A summer retreat opportunity for writers focused on animal rights literature

In For Writers, Writing Opportunities by John Yunker

The 300-acre Camp Muse at Shin Pond, Maine, is the site of a Summer Retreat Program for writers, scholars, artists, educators, and other cultural producers and knowledge workers focusing on animals and/or their humane treatment. The program, operated by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), invites all interested parties to apply for a residency at the property, which is open between July 1 and September 30, 2013.

Camp Muse, a wooded retreat at the edge of a pristine and peaceful pond just ten miles from the northern entrance to Baxter State Park, offers an idyllic atmosphere for research, contemplation, writing, and other creative work. The purpose of the program, operated through the generosity of longtime HSUS board member K. William Wiseman and his wife Madge, is to encourage scholarly, cultural, and practical projects relating to animals, and to provide a site for enhanced productivity on such projects.

For views of the property, and other details, see:


Applications for use of the Shin Pond property are evaluated by an ad hoc committee at The HSUS.

There is no application form to submit, but the applicant must present:

  • a statement of interest that includes relevant information on the project he/she intends to pursue;
  • the specific work product that will be produced during the retreat period;
  • details of the likely outcome or application of the work undertaken or product produced at the retreat;
  • any applicable scheduling concerns or scheduling preferences; and
  • two professional references.

Applicants may be asked to submit copies of prior publications.

If approved, the applicant is expected to cover the costs of transportation to and from Shin Pond, local transportation while staying there, food, beverages, entertainment, recreational activities (including admission to nearby Baxter State Park), long distance telephone services, and all other costs connected with the applicant’s use of the property. The HSUS will, however, pay for local telephone service, electrical utilities, and routine maintenance.

Participants may take up to three household members (including spouses, significant others, and children) with them. Please note that because Camp Muse is a Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust-protected wildlife sanctuary, companion animals require specific prior approval and applicants may not be permitted to bring them. In all events, approved cats will need to remain indoors and dogs must be leashed or under voice control at all times.

The house at Shin Pond has the amenities common to any comfortable home, including all utilities and a full complement of furniture, kitchen ware, and other household equipment.

There is a telephone line and high-speed Internet access. There is convenient food shopping at Shin Pond Village and the town of Patten.

The broad guidelines for the kind of work appropriate to the retreat include:

  • major intellectual projects such as a book, a chapter on an animal-related topic, a case study, or an on-line course in animal studies.
  • projects of smaller scope and/or shorter duration

We prefer a commitment of at least two weeks. Requests for use of the property for shorter periods will be given lower priority. The property is not generally available for very brief stays, e.g., an overnight or weekend visit.

Limited financial support for travel will be considered.

Applications should be sent to Dr. Bernard Unti at The Humane Society of the United States, 2100 L Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20037, by fax to 301-258-3077, or email to bunti@humanesociety.org. Applications will be received on an ongoing basis beginning immediately.