Conference Testimonials

To Sheila, Meg and Jack, thank you for being such good teachers and so inspirational.  I learned more in 3 days with you than I did at all the other conferences (3) that I have attended in the past 3 years.

— Mary Lou Todd

“I also wanted to thank you again for a great conference. Just days after meeting with you individually and Jack in the manuscript group I felt my writing turn a necessary corner. It is a great feeling except for the fact that now I`m writing late into the night!”

Pat La Pointe

What a wonderful weekend I had in Arizona! Once again the three of you gave a fabulous conference. You each bring a tremendous body of knowledge to those of us who aspire to the writing life, and your skill and kindness in teaching us makes the experience rich and pleasurable. Thank you so much. Each time I meet and work with all three of you, I gain skills, knowledge and an ever-increasing enjoyment in the process of writing.  See you at the next one! 

Carolyn TerryMore Testimonials >>

May 11-15, 2012 + optional trip to Izmir area, including Ephesus
Learn, Become Inspired, Build a Bridge to Another Culture

Conference Fee: $550
Optional Three-day add-on Trip: about $450

With Sheila Bender, Yesim Cimcoz and Susan Bono
Optional 3-Day Trip Extension to Ephesus Area May 16-18

Sheila Bender joins Susan Bono, editor of Tiny Lights, and Yesim Cimcoz of the Writing Istanbul Project in guiding poets and writers of personal experience in writing and touring the amazing city of Istanbul. We have an optional add-on trip following the workshop for those who want to see more of Turkey. Spouses, friends and partners are welcome to join us in activities surrounding our writing groups work.

For Writing Istanbul, we have a fabulous affordable residence, RoomsGalata, in the old city to meet in, as well as cafes to meet in, tours and in-city transportation arranged as well as help booking your room and airport pick up and drop off. The three-day add-on trip will be a wonderful customized tour easy to book. We have filled the Rooms Galata with our earliest registrants and now we are suggesting these hotels that are a short walk away:  Nuru Ziya Suites or  Stories Apart (make sure you choose the one in Kumbarachi).

During our time in Istanbul, we’ll be touring, writing, and meeting together, in groups led by our three instructors and aided by Turkish members of the Writing Istanbul project. We’ll meet all together, too, for workshops, sharing writing, and learning about personal writing in Turkey.

Some of our special activities include a whirling dervishes performance, a visit to a hamam (a Turkish bath), and a celebration dinner cruise down the Bosphorus.

Our Conference Agenda

This taste of Istanbul is not touristy. It allows participants a true feel for the day-to-day life of the city, while including important historical and civic sites.

First Night. Friday
Workshop opening in the residence cafe of Rooms Galata; faculty and participant introductions; meet Writing Istanbul guides.

Day 1, Saturday
09:00 – 11:00 Turkish breakfast and workshop
11:15 – 13:30 Walk through Taksim Beyo?lu and Galata
13:30 – 14:30 Meet for Lunch
14:30 – 16:30 Writing and Sharing at the Residence Cafe.
16:30 – 19:00 Free time
19:30 – 22:30 Dervishes show
More links: Beyouglu Galata

Day 2, Sunday
09:00 – 10:00 Breakfast at the residence, writing workshop
10:00 – 11:45 Visit Hagia Sofia Mosque
11:45 – 12:45 Visit the Underground Cistern
13:00 – 14:00 Meet for Lunch
14:00 – 16:00 Writing and Sharing
16:30 – 17:45 Back to residence
Evening FREE Options and guidance available for those who want to go out on their own
More links: Sultanahmet, the “Old City”

Day 3, Monday
09:00 – 10:00 Breakfast at the residence, writing workshop
10:00 – 10:45 Boat ride to Kuzguncuk on Asian Side
10:45 – 13:00 Walk around Kuzguncuk
13:00 – 14:00 Meet for Lunch
14:00 – 16:00 Writing and Sharing
16:30 – 17:45 Back to residence by boat
Evening: Hamam

Day 4, Tuesday
09:00 – 10:00 Breakfast at the residence and workshop
11:15 – 10:45 Go to the Grand Bazaar
10:45 – 13:30 Walk and shop around Grand Bazaar
13:30 – 14:30 Meet for Lunch (place to be announced)
14:30 – 15:00 Back to residence
15:30 – 18:30 Meet Turkish author and share writing
19:30 – 21:00 Festive last night Dinner

Link about how to dress!

Link about how to tip!

Link about bargaining for purchases!

Optional Add-on Trip

Day 1

Early morning pick up from our hotel with flight from Istanbul to Izmir. From there, transfer to Selcuk via air-conditioned bus. After checking into the Kalehan Hotel in Selcuk, our memorable visit to Ephesus will begin. The tour includes one of the Seven Churches of Revelation, the Temple of Artemis (One of the Seven Wonders of Antiquity) and the House of the Virgin Mary. Dinner and overnight in Selcuk.


Day 2

After breakfast, drive to Pamukkale to view the extraordinary formations of travertine and walk around the ancient city of Hierapolis, the Monument and Thermal Baths and the magnificent Necropolis, house of the dead. Return to Selcuk for overnight.

Day 3

After breakfast and checkout, a day in Selcuk to spend as you choose. This ancient city is full of Roman aqueducts, old fortresses, mosques, museums, and storks! Day tours to other nearby sites are also available through our travel agency. Depart Selcuk for an evening flight back to Istanbul. Transfer to your hotel included.

Cost: About $400 USD


  • Tours: Hotel pick up and drop off, English Speaking Tour Guide, lunch, Museum Fees, All Needed transportation by non-smoking and air conditioned tourist vehicles.
  • Hotel: Kalehan Hotel
  • Transportation: Return Flight Ticket between Istanbul and Izmir. Airport Transfers in Istanbul and Izmir
  • Taxes: Local Taxes and service charge.


Excludes: Tips to driver and guide, drink at lunch, dinner, personal expenses.

For those seeking overnight accommodations at the airports, we can offer suggestions through our tour group on this 3 day add on trip,

Email Writing It Real for more information and to reserve your spot. We are taking payment for the conference fee of $550 by check made out to Writing It Real and mailed to 394 Colman Drive, Port Townsend, WA 98368 by March 15. After that, the conference fee will be $575.