day 5: Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 - Marrakech 

  • Day: Excursion to Tahannaout in the Atlas Mountains, spend time with a local family preparing and eating lunch, exploring the village, and tea and discussion with the village youth.
  • Evening: Return to Marrakech.
  • Meals: Breakfast.
  • Transportation: Marrakech to Tahannaout (private coach).

Day 6: Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 - Essaouira

  • Day: Travel to El Hanchane to meet with local women and children to learn about village life and how to shell Argan nuts and grind them to extract the oil. Visit includes lunch with a local family.
  • Evening: Drive to Essaouira.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch.
  • Transportation: Marrakech to Essaouira (private coach).

Day 7: Thursday, January 9th, 2020 - Essaouira

  • Morning: Enjoy a medina (old city) historical walking tour of Essaouira, followed by a camel ride on the beach.
  • Afternoon: Free.
  • Meals: Breakfast.
  • Transportation: (walking and private transportation).

Day 8: Friday 10th, 2020 - Essaouira

  • Morning: Class time
  • Afternoon: Traditional Moroccan Gnaoua music workshop
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Transportation: (walking and private transportation)

Day 9: Saturday, January 11th, 2020 - Essaouira

  • Morning: Class time
  • Afternoon: Free
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Transportation: (walking and private transportation)

Day 10: Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – Depart for Home

  • Morning: Check out of accommodations
  • Early Afternoon: visit Jemaa el-Fnaa square (time permitting) before heading for airport for return flights
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Transportation: Essaouira to Mrrakech and visits (private coach); to airport (one group transfer via private coach)

Tawni Waters, Professor

Picture of author and poetr Tawni Waters. She has black rectangular glasses on, and red hair.Tawni Waters’ debut novel, Beauty of the Broken, was released by Simon and Schuster in 2014. In addition to winning the prestigious International Literacy Association’s Award for Young Adult Literature, it won the Housatonic Book Award, was named an exceptional book of 2015 by the Children’s Book Council, was shortlisted for the Reading the West Book Award, and was included on the Kansas State Reading Circle List.

The novel was adapted for the stage and performed by Sacramento’s Now Here This and is being adapted for the screen by Jeff Arch, the screenwriter best known for writing Sleepless in Seattle. Her second novel, The Long Ride Home, was released by Sourcebooks Fire in September 2017.

She is the author of two poetry collections: Siren Song (Burlesque Press) and So Speak the Stars (Texture Press). Her work was anthologized in Best Travel Writing 2010, The Soul of a Great Traveler, and Monday Nights, and has been published in myriad journals and magazines. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans and teaches creative writing at various universities and writers retreats throughout the U.S., Europe, and Mexico.

Carla Spataro, MFA Program Director

Picture of Professor and MFA Program Director Carla Spataro, a blonde woman with black-framed glasses and a white turtleneck shirt/jacket.

Carla “C.J.” Spataro is the MFA program director at Rosemont College and the editorial director of Philadelphia Stories and PS Books. She is an award winning short story writer and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant winner.

Her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Phantom Drift, December Magazine, Italian Americana, Iron Horse Literary Review, Pithead Chapel, Permafrost, The Baltimore Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and others.

Poetry has appeared in Ovunque Siamo. Her work has also been anthologized in Another Breath, Forgotten Philadelphia, Extraordinary Gifts, and 50 Over 50. Several of her students have had books published by big five publishers and have won nationally recognized awards.