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Participants Comments from previous workshops:



Butler has changed the way I look at my work and challenged me to go into more depth and to question what I am doing. Both in the sessions and through reading his book I gained valuable insights as to how to work with one’s unconscious and introduce “yearning”, and how to  avoid abstractions and explanations. I got a lot out of this workshop. Marylle Goumas

It has been wonderful Amalia. Overall it exceeded my expectations, mostly because of the warmth and support of the group as we have all gone on a personal journey. Butler’s experience in the movie world helped a lot with my needs in screenwriting.  The workshop hours, amount of free time, day trip to Hora, staff service and set up were all spot on.  The food was consistently great. Thank you so much for your efforts. Allison Bullock

 Amalia you did a fantastic job, you were wonderful. Workshop: material covered, excellent, difficult, no-nonsense, beneficial. Georgia Lee

 This was a wonderful, life changing experience. I understand that each workshop is different, depending on the instructor and mix or participants but for me this workshop was near perfection and the island, hotel, room, view and staff were perfection. The meals were delicious. This is my first workshop and I now understand that writing is intense and time must be made for the solitude writing demands. The one day off going to the other side of the island was absolutely fabulous. Bravo Amalia.  Jacquie  Hoskins

Amalia,  you are the white hot center of the workshop. Dawn Sandoe



2011 AAC

Writing can be so lonely at time, but that feeling can be easily dispelled in Andros at the Aegean Arts Circle.  I've attended four workshops there which have helped me enormously to finish two novels and begin a third one. Its amazing how Amalia, the Director, finds such convivial leaders and attendees.  These people have been an inspiration, and I much appreciated the different slants of the so well qualified leaders.  There is no simple explanation to my ecstasy for the place.  It could be the excellet accommodations, the sumptuous food and drink, the sea, the fine museums, the art, the simple elegance of the Greek way and the Greek Light.  Whatever.  Let's just attribute it to the magic of the Greek Islands.      J N Pratley



My time there on Andros changed the direction of my writing, gave me time to find myself and my own voice.  The time there seems as if it was yesterday and I bask in it constantly.  It was a turning point in my creative life.....even so that I felt free to ride a motorcycle around the Aegean sea, and in the mountains.  A freedom took place in me that has not left.




The environment inspired me to write two new poems, (one about the view of Andros from my hotel balcony, the other inspired by visiting the local bank downtown) which I have revised and are ready to send out. I write better because I think of the group as part of my audience and therefore write up to their expectations. The stimulation of the workshops and the peace I found on the island when I was writing and exploring made my visit unusual and highly inspiring. In Andros, I was in a kind of Eden; long vistas of blue water, sky, geraniums, and island outcroppings from my terrace, delicious, abundant food, sunshine and starry skies, companionable writers and instructors. My thoughts ran deep, my writing kept up with my thoughts, I wrote and I read, I had time, a precious commodity for a writer, and someplace new to inhale and explore.   What else could a writer ask for? 

 Each day was special. Before and after our workshops I was free to swim in the pool or the sea, take a walk, write and read or just talk about writing with the other participants. The meals were astounding, marvelous vegetables, pasta, Greek salads, fish, chicken, everything. Platters and platters of food brought to us by congenial waiters. Even champagne and a chocolate birthday cake brought to me as an after dinner surprise!  We all ate together, the instructor and the participants. The instructor made himself available to us during breaks and at our meals. So did Amalia, the director. We also had lots of time to walk into town, browse the streets, take photos and write on our terrace or in a coffee shop downtown.  Amalia arranged for us to go to her parents’ side of the island for a remarkable home made lunch at her parents’ house, (a tremendous highlight of the trip.) She also arranged museum visits as well as a walking tour of a larger town on the island.  I loved sitting along the waterfront, in the town closest to our hotel, watching the ferries slip into port, sipping an iced coffee frappe and later, on the walk back to the hotel, eating Gelato from the local ice cream parlor in the late afternoon. Our dinners weren’t until 10, so I didn’t spoil my appetite! 

Although I was in the thick of finishing my novel about a second generation Holocaust survivor, I wrote the poem below while I was in Andros last summer. What a surprise! 

I am the workshop leader for 2006 and I will help my writing students experience their own surprises this summer and assist them in unlocking the cupboards in their lives and in their writing.   June Gould 2005 Participant - 2006 & 2007 Workshop Instructor



I was reluctant to leave my own little Greek island where I was writing quite happily on my own, and I’m so glad I did!  For me the one word that describes an Aegean Arts Circle workshop is generosity—of spirit and place, of the accommodations and the hotel staff, and in Amalia’s willingness to share with the group many cultural opportunities in Andros and her love of her ancestral home.  This brings out the best in writers—we work hard and play hard while we’re together and we leave with the renewed strength to carry on.

