In Praise of Retreat is about the powers and pleasures of taking a step back from our everyday modern lives.


Blue Metropolis, Slow Series, April 29, 2021, 3 pm 
Rest & Recuperate panel discussion hosted by Shelley Pomerance with Jessica Lee (Two Trees Make a Forest), Torbjorn Ekeland (In Praise of Paths), and me! Register here.

Reviews, Excerpts & INTERVIEWS

Toronto Star/Hamilton Spectator: "embraces the idea of being alone...a peaceful read..."


Interviews: Sirius' Canada Talks and CBC Ontario Morning -
about In Praise of Retreat starts at 19 minutes.


Canadian Geographic
"An utterly engaging dive into our modern ways of retreat — where we go, why we’re drawn, and how it’s urgent"

Open Book
"The work of being alone, of escaping both external and internal noise, is very real, and hard, and necessary. We live in a time where we tend to, as MacLeod puts it, 'over-venerate the active and the social,' where intrusions are relentless and demands never-ending." Stacey May Fowles

Foreword Reviews
"The book's pace is smooth, and its diction is beautiful. Engaging intellectual curiosity pervades the book's historical elements, and its storytelling has a strong sense of place...."

The New Quarterly, "The Hermit Diaries"
"I’m looking out the window of my rented hermitage in Scotland’s northwest Highlands, a place apart. Open sky, the round-shouldered mountain and the shining loch appear in painterly swathes of blue and brown. Sheep and lambs dot the dun spring fields and in the small garden, high winds blast the daffodils."

Publisher's Weekly

"Anyone looking for a respite from everyday busyness or struggling through quarantine will be inspired by MacLeod’s fresh perspective on the benefits of solitude."

CBC Books' "Works of nonfiction coming out in 2021," and The Globe and Mail's Winter Books Preview: "Celebrate the possibility of inner adventure!"

Hamilton Review of Books -- Books and Beer:
What's Brewing This Spring?

Global News: "That got really existential really fast!"

Kingston Whig Standard: "Finding a New Dimension"

The New Quarterly, "Green Cathedral"

"The cabin is a mile down a winding logging road, deep in the green forest. There’s no running water, unless you count the creek, and no electricity. It’s far from everyone and everything."

Levitating Books

My book of short stories, The Animal Game, was named "one of the five finest debut collections" in spring 2016 by Toronto Star Books"This engaging debut collection features nine stories linked by their central characters.... The other constant in these stories is travel ...MacLeod, a Kingston writer, writes with insight and affection for her characters."

The Animal Game was featured in:

The Kingston Whig Standard:  "Geographies Inside and Out." "
I’m very interested in geographies, whether that means hitting the road to reinvent yourself, or the first geography, which is your own body,” says MacLeod.

Kingston Life, Spotlight, July/August 2016. The Animal Game “centres on the idea of physical, inner and imaginative geographies…I explore the alchemy of person and place; the reaction between people and the places they are in.”

“Great Reads,” Grapevine, Fall 2016
“The plot shifts back and forth through time and location, encouraging the reader to delve further into the rich lives of these well-developed, flawed, and interesting characters. MacLeod has an impressive eye for detail – her depictions of repeat visits to a tropical island are pure escapism – a great book to read once the chill starts to set in the air!"

Broken Pencil: “The Animal Game is a fine debut with clear, vivid writing and intensely realized characters” in which “the narrator comes to…appreciate how divergent individual perspectives can be, thanks to her experiences travelling and doing yoga.”

To order a copy of The Animal Game please contact me, as I have the last box!



My prose and poetry appears in many literary journals, anthologies, and magazines, and has been a finalist for prizes that include the CBC Literary Award, The ARC Poetry Poem of the Year, Malahat's Open Season prize, and The Writers' Union's Prose Award.


"What the pandemic has to teach us about

cultivating a comfortable solitude, Toronto Star 

"Even the Smallest," ARC Poetry, Best Poem finalist 

"Swans," Watch Your Head

“If I Stand Still,” Kingston Poetry Blackboard  

“Meditation on Stress,” (poem) abovegroundpress


I also teach workshops that combine writing & yoga, for small groups and for literary festivals, including Kingston Writersfest:

"Kirsteen MacLeod is a writer and yoga teacher who often combines her two passions, tapping yoga’s power for creative inspiration in her work and teaching others how yoga sparks more relaxed, effortless and imaginative writing."


Please visit my LinkedIn page