Ireland: The Creative Writer's Workshop

Exciting Winter Break

Irene Graham's Creative Writer's Workshop study abroad program guides you through simple and fun right-brain/left-brain exercises, which draw upon your imagination as you learn the principles of story and express your creativity through writing fiction, memoir and autobiographical fiction.


Street musicians in downtown Galway

New, emerging and advanced writers are offered the opportunity to explore fiction and life experiences through the creation of story, in a chosen genre, be it Literary Fiction, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Memoir, Crime, Children's, Popular Fiction etc.

The aim of the program is to trigger and deepen imaginative concepts, strengthen writing voice and enhance inherent creativity so that you understand story and learn how to write best sellers. The program also includes private story consultations.  Students are welcome to develop a concept they have previously worked on, or use the workshop to access new writing concepts.

The writing program also includes guided mythology walks and talks to ancient sites on Inis Mor Island and an exploratory adventure in the Burren landscape.

Markree Castle

Doolin Castle looking out to Aran Islands



view from a cafe in downtown Galway An Irish House

Required Reading

  • Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. London: Flamingo, 1997

  • The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. New York: Scribner, 2006

  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. New York: Little, Brown & Co, 2009

  • The Memoir Writing Workbook by Irene Graham (provided in Ireland)

Recommended Reading

  • Best American Essays introduced by Cheryl Strayed. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013

Photo of Irene Graham

Irene Graham

Irene Graham, founder of The Creative Writer's Workshop studied many genres of writing (Fiction Writing, Autobiographical Writing, Screenwriting, and Writing for Children) in the UCLA extension programme in Los Angeles in the late 80's. Throughout this same period on the West Coast, Irene studied and trained in complementary methods of learning – particularly cognitive learning skills (Howard Gardner – Multi-Intelligences) and Psycho-synthesis in Education (Roberto Assagioli). Following this study period, Irene founded The Creative Writer's Workshop, which is now an internationally renowned course and retreat for new and established writers. She is also the Founder of The Memoir Writing Club and author of The Memoir Writing Workbook.

Photo of Lisa Lister

Lisa Lister

Lisa is a writer, writing teacher and avid reader. She's the Assistant Director of Composition at George Mason University, where she also teaches literature and creative writing classes. She mentors graduate TAs and teaching faculty for the composition program and as a Faculty Fellow in Mason's Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence. She has an MFA in creative non-fiction from American University and is an Associate Editor of Non-Fiction at The Potomac Review. She has done freelance writing and book reviews for several local publications. 

Tentative Dates: TBD

You should plan to leave the United States at least one day prior to the program start date to arrive in Ireland for the first day of the program. You can schedule your return to the United States from Ireland for the last day of the program or choose to travel independently.

Do not purchase your international airfare until you are advised to do so by your Program Officer.

Program Fee: $TBD

The Center for Global Education Program Fee includes:

  • Tuition

  • Housing

  • All breakfasts

  • Guided tour W.B. Yeats

  • Guided walks to ancient sites on Inis Mor Island

  • Transportation during program - private coach transport from Galway to Listowel to Cliffs of Moher/Doolin, ferry to Inis Oirr and Mor Island, ferry/bus return to Galway City, coach to Sligo , coach to Westport

  • Welcome and End of Program Celebration Dinners

  • Tickets to Listowel Literary Festival

  • Guide on Inis Mor and Yeats Countryside Tour

  • Copy of The Memoir Writing Workbook

  • Administrative services in Ireland and at George Mason University

  • Pre-departure orientation

  • Emergency medical insurance, including medical evacuation and repatriation


Scholarships are available to George Mason students through the Center for Global Education as well as through outside resources.

CGE Scholarships

Open to George Mason University students who participate in CGE Winter Break and Summer Programs. CGE Scholarship amounts range from approximately $250 to $1,000 and are both merit- and need-based. Students who are awarded a Global Scholarship may volunteer to assist CGE in the promotion of study abroad upon their return.

CGE Scholarships Information Page

Financial Aid

Mason students may also use financial aid (external link to FAFSA Student Aid) to cover a program's cost. If you are not a George Mason university student check with your study abroad office or office of financial aid to learn more about how to cover the cost of your study abroad.

How to Apply

Consult the How to Apply section for detailed instructions.

  1. Start by completing the online application.

  2. Pay the $150 registration and processing fee ($200 for non-Mason).

Note that all supplemental documents are required by the application deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Contact the Program Officer for further application forms and instructions specific to your program.

*CGE reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, or any other unforeseen circumstances.