Jo McDougall of Leawood, Kan., served as mentor for the retreat. A native of DeWitt, she has published five books of poetry. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas master of fine arts writing program and is associate professor emeritus of English at Pittsburg (Kan.) State University where she co-directed the creative writing program for 11 years.
McDougall works as a visiting writer and workshop director and offers a mentoring service for poets and writers. She has received awards from the DeWitt Wallace/Reader's Digest Foundation and the Academy of American Poetry as well as fellowships from the MacDowell Colony. She was recently named to the Arkansas Writers Hall of Fame.
Authors began each day with group activities designed to inspire and encourage creative thoughts followed by a time to write. The participants enjoyed lunch together each day at the Educational Center and ended the afternoons with a group meeting to reflect, share, and discuss the products and processes used by each writer.
The format allowed writers time to focus on their own creative interests, to receive feedback on their work, and to form relationships with other writers.
At the close of the retreat, the writers enjoyed a reading from three recently published authors. Donna Austin of Jonesboro, read from The Sunflower Principle; Freeda Baker Nichols of Clinton read from her novel, Call of the Cadron and McDougall read from her recently published memoir, Daddy's Money.
Writers' retreats are held three times a year at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott. The next retreat is scheduled for March 21-23, 2013. Those wanting more information may contact the museum at (870) 598-3487.