Jeff Bezos’ ultra-exclusive, off-the-record literary retreat, Campfire, is back this year after a COVID-induced hiatus, sources told The Post — but it may feel a little different than it did in years past.
Even as notable guests once again flock to a posh resort in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to talk ideas and current events in an intimate setting, a lot has changed for Bezos since 2019.
Bezos will host the retreat this year without his ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, a Princeton-educated novelist who studied under Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison and was known to engage with the literary giants in attendance in past years’ events. They divorced in 2019.
Instead, his TV personality/helicopter pilot girlfriend Lauren Sanchez will be by his side to greet luminaries who in years past included feminist icon Erica Jong and lauded journalist Bob Woodward.
The new dynamic his girlfriend might bring isn’t lost on at least a few of the expected attendees of the event, which is set to be held sometime in late September or early October. “Everyone is used to her already,” a person close to the situation told The Post. “Bezos and Sanchez are inseparable.”
Beyond big-name authors, the event is expected to include its fair share of celebrities with whom Sanchez may have rubbed elbows in her Hollywood days. Film directors and actors including Reese Witherspoon, Billy Crystal and Ron Howard have previously made appearances. Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and astronaut Neil Armstrong also have shown up.
But authors — like the man behind Game of Thrones, George Martin, and The Handmaid’s Tale author, Margaret Atwood — are the focus of the event.
The conference comes as Bezos has taken a step back from the day-to-day running of Amazon, the world’s largest book retailer, where he’s still executive chairman, and comes as Bezos has put more time toward other interests, like exploring space and certain philanthropies.
“He needs to invent Bezos 2.0,” one person with knowledge of the event said. “He wants to be seen as a forward-thinking global player launching utopian initiatives to make the world a better place.”
A spokesperson for Amazon confirmed the event was happening but declined further comment.
The gathering, held annually since 2009, generally takes place at the end of September or beginning of October in Santa Fe. The number of attendees ranges from as few as 50 to as many as 200. An attendee with knowledge of the event expects this year to be on the smaller side with perhaps fewer than 50 guests. The event is off-the-record, which means guests are asked not to discuss the getaway or post about it online.
Bezos has previously rented out the entire Bishop’s Lodge Ranch Resort and Spa for attendees — a 450-acre property outside Santa Fe. It’s unclear if the event will be held there this year.
While Bezos engages as a peer with his guests, his wealth is fully on display, according to reports. Bezos pays for travel and accommodations for guests and their plus-ones.
Notably, Jeffrey Epstein’s fixer Ghislaine Maxwell attended the event in 2018, according to a report from Vice. Other now-infamous names who attended in past year include Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose.
Meanwhile, since he left Amazon, Bezos hasn’t merely been trotting the globe — he’s been trotting the universe. In July Bezos, flew to space in a rocket created by his aerospace company Blue Origin. Earlier this week, he met with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in New York, prior to the United Nations General Assembly to discuss whether the internet giant was paying its fair share of taxes.