Robin McLean

Robin McLean is a critically acclaimed and award winning writer who’s creative approach to teaching has led to sell-out workshops around the world.

You can find out more about Robin, her fiction, awards, interviews and writing retreat here.

Explore new artistic territory, excite ourselves and ignite our work.

About Robin

Robin McLean was a lawyer and then a potter for 15 years in the woods of Alaska before receiving her MFA at the UMass Amherst in Massachusetts. Her first short story collection Reptile House, twice a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award, won the BOA Fiction Prize and was named as one of the best books of 2015 in The Paris Review.

Her short stories have won acclaim and have been published widely, in such places as Cincinnati Review, The Common, and Carolina Quarterly


Robin has taught writing for the last ten years, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Montana Western, and most recently at Clark University. She has led retreats and intensive creative writing workshops across the US and in Europe.

Robin founded High Plains Writing and leads @ Ike’s Canyon Ranch in the high plains desert of central Nevada and around the world.

High Plains Writing Workshop Philosophy

To progress our craft, a writer needs both inspiration and time for new ideas to incubate, crack open and grow.  Immersive, week-long workshops in spectacular locations help us time travel, shape-shift and dream new dreams. 

To explore new artistic territory, to excite ourselves and ignite out work, a writer also needs a third element, a bit of pressure. We need risk in order to leave our comfort zones, our time zones, hemispheres. A little push off the cliff’s edge. 

About Reptile House

Winner of the BOA Editions Fiction Prize — May 2015.

A Best Book of 2015, The Paris Review “McLean does not shrink the world down to interpersonal conflict, but instead opens it up to achieve a cosmic perspective that somehow feels both dispassionate and compassionate (Chekhov’s trick). This opening up is wild, surprising, and not a little frightening. I suppose you could call these stories dark, but in their dazzling perspective I find them full of vitality and wonder.”

 “The workshop and the retreat I had with Robin were both transformative for me, and for my approach to writing and revising. The first focused on essence–how to home in on the emotional core of the story–and the second focused on voice–how to find a voice, a narrative approach to material, that distracts from any conscious intention. Both were incredibly clarifying and freeing–enabling me to step out sideways from my own work and making me feel the immense range of possibilities for language and story-telling. I don’t think I will ever be able to feel “stuck” again. And on a personal level, Robin is incredibly engaging, generous of her time and ideas, and flexible in her approach, with a sensitivity to the mood and needs of the workshop members.”

Rebecca Starks, poet, fiction writer, writing teacher, editor and Author of Time Is Always Now, forthcoming from Able Muse Press.

The July Writers Workshop (Silk Gowns and Cowboy Hats) at Ike’s Canyon Ranch with Robin McLean imparted the clarity I was seeking to develop my writing skills. Robin is a master teacher, encouraging me to delve into my subconscious mind to bring forth ideas, tales, and anecdotes. Her readings and writing exercises provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the various styles of the written word.  I encourage all wannabe and published authors to attend these workshops.  Robin’s teaching methods and encouragement will lead you into the deep recesses of your mind, producing outcomes you never thought possible.

Anna Goetz

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