General Manager Adrian Stivala of Forever Bungalows

General Manager Adrian Stivala at Forever Bungalows

October 24, 2017
By Michelle Trauring
The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

In the literary world, fiction writers are rock stars.

They have legions of fans, midnight releases, film franchises and merchandise—or, at the very least, a loyal readership.

The same cannot be said of nonfiction writers.

“They are the workhorses of the world,” according to Donna Kaz, the director of the inaugural Sag Harbor Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference. “We’re the journalists, we’re the essayists, we’re the content writers for websites and blogs. There is a need for a conference focusing on nonfiction, which is why I’m so excited about this.”

On Thursday, November 2, Sag Harbor hotel Forever Bungalows will transform into a three-day writers’ workshop and retreat, hosting 14 new voices from New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Ohio to Alabama, Colorado, Idaho and Florida, Ms. Kaz said, with a focus entirely on creative nonfiction.

“There really are no creative nonfiction workshops,” said Jennifer Brooke, a co-owner of Forever Bungalows. “Usually, nonfiction is the vegetable on the plate, and the entrée is fiction. I write memoir and essays, and I like the idea of making art out of truth. To have a workshop focused entirely on that, and not the lesser sibling to fiction, is very interesting.”

Author Patricia McCormick will speak at Forever Bungalows

Author Patricia McCormick at the Sag Harbor Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference

Under the watchful eye of Forever Bungalows general manager Adrian Stivala, the conference will follow a tight schedule, including peer reviews and critiques of works-in-progress, author talks with Roger Rosenblatt and Patricia McCormick, panels on publishing, productivity and craft, and even a slam.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out. I’m definitely intrigued by the focus on creative nonfiction, because the phrase itself is contradictory,” Mr. Stivala said. “This is one of the many ways we’re trying to anchor ourselves into the creative fabric of Sag Harbor and to engage with the community, certainly during the off-season.”

The location made perfect sense to Ms. Kaz, who sees the eco-hotel as a “cozy place for people to gather and exchange ideas, to get away from their lives for 72 hours and just focus on being a writer.”

“I don’t know who said this first, but this is one of my favorite lines of all time that I talk about whenever I teach: ‘An idea kept inside one mind develops slowly,’” she said. “This is a chance for writers to spark ideas by sharing their work with other writers.”

The group workshop environments will be constructive and encouraging, she said, though she still expects the writers—who were hand-picked from a batch of applicants nationwide—to be nervous.

“You know, it’s very scary to be in workshop, to present something that’s not polished, that you’re in the middle of working on, that you need help with,” Ms. Kaz said. “But I’m trying to create a very supportive, positive atmosphere at the conference, with a total dedication to nonfiction, memoir, autobiography, essay and true crime.”

From nearly the second they step foot on the property, the writers will be at work, she said, and she doesn’t expect them to stop until Sunday afternoon.

“It’s really jam-packed. It has to be,” she said. “It’s 72 hours, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day, of just talking about writing, actually writing, critiquing writing, listening to writers, listening to people about the business of writing.

“I really wanted to make it as compact and get the most out of that time,” she continued. “Once they leave, they will have a whole lot of knowledge about their own work, and about the business of being a writer.”

The inaugural Sag Harbor Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference will be held from November 2 to November 5 at Forever Bungalows in Sag Harbor. For more information, visit foreverbungalows.com/sag-harbor-creative-nonfiction-writers-conference.

A Review from JETSETTER GUIDES: Your Summer Guide to the Hamptons

We’ve teamed up with our friends at Rachel Zoe to bring you the best of where to eat, sleep, play and party in the Hamptons. Pack your bags: this is your best summer ever. By Siobhan Reid

Forever Bungalows: The charm of the roadside motel is alive and well at this lovingly restored sleep—a collection of six detached bungalows and 8 hotel rooms just off Route 114 in Sag Harbor. The budget-friendly accommodations are simply-decorated, but have free WiFi, eco-friendly toiletries and bucolic views of the surrounding six wooden acres. Rent a cruiser from the hotel and explore nearby Main Street or Havens Beach (just 10 minutes away).

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Glamping Hub LogoGlamping has never been so stylish! This article is from Glampinghub.com.

Book a stay at Forever Bungalows. From Manhattan, board the Hampton Jitney on 86th and Second Avenue to travel three hours to the tip of Long Island, arriving at a town called Sag Harbor. The bus ride will be smooth and relaxing, as an exotic girl with an accent will come around a few times to offer snacks, bottled water and The Wall Street Journal for your pleasure. The weather will be around 70 degrees and sunny with clear skies when the bus finally pulls up to the center of town, just a few yards from the Marina. Hail a weird cab ride ten minutes to Forever Bungalows, your official camping site for the night. Stop by the front desk to get all your glamping essentials: a key to your bungalow and beach towels. Fill up your water bottle at the front desk, because it’s camping and you don’t have a kitchen. Inquire about food and other necessities, because it’s camping and the nearest gas station is a few miles away, plus if you don’t have a car, you’ll probably have to walk or take an expensive cab ride. Drop your luggage off in your room, which will be comfortable without the mini bar.

Change into your bathing suit and sneakers because the next thing on your agenda will be the secret beach. Pack your beach bag with sunscreen, a bottle of wine, plastic cups, snacks, sunscreen, a float and speakers to play music. Oh and don’t forget a towel! Ask the front desk to draw you a map to the beach and help access the bikes from the shed. This two mile bike ride consists of dirt, uphill paths, bumpy roads and messy hiking trails. Watch out for golf balls when you ride through the Sag Harbor Golf Club and other animals crossing. Arrive at secret beach about ten minutes later. The scenery will change from a forest to an opening view of the bay. You just know you’re at this Secret Beach when you see an opening to get on the beach. Pick a spot. It will mostly likely be you and your lover. For fearless beach goers, swim up to the sand dunes, located about 200 yards from the beach. Hang out until the sunset, but leave before night falls because there are no lights back to your bungalow. Change for dinner and light a fire and grill food or walk two miles to the nearest restaurant. Watch TV or surf the net until you fall asleep in a comfortable bed. Wake up and head to the front desk (Hello Lounge) with your Forever Bungalow mug for coffee or tea, and start the day at the beach, again!

A Hotel that feels like homeWe were just featured in The Southampton News in an article by Alyssa Melillo.

In the summer of 2012, Sag Harbor residents Jennifer and Beatrice Alda started a project that was quite different from creating motion pictures for their independent film company, Forever Films Inc.

Having traveled to many different countries to promote their movies, Ms. Brooke and Ms. Alda, the daughter of Alan Alda and his wife Arlene, often stayed at smaller boutique hotels, where the comforts of home and the charm of the cities in which they were staying created an experience that they wanted to replicate in their hometown. “There just wasn’t anything like that around here,” Ms. Brooke explained. READ MORE