Helsinki Writing Retreat

The retreat facilitation and structure is based on the model pioneered and developed by Professor Rowena Murray — with our own Nordic twist!

Do you have what writers need? Reach a very specific audience with a Writing Retreat promotion package.

Our partners

Jess Kelley AE

Jess Kelley (2018) photo credit:  Manka Photography

Jess Kelley (2018)
photo credit: Manka Photography

Jess Kelley is a highly accomplished, Helsinki-based editor and language advisor with 15 years of experience working across a broad range of industries. She holds accreditation from the Institute of Professional Editors (Australia) and a coaching certification from Genius Coaching (USA). She is an active member of various associations for language professionals around the world.

After securing her first editing position at the age of 17, Jess became chief editor for the journal of Mensa Australia — a position which became the perfect testing ground for working with people with exceptionally high standards. Since then, her varied career has seen her work for private direct clients, multinational companies and everyone in between.

A few of her roles include naturalising translations for a Michelin-starred chef; acting as a language advisor for Warner Brothers Australia’s TV show Child Genius; coaching a 10-year-old to develop his written expression; and mentoring startups to improve all aspects of their communication. 

Drawing on her wealth of experience with university students, professional authors, celebrity clients, the corporate world and beyond, Jess is a versatile language advisor who takes pride in being able to provide support and education to suit the diverse needs of her clients.

As the facilitator of Helsinki Writing Retreat, she has undertaken training with Professor Rowena Murray, who has pioneered and developed the retreat model in the UK for the past 15 years.

Learn more about Jess and her other projects at

Wambui Njuguna-Räisänen


Wambui has been an Ashtanga yoga teacher and practitioner for nearly a decade and was authorized to teach the Primary Series by R. Sharath Jois in 2016.

She began teaching Ashtanga yoga in 2011 at the Ashtanga Yoga School of Helsinki and leads regular workshops in Finland and Sweden. In addition, she co-teaches on workshops and retreats with senior Ashtanga yoga teacher, Petri Räisänen, who is also her husband. Together, Petri and Wambui approach the practice of Ashtanga yoga from a gently healing, inclusive and therapeutic perspective. Wambui edited the English version of Ashtanga Yoga: The Yoga Tradition of Sri. K Pattabhi Jois and translated (Finnish–English) Nadi Sodhana: Yoga in the Tradition of Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois. Many people start practicing Ashtanga yoga using her Half-Primary series video, which has garnered more than 1.1 million views.

Wambui was born in Nairobi, Kenya to an English–Danish mother and a Kenyan (Kikuyu) father. She was raised in the United States, has worked and lived in Chile and the United Arab Emirates and is now based in Helsinki, Finland where she lives with Petri and their two sons.

In addition to teaching Ashtanga yoga, Wambui also gives Chavutti Thirumal massage (by foot press) treatments, both in Helsinki and internationally, and applies aspects of energy healing and traditional Finnish bone-setting techniques into her treatments.  She has also assisted her teacher, Helen Noakes, on massage trainings. Wambui is also a Yin Yoga practitioner and regularly guides meditation and chanting sessions on yoga retreats. She speaks grammatically creative Finnish, decent yet underutilized Spanish, and a few random phrases in Kiswahili and Kikuyu.

When not practicing and advocating for honest self-care, Wambui is at home (and on the road) with her family, practicing the seventh series! She believes in travel as a wonderful way to keep her children’s worldview open, before setting roots down to write more, grow sunflowers and plant a lemon grove.

Learn more about Wambui and her other projects:

Emma Aho


Emma is a nutritionist who graduated from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Vancouver, Canada with First Class Honours in 2016.

Her passion in all things nutrition-related started from an early age, when she became vegetarian at the age of twelve. This encouraged her to start exploring the world of cooking, which is something that remains a creative pursuit of hers to this day. It was this passion, combined with an interest in health and fitness that led her to study nutrition and make it her profession. Since graduating she runs her private practise, as well as having worked in the supplement industry.

Emma uses a holistic approach when working with her clients; taking into account many different factors to tailor a personalized plan of action to suit the individual’s specific needs. She encourages her clients to thrive by implementing simple and attainable steps towards their health goals through one-on-one consultations. Although every plan or program created is unique to the individual, her focus lies on blood sugar regulation, stress management, digestive wellness and cognitive enhancement.

Originally from Finland, Emma was raised in the Netherlands and Hong Kong and is currently based in Berlin, Germany. Travelling has always been a large part of her life and continues to be an active pursuit of hers to this day. She is also passionate about languages and writing, and is fluent in Finnish, Dutch and German in addition to English. Movement is of great importance to her, whether this be through dancing, hiking, working out, practising yoga or biking, and when time permits she is also an avid reader.

Contact Emma 

Professor Rowena Murray

These retreats are based on the structured model pioneered and developed by Rowena Murray. Rowena is an academic writing expert with extensive knowledge and experience in writing retreats. She has published numerous books and academic papers on the topic. Rowena is currently Professor of Education, Director of Research, in the School of Education at the University of the West of Scotland, and Adjunct Professor at Swinburne University, Melbourne.



  • Master of Arts, University of Glasgow
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Pennsylvania State University
  • Postgraduate Certificate, Pennsylvania State University
Professor Rowena Murray

Professor Rowena Murray