Saturday, November 21, 2015

It’s that time of year again; time to think about following the Sun, south.

Change, as explained below, is happening at Los Parronales. The main vineyard in front of the house is now dismantled. Instead of arriving to pristine rows of vines growing along the wires, their leaves sprouting, visitors will face a grassy meadow! Nevertheless, the Sun will be shining, birds singing, flowers blooming in beds and hedgerows and in pots along the patio, but our best news is:
* * *
 Canadian writers/editors/publishers
Beth Follett & Stan Dragland
(seen here at a previous workshop)

will travel to Los Parronales in late January 2016
to work on their own writing projects, and in addition
will offer afternoons for private consultations and group discussions.
For anyone who cares to join us - as with previous more formal workshops -
there will be outings to Pablo Neruda’s houses, walks in the countryside or
up the hills adjacent to the property,
meals and informal conversation:
It will be a perfect brief or extended retreat for anyone who begins to envision
a chapbook or book-length project.
Fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction or memoir:
all genres welcome.
Please contact Susan Siddeley at for further information.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Late Sabbatical 

For the first time in ten years 2015 came without a literary session in the sala at Los Parronales. Gordon and myself were reduced to games of Scrabble and watching cats play.


Now, due to the rising cost of airfares and the rapidly changing nature of El Noviciado
from rural village to industrial estate, the 2016 Season is still to be determined.

Our retreats have been wonderful; inspiring and life-changing for all involved.
We hope to keep in touch with the many participants and friends we’ve made and
the writers and poets who took Los Parronales, El Noviciado and Pablo Neruda
away with them in the brilliant words they wrote.

To see the development of the programme for January/February 2016,
please check this blog and/or email, also receive updates on:

Ants, Bulls, Cacti, Dogs, Empanadas, Figs, Grapes, Huasos, Itineraries, Jumbo, Kettles, Lizards, Museums, Neruda, Owls, Poplars, Queltehues, Rabbits, Sofi, The Sotos, U-turns, Verbs, Wine, X-wrenches, Yelps (in the night) or Zip (from a glass of Pisco).

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Santiago in Summer

Santiago, Chile
The Best Place to be in Summer in January 2014! Because…
when we aren’t involved in morning writing-discussion sessions with top Writer/Editors Stan Dragland & Beth Follett, we shall be exploring the old City Centre with its paseos, museos and, the most stunning Metro in the world.
Gazing at the amazing tile and artwork, soaring ceilings and immaculate platforms you may well imagine you’re in the Sistine Chapel; except these galleries are subterranean and full of historical dioramas, giant frescos and historical exhibits.
Uptown, ultramodern towers with grassy sides and rooftops, malls to marvel at and (okay) mini-McDonalds outlets selling ice cream, promise a world class city. And, if that’s not enough, the Pablo Neruda house-museums await; two on the Pacific coast, cram-jam full of personality and poetry. What more?

Participants and facilitators alike agree that the Los Parronales workshops are a great way to come upon your writing afresh while experiencing the climate, wildlife, hospitality, and culture of Chile. ¡Muchas gracias Susan and Gordon! We'll never forget it. Don McKay and Marlene Creates
I did this workshop in 2011 (with Barry Dempster), and I must say, it was a glorious experience – working in a beautiful house with a pool, surrounded by vineyards, and the Andes in the distance… with some visits to Santiago and to various important spots, like Neruda’s home.  Maureen Hynes

My writing benefited greatly from Beth and Stan's complementary mentorship styles during the two week workshop. What a privilege and pleasure to work with them in the charming setting of Los Parronales! Good luck with the workshop Susan - what a lovely image I conjure up when I think of it. Jennifer Savidge

Saturday, November 09, 2013

As Winter Approaches...

