Black Pens 2022

Black Pens 2022

The inaugural retreat

Wasing Estate in Berkshire was the venue for the first Black Pens Retreat


Wasing Estate

Black Pens 2022 was held at the picturesque Wasing Estate, a stunning rural and tranquil setting committed to sustainability where we were able to live up our Lady of the Manor dreams to the fullest.

Good times had by all

We ate, we drank, we ate some more…

Black Pens 2022 took place July 18th-21st. 22 Black womxn convened at Wasing on the hottest days of the year to talk, laugh and learn. Generously provided with air conditioning units by the venue and served breakfast, lunch, a four-course dinner every evening and snacks, it can be confidently stated that the first retreat was a resounding success. Ensuring that dietary needs were met, that attendees tasted the best means prepared by an award-winning executive chef, and that a cheeky cocktail or two was on hand meant that everyone left satisfied. Wasing has achieved organic status and offers the freshest ingredients not only from its very own land but also from established local producers and neighbouring counties.

Lunch at Wasing
Lunch at Wasing

Speakers & education

We listened, we learned, we laughed…

Black Pens attendees were lucky enough to learn from speakers who lent their expertise to the retreat. Sareeta Domingo, Editorial Director at Trapeze Books; Jade Bentil, renowned writer, historian and feminist, Amy St Johnston and Monica MacSwan, agents at Aitken Alexander, and Shani Akilah, co-founder of Nyah Network, all delivered sessions which covered topics such craft, methodology and the submission process. Attendees also had the option of solo writing or group writing sessions culminating in nightly viewings of Love Island (because, of course).

Shani Akilah speaking at Black Pens

Making it happen

Sunny days and sponsors…

Dealing with unforeseen forty-degree days meant that some last minute contingency planning was required. Thankfully, Wasing Estate sports its very own private lake which we were able to secure to provide some relief from the scorching temps. It was a welcome respite and a lot of fun!

Black Pens would not have been possible without the amazing support of our sponsors whose generosity resulted in scholarship places, books, submission avenues, and the most epic of goodie bags.

Lake-time fun


A wonderful, restful, invigorating, safe and fun time was had by all 2022 attendees. The aim is for 2023 to be even better, and plans are underway for possible expansion. The enjoyment we experienced would not have been as abundant as it was without the professionalism, friendliness and dedication of the Wasing staff. From start to finish, the personal touches they included made us feel welcomed and so well looked after. A true dream venue to kick off Black Pens.

2023, we go again!