The next of my three-day writing retreats will take place in February, 2023.


Don’t wait

If you want to work on your writing, don’t wait for news of the next workshop to be posted.  Contact Brenda at

Past Highlights

Pringle Bay Writing Retreat 14th – 16th April 2021.

A small group worked intensively on their research for three days. They came from three different universities – UCT, Stellenbosch and UJ. They worked on very different projects and topics – books, a journal article and a book proposal for a publisher. The next retreat will be held 8th – 10th September, 2021. 



Rhodes University Writing Retreat Hogsback, 2nd – 5th February, 2021.

A cohort of participants from the retreat at Port Alfred (below) participated and we were able to build on the previous work.   A writing retreat is all about intensive, hard collaborative work, but also about quiet undisturbed writing time and re-fuelling in beautiful surroundings.  


Rhodes University Writing Retreat Port Alfred, 1st – 3rd of December, 2020.

At the beginning of December, Brenda ran a three-day writing retreat in beautiful surroundings in Port Alfred, on behalf of the Director of Research at Rhodes University . The group consisted of nine academic colleagues, who presented the outlines of their current research projects. The majority were translating their Ph.D. into a book.

Participants gave each other feedback and worked collaboratively together. The cornerstone of the retreat was the search for the core purpose of their writing as they developed their own unique voices. What became clear was that the internship of the Ph.D. as compared with becoming fully fledged academic authors of their own books, requires a major shift.

ZAPP Southern African Poetry Project

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In 2020 Brenda was approached by the director of ZAPP (South Africa) to run writing workshops to help contributors to polish their drafts for submission to a Special Issue of Education as Change. Six writers participated and all of them produced final drafts which have been submitted for peer review. ZAPP is a joint-project of the Centre for Commonwealth Education (University of Cambridge) and the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits), to promote poetry in schools both in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Wits University Press

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In 2019, and continuing,  Brenda began a project with Wits University Press and the  Humanities Faculty at The University of the Witwatersrand entitled PhD to book conversion. She is currently working with three young scholars who produced great PhDs, which require ‘translation’ from the language of academic internship into the voice of an intellectual in their own right. This programme is part of a University, Department of Education and publishing goal to ensure that brilliant, qualified South Africans are able to be ‘in the pool’  when academic jobs are advertised.

New Materialisms Conference

In December 2019, Brenda ran a writing workshop for academic colleagues attending 10th Annual New Materialisms Conference on Reconfiguring Higher Education taking place at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town. This workshop discussed strategies of writing, which work against the powerful template, which dictates the acceptable form, style and substance of academic writing.

The workshop was an invitation to academic writers, who are bold enough to hunt for treasures that have been discarded and bounced from the knowledge archive. These exclusions occur for many reasons, always linked to power. The challenge is to turn these discards into inclusions. The further challenge is that to do so demands new ways of crafting academically. This core proposition is, of course, open to debate and discussion.

GetSmarter/ 2U Inc.

 Brenda ran training workshops for learning designers at the online learning company GetSmarter, now part of 2U Inc. She worked on the principle that learning designers needed to base their course development on the indivisible nature of forms of design and course content.

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University of Stellenbosch

In May 2018, Brenda ran a series of research completion workshops with colleagues from Stellenbosch University’s English Department. Participants pre-circulated drafts of a book chapter, journal article or book proposal for collaborative brain-storming and feedback. 

Harvey Mudd College, California

In April, 2018 Brenda was invited to run an academic writing workshop for colleagues from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont California. The purpose of the workshop was to assist colleagues in finding their research topic, a task that is more complex than it sounds!

ASSAR, University of Cape Town


In  2017 –  2018, Brenda was invited by ASSAR in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town,  to run a series of collaborative workshops. There were seven participants in the collaborative workshops, presenting papers for discussion on environmental vulnerability in semi-arid regions. Papers were presented on India, Namibia and South Africa.

Book launch: Floating in an Antibubble

In early May 2016, Clarke’s Bookshop hosted the launch of Brenda’s latest book, Floating in an Antibubble.  From South Africa to Salford, A Mosaic of Pictures and Stories”.  Publisher Kassahun Checole of Africa World Press flew from the US to Cape Town for the event.

Book launch May 2016

African Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation and Competence Building Systems

24th – 27th August, 2015, Brenda ran a four day writing retreat, a ‘writeshop’, on behalf of AfricaLics – African Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation and Competence Building Systems, an organization based in Nairobi.

The event was co-hosted by IERI – The Institute for Writeshop 2 (Aug 2015)Economic Research on Innovation, Tshwane University, where the writeshop was held. The event brought together six groups of researchers, from a range of countries across the continent. The groups are collaborating on various research topics relating to the issue of innovation and economic development.

Participants included emerging scholars still working on Ph.Ds and accomplished Professors with publication track records. The retreat enabled the groups to work together face- to- face and to transform their reports into more sharply focused papers for submission to journals. By the end of the four days, all the groups reported that they had made great progress towards publishing their findings.

Writeshop 1 (Aug 2015)

Salford, Greater Manchester, UK, Research Publication Completion Workshop 

On the 17th of July 2015 Brenda delivered on-line workshops to emerging scholars in four groups of three participants. Facilitated by Vera Barron, Research development manager, Salford University, the purpose was to take draft papers to the point of submission for publication.