Tart Testimonials

The following testimonials have come from past participants in my Five Nights, Five Tarts Workshop for Writers. Openings are currently available.

Writers write any which way.
Some write word by word,
Some write bird by bird,
And some write a tart at a time.



A Patient and Insightful Guide

Devon is a patient and insightful guide, able to zero in on a writer’s unique point of view. She often hears what writers are trying to say before they are aware of it themselves. Devon listens to and reads writers’ words with the utmost compassion and sensitive insight. When writers come to sit at her table to write and read their work together, magic of a tribal sort happens, all thanks to the respectful space Devon creates for writers to come and work alongside each other and under her astute guidance. Devon is not just an excellent teacher and guide, she is also a catalyst for deep, personal discovery to take place. Devon is a unique mentor, friend, guide and teacher for writers of any level. 

— Aubrey Thorne



Graceful, Intuitive and Incisive

If you’re thinking of finally sitting down to write, of giving yourself that gift, there is no better guide than the graceful, intuitive and incisive writer and teacher Devon O’Brien.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t come to Devon as a beginner, and I wondered if I wasn’t indulging myself in this lovely setting with the smells of butter and sugar wafting from her kitchen for three hours. A year and many more published articles later, I know now that I wasn’t.

The environment she creates, the quiet space to write and the spot-on critiques by her are worth every minute I spend with her.

— Dani Klein Modisett
Author of Afterbirth and Take My Spouse, Please



The Perfect Place to Get Started

Five Nights, Five Tarts was a delicious way to help me launch my first (and possibly only, though you never know!) book. It was a local history of the neighborhood that required me to sit down and read and start writing.

Having never written a book, the project seemed so daunting and I found a million reasons to keep researching and avoid writing.

With support, a clear window of time and peers who were writing alongside me at the table, 5N5T was the perfect place to get started. Much of what I wrote that first night made it to the final draft of the book. It was invaluable. 

— Patricia Lombard
author of Larchmont, a pictorial history
by Arcadia Press, a favorite among locals
and top seller at Chevalier’s Books



Supportive and Insightful

I am not a writer. I can’t find the right words to articulate my thoughts. My ideas are all over the place. This is all I have ever thought about myself as a writer…until Devon and 5 Nights, 5 Tarts.

For years I have sought out some sort of writing class to give me a jumpstart and guidance to release ideas trapped inside me. Devon’s different framework and approach was finally the push that worked for me.

She is supportive and insightful and has a way of zeroing in quickly on your direction needed. Plus, the lady can cook! I was so intimidated the first night I showed up, but that quickly melted away by her big hug at the door and a cup of tea quickly in my hand. This idea that you’re in a lovely home writing while she cooks brings tremendous comfort to what can be a very frustrating experience. As she says “You’ve got to stay in the chair.”

So, as the house fills up with these incredible smells from her cooking, and I sink deeper into the chair and my writing, the words seem to flow out of me in a way they never have. Then the final hour of review with the other writers while sharing in the treat she has made is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. This class is an approach that is like no other, and Devon embodies grace and support like few I have ever experienced. 

— Wendy W.



Never Have I Written So Well

Devon creates an atmosphere that first inspires and then nourishes. Never have I written so well as I did those blessed Monday nights to the sound of her in her kitchen, to the smell of a tart baking, and in the knowledge of her keen mind, and loving heart soon to be turned to my work.

— Shareen Mitchell
Founder, Shareen Bridal



The Tarts Format Is Brilliant

I’ve been attending Five Tarts on and off since 2013. As long as Tarts exists, I will come! Devon’s space is so beautifully cultivated; it’s a creative cocoon. And the Tarts format is brilliant. I never realized how much reading before writing generates excitement, how it inspires and initiates momentum. The minute Devon rings the bell signaling the change from the reading segment to the writing segment, I close my book and am ready to work!

The final segment of the evening is devoted to sharing and discussing. I’m always reticent to share—and always glad I do. The Tarts environment is incredibly supportive. It’s so valuable to read aloud and receive feedback. I never think I do, but sometimes, I really need to hear “keep going.” Thank you, Devon and Tarts! 

— Caitlin W.



Best Writer’s Retreat Ever

Five Nights, Five Tarts is like disappearing once a week into the best writer’s retreat ever. You find your spot and work in silence, surrounded by other writers, while Devon builds a tart from scratch in the kitchen. There’s tea and camaraderie and books galore, but there’s also magic in that space. Each week there's nothing and then there’s a tart, a scrumptious metaphor for the writing that you do there.

And the work gets done.  

— Aaron Sanders
award-winning author of Speakers of the Dead



The Tarts Fuel My Writing

I have been attending Devon O’Brien’s Five Nights, Five Tarts since its inception. One could say that the tarts fuel my writing (and they are indeed a factor), but the weekly offering of space and time to escape distractions and dedicate oneself to writing practice is crucial in my progress as a writer.

The sharing of work around the tarts table is an opportunity to receive honest and tender feedback and support.

Devon brings dedication, energy, and her own keen sensitivity to the work, and assembles writers from diverse backgrounds whose contributions at the table are always lively and of value.  

— Jan Lewbin



Warm, Inviting, Comfortable

Devon’s class is warm, inviting, comfortable, stimulating and smells delicious. As Devon creates a divine treat while we write, I feel like I’m a part of a writing salon that makes me want to keep writing in my normal life. Then I am rewarded with Wednesday night wisdom and comradery from Devon and the other writers gathered.  

— Lee Garlington




It’s the Bomb

Devon’s 5N5T Table is a wonderland for writers who might have lost their creative “thread” and who have tucked away a savage wit in favor of a normal life.

Time in this in-city retreat is a kick in the butt, a writerly hug, a chink of light in the cavern of isolated toil that can be writing alone. Pull up a chair, a pen and a fork! It’s the bomb.

— Jen Almiron