Elissa Raffa  (2003 AND 2004 participant)


Here are some impressions from Andros: 
My time as a writer on the island of Andros with Aegean Art Circle was transformative.  Our workshop was taught by a master writer in an extremely supportive and relaxing setting.  Dorothy Allison was extremely generous and tough.  For me personally, she affirmed my strengths as a writer and encouraged me to write the book I am now working on.  When I arrived on Andros this book did not exist. I received a new creative direction from a master writer and teacher.  I trust Amalia to seek out and obtain top notch teachers in the future.  Her standards are standards I trust.
In addition, the entire staff of Andros Holiday was gracious and friendly.  They have an excellent working relationship with Amalia and were always surprising us with plates of fruit or delicious Greek delicacies at dinner.  Amalia, also bent over backwards to make sure I had everything I needed and was comfortable.  She arranged a special music concert for the group, towards the end of our workshop, with a top performing Greek vocalist.  The only thing lacking was more time to revel in the atmosphere of supported hard work.  To me, the Aegean Arts Circle workshop was everything a writer needs: inspiring, challenging, supportive and fun.  I recommend it without any reservations. 

Leslie Absher ( 2004 Participant)



…..And will I go back to Greece?  I count on it, and though today’s grayness and 12 degree temperature make Andros seem fantastic not real, I expect it to be life-changing once again.  I just want to fill the next months with work so two weeks in June/July won’t be the only time “to write my city” and its boats.

 Lee Gruzen (2003, 2004 and 2005 participant)



Thank you, Amalia, for hosting the most wonderful writing workshop I've ever attended.  And I'm talking in 16 years!  I still marvel at the affordable price -- and for all we got!!  I badly needed a jumpstart on a rewrite of my novel, and you and the rest of our amazing group helped me do that!  I can't thank you enough.  Plus we formed such a strong bond while there, our group continues to reach out to each other, even seven months later as I write this.  Building a strong, supportive community is one of the many perks of attending your fine Aegean Arts Circle workshop. I'd come back in a heartbeat!  It's a steal for what you get.  You'd pay that much for just a room and meals -- much less the workshop -- oh my gosh!!

And, Andros, oh, my goodness - Andros!  How beautiful!  I will never look at the color blue the same again!   

 Brenda McClain ( 2004 Participant)



I have nothing but praise for Amalia's Aegean Arts Circle. Amalia has a knack for bringing people together and from day one our meeting place felt safe, inspiring and full of good will.  The group produced such energy that for the first summer in years I resisted the urge to have a siesta and instead wrote several chapters of a new book.  Our workshop not only got me going, it kept me writing after it was over.  Great swimming and lingering over good food with new friends were even more fun after such hard, satisfying work.  All in all, it was the highlight of my summer -- even beat the Olympics.

 Diana Farr Louis ( 2004 Participant)



If a writer set out to imagine the perfect setting to stretch his or  her imagination, it would be hard to match the offerings of the Aegean Arts Circle. The entire experience is a labor of love, a dream come to life on the part of its founder, Amalia Melis. Amalia offers participants the ideal setting to compose one's thoughts -- a balcony overlooking the Aegean, lovely gardens and walks, colorful foods and wines, and best of all -- outstanding instructors, rigorous classes with supportive writers. Here, one can reach the best that is in them. I will definitely return and would recommend this program without hesitation.

 Catherine Pyke  (2004 Participant)



Diary Entry, Angela Cole, 2004 Participant

One would think it would be with the greatest of ease that I could find words to describe the past 72 hours, full to overflowing with images, peoples, languages other than my own, smells, tastes, and emotions – those many, conflicting, powerful emotions: Elation at the fulfillment of a 15-year dream to travel to this exotic, remote locale; anguish at placing my writing - my story – my life – in the hands of perfect strangers; and a deep, underlying sense of accomplishment at having created that very story to hand over to those perfect strangers.

From the moment this journey began at 0600 hours Thursday morning, June 17th in the quiet, waterfront hamlet of Surry, Maine, it has been nothing short of amazing – exhausting, challenging, relentless at times – yet remarkable at every turn. In the past seventy-two hours, I have set foot on the soil of three countries, flown three planes on two very different airlines, seen the dance of dolphins in the deep Aegean Sea, and had my tongue titillated with the tastes of vegetables and cheeses and meats and wine of another culture entirely.

Trapped in the galley on my KLM flight from Amsterdam to Athens with a wonderful, young Norwegian man, he inquired in faltering English, “Why you go to Athens?” to which I replied, “I am participating in a writer’s group, but I am so tired I think it shall take me a few days to be able to write,” I confessed with no small amount of trepidation. He nodded his head in an understanding gesture and then said, “In your country, they tell story of chief who go to Washington to meet with your president. He made travel on iron horse and very tired when he get there. Soldiers take him to president and say he must meet then, but he refuse, looking at president and say, “I must wait for my soul to catch-up with my body.” The young man then looked me dead in the eye and said, “You must wait for your soul to meet you in Greece – then, you write.” In this moment, even in my current state of fatigue, I have never felt more flourishing – as a woman, as a human being, as an artist – and, so, I write once again. Welcome to Greece, my soul; it is good to have you home again.


 Aegean Arts Circle


       Creative Writing Workshops in Greece

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This site was last updated 05/21/13