...Why shake and moan in the cold that’s to come?
Fly South! And love feral words…in the sun
You can in Jan 2014 at Los Parronales
What others have said about us:

“Run, don’t walk, to sign up for a Los Parronales writing workshop. Situated in the middle of a vineyard, surrounded by the foothills of the Andes, it’s a bona fide paradise. My head is still spinning from the camaraderie, the field trips, the visits to Neruda’s houses, and the perfect weather. Life-changing things happen at Los Parronales!”  Barry Dempster
If you are able to go to this retreat in Chile, it will be a memorable thing. Beth Follett and Stan Dragland are extraordinary as people and as teachers. They will push you in your writing to the place you need to go. ronna bloom
The time spent in Los Parronales studying with Beth Follett and Stan Dragland was a great boost to my writing. Beth created an atmosphere of warmth and daring, encouraging us to discover hidden depths. Stan, just as warmly, provided a rich foray into language and literature. Both gave generously of their time, editing and re-editing with gentle insight and professionalism. I came home with several poems near-ready for publication, and a strengthened belief in my work. Cynthia French
For me, two weeks spent at Los Parronales under the mentorship of Beth Follet, basking in the hospitality of Susan and Gordon Siddeley, was a discovery of the importance of writing in my life and the realization that being "away" can really be the thing that brings you home. Beth has a quiet intensity that allows you to breathe deeply and listen and to begin to hear things that have always been there but have gone unnoticed; to pay attention to the meaning within the words.The day trips to Valparaiso, Isla Negra and Santiago and the homes of Pablo Neruda enhanced the experience, as did evening meals around the family table at Susan and Gordon's. A fabulous experience in every sense. Janet Hepburn
I never knew I could write anything as beautiful as I did at Los Parronales with Beth and Stan.  R. Rubenstein (2009)

(Keep scrolling down to check older posts)



Tuesday, October 01, 2013

2014 New Workshop

 Beth Follett and Stan Dragland are back!
at Los Parronales - Jan 19th - Feb 1st 2014
Join them – in their second Spirit Level workshop, with even more time to discuss, participate in ten morning round-table sessions, write under the trees by the pool, make notes and explore the Chile’s Central Valley. And… as an extra, for those who want and can, this year we’re offering a "tag-on". An extra 3-day excursion in the North of Chile exploring the mystique of the Elqui Valley, including Monte Grande, birthplace of Gabriela Mistral, a world renowned Nobel Prize-winning poet.
email: Susan at

Monday, July 15, 2013

We're still here!

The 2013 Workshop is Over…
Another amazing ride with Poets and Authors, celebrating Writing in Chile.
The pool rippled, the roses bloomed and the owl looked down with gaudy yellow eyes.
Alejandra’s twins in sombreros and ponchos were the new participants in the Despedida
show, which 13-year old Ivan choreographed with his usual verve.
With figs, plums and pears fallen, and the grapes harvested, words loiter everywhere,
waiting to be arranged…same time next year…

After a rest in Toronto and a visit to England we're now thinking about 2014
Please watch this space for information & updates on future
Los Parronales Workshop Retreats

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Santiago Writers & NAWG

Santiago Writers & the 2012 National Association of Writing Groups Anthology Competition

Comments on the winning entry: from EDWG (East Dulwich Writing Group)
“Perspectives by Santiago Writers, was the hands-down winner. What we loved about this collection was the sheer reading pleasure it provided. The writing in all the short stories and poems was polished and highly engaging. There was a variety of voices, from writers of all ages and differing degrees of experience. This was not a collection by a group of professional writers but, from the quality of the work, it could have been. There were stories and poems that lingered long in the reader’s mind. Much of the writing was beautifully evocative of place, with powerful sensory imagery and description ripe with emotional weight. In other words, we loved it.”
An important part of the success of the Santiago Writing Group since 2005, has been the local workshops led by professional Canadian and English writers visiting Los Parronales. Living rather isolated (writing) lives, the annual January sessions have been and both utterly instructive and inspiring for group members honing their craft.
Latest opportunity to join us… see January 2013 details below.
Email: for details