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The Writing Retreat

A Novel

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About The Book

“Darkly satirical and action-packed....An absolutely splendid debut!” —Wendy Walker, nationally bestselling author of Don’t Look for Me

The Plot meets Please Join Us in this psychological suspense debut about a young author at an exclusive writer’s retreat that descends into a nightmare.

Alex has all but given up on her dreams of becoming a published author when she receives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: attend an exclusive, month-long writing retreat at the estate of feminist horror writer Roza Vallo. Even the knowledge that Wren, her former best friend and current rival, is attending doesn’t dampen her excitement.

But when the attendees arrive, Roza drops a bombshell—they must all complete an entire novel from scratch during the next month, and the author of the best one will receive a life-changing seven-figure publishing deal. Determined to win this seemingly impossible contest, Alex buckles down and tries to ignore the strange happenings at the estate, including Roza’s erratic behavior, Wren’s cruel mind games, and the alleged haunting of the mansion itself. But when one of the writers vanishes during a snowstorm, Alex realizes that something very sinister is afoot. With the clock running out, she’s desperate to discover the truth and save herself.

A claustrophobic and propulsive thriller exploring the dark side of female friendships and fame, The Writing Retreat is the unputdownable debut novel from a compelling new talent.

About The Author

Photograph by Savannah Lauren

Julia Bartz is a Brooklyn-based writer and practicing therapist. Her fiction writing has appeared in The South Dakota Review, InDigest Magazine, and more. The Writing Retreat is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @JuliaBartz and Instagram at @JuliaBartz.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Emily Bestler Books (February 21, 2023)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668021095

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Raves and Reviews

"THE WRITING RETREAT is a sexy, thrilling, compulsive mediation on art and competition amongst women who ought to be sisters, only something malignant gets in the way. I couldn't put it down."

– Sarah Langan, award-winning author of GOOD NEIGHBORS

"NIGHT FILM meets THE SECRET HISTORY in Julia Bartz’s bold, brilliant, and genuinely scary debut. THE WRITING RETREAT masterfully delivers everything thriller readers crave: palpable atmosphere, sinister characters, full-body chills, jaw-dropping twists, and stay-up-all-night suspense. I am obsessed with this book. I never wanted it to end."

– Megan Collins, author of THE FAMILY PLOT

"THE WRITING RETREAT by Julia Bartz is a wild ride from page one. I’ve been on a good few writing retreats myself and thought I’d seen it all - I was wrong. Blending themes of friendship, ambition, creativity and courage, this thrill-packed story brims with secrets, intrigue and murder. Bartz wrangles tension of the highest order, and executes a fiercely original story with vigour and style. A five-star read that’s intelligent, accomplished and exciting. I dare you to put it down."

– Janice Hallett, internationally bestselling author of THE TWYFORD CODE

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