About Us

Our Origins

A former travel writer who loves staying at unique venues, founder Lauren Carter regularly attends writing retreats to help her immerse and focus on her own creative work. When Donna Besel invited her to co-facilitate Wild Writing in the Boreal at Falcon Trails Resort in 2018, she fully embraced the retreat planning adventure! Since then, she and Donna have made Wild Writing into an enriching annual weekend with repeat guests that turns five in 2024! An avid believer in the connection between nervous system health and creative flow, Lauren is committed to trauma-informed teaching and works with her event partners to spark atmospheres of safety, curiousity, support, and creativity at retreats. 

Our Mission

Wild Ground Writing hosts transformative creative retreats in beautiful and inspirational locations, including Lauren’s own 1.4 acre property with its restored tall-grass prairie and gardens. Lauren and her collaborators create weekend, day, and half day experiences that offer time, teachings, community, and support to help you nourish your writing and your writer self.   

Who We Are

Lauren Carter holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph and a certificate in teaching and training adult learners. Her latest book, the short story collection Places Like These was recommended as a Spring 2023 read by the Globe and Mail while her last novel This Has Nothing To Do With You won the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, when she also received the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer. Her debut novel Swarm appeared on the CBC Canada Read’s long-list, and she has published two poetry collections: Lichen Bright and Following Sea. 

She has studied creativity coaching with psychologist and coach Dr. Eric Maisel through the Creativity Coaching Association and has taught creative writing across North America and coached writers from around the world, including Syria, Qatar, and California. Writers she’s worked with have obtained agents, signed publishing contracts, won awards, and/or learned how to accept anxiety and settle more deeply into their work. She founded Wild Ground Writing in 2024.

Donna Besel loves writing of all kinds, and does workshops and presentations for schools, libraries, universities, conferences, and retreats. She grew up at West Hawk Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park and her “boreal stories” have appeared in various publications and earned national recognition. Her work has won the Prairie Fire Creative Nonfiction prize, the Great Canadian Literary Hunt, and has been longlisted multiple times for the CBC Literary Awards.The forests of Eastern Manitoba, where she has always lived, provide endless ideas and settings. Her first book, a collection of short stories called Lessons from a Nude Man, earned several award nominations. In 2021, the University of Regina Press published her memoir, The Unravelling: Incest and the Destruction of a Family.

Ariel Gordon (she/her) is a Winnipeg/Treaty 1 territory-based writer, editor, and enthusiast. She is the ringleader of Writes of Spring, a National Poetry Month project with the Winnipeg International Writers Festival that appears in the Winnipeg Free Press. Gordon’s essay “Red River Mudlark” was 2nd place winner of the Kloppenberg Hybrid Grain Contest in Grain Magazine and other work appeared this year in FreeFallColumba PoetryCanthius, and Canadian Notes & Queries. Gordon’s third collection of poetry, Siteseeing: Writing nature & climate across the prairies, written in collaboration with Saskatchewan poet Brenda Schmidt and will appear in fall 2023. Her second book of CNF, Fungal, will appear with Wolsak & Wynn in spring 2024.

Although neurotypical, Anita Allen is part of a vibrant neurodiverse family, a trait shared by at least one of the family pets. Her writing explores the intersection of neurodiversity and mental health, intergenerational trauma and breaking cycles. She has been offering writing workshops and retreats for the past six years, merging her passions for wellness and creativity. In 2023 she won second place in the Creative Non-Fiction Collective-Humber Literary Review Contest.

Anita is a Physiotherapist, Certified Coach, Co-Founder of Ignite Your Write, an Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA) facilitator and graduate of The Humber School for WritersThe Sarah Selecky Writing School, and Spark Your Story Intensive, where she received mentorship from award-winning Canadian authors Rowan McCandless and Nicole Breit.

In her spare time, she does laundry, procrasti-knits, and enjoys doggy cuddles.

Kerry Holmes, certified yoga instructor, goes by the mantra “give love, gather love.” She believes that yoga is for everybody and every BODY.  Whether sharing a challenging flow, spending time in stillness, or having fun with kids on the mat, Kerry‘s warm and inviting method of teaching will put you at ease. She offers many adjustments so that the pose fits your body and encourages yogis to truly listen to their body. Kerry has more than 200 hrs of certification which includes trauma-sensitive yoga through YogaFit. 

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Wild Ground Writing Retreats’ head office is located on Treaty One Territory, the traditional territory of the Anishnaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dene, and Dakota peoples and the homeland of the Red River Metis. As treaty people, we are grateful to make our home and livelihood on this land and endeavour to act in support of reconciliation.  

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A group of women writing around a long wooden table with windows in the background and wooden beams on the ceiling