Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Come study writing in Tuscany!

Many years ago now, the fabulous bon appétit magazine sent me to a farm in Tuscany to write an article and changed my life. Spannocchia  is less than 30 minutes from Siena, acres and acres of untouched, unspoiled land. Scattered around that land or stone farm houses, cente cinese pigs,  wild boars, verdant gardens, castle, and a villa – – not a fancy one, mind you, but one with  rooms that are hundred years old and a large dining room with big wooden communal tables for eating some of the best, local, organic food you've ever had. My kids have grown up running around these fields, watching baby pigs,  Learning to make perfect gnocchi, and sitting around a roaring fire roasting chestnuts and talking. After my first visit for that assignment, I returned with them every year, bringing a long cousins and grandmothers and friends of my kids.  My desire from the moment I first spend time there was to share this gorgeous, unique place. Six years ago I begin to take students to study riding with me there. We were a small group at first and I did all the teaching myself, though  writer friends joined me without pay just to do manuscript consultations and experience the Tuscany. Over the years, our group of students has grown and we have been able to add writers to teach workshops and even  to pay them a little for doing so. Last year we peaked at almost 2 dozen students. Those old stone buildings were bursting at the seams! Nights spent talking about the craft of writing, drinking wine together, eating Tuscan delicacies  Buy that roaring fire. During the day they were writing workshops, hikes, cooking lessons, tors of the farm, and a trip to a small walled city were some of the best wine in the world is made. On Saturday, when the kitchen closes it down for the day, we always go to Siena,  where we can gaze at the Duomo and shop for linens and olive oil and pottery, sip coffee or wine in the Campo, and all meet for a most memorable dinner.

 This year, for the first time, we are offering a workshop for two weeks. We always go in November to cut costs, since it is off season. Participants will have the opportunity to join us for one week – – either November 3-10  or November 11-18 – – or to come for both weeks! As always we have an outstanding faculty! Week one we will have Bill Roorbach  and John Searles  teaching writing workshops, Rand Richards Cooper will be available for private manuscript consultations, and I will be doing a full manuscript workshop. More on that in a moment. Week two we will have Alafair Burke  and my new hubby Michael Ruhlman teaching workshops, Laura Lipman doing private manuscript consultations, and I will be doing the full manuscript workshop.  Let me tell you about that workshop I teach in Tuscany. I have never seen another workshop that offers the possibility to have a completed novel or memoir read and critiqued by me and a small group of other students. We have to This class at five people because it's a lot of reading and a lot of critiquing  and a lot of help if you are trying to complete a manuscript. It's one of my favorite things that I teach because it is so rare to offer this to someone writing a book. Usually the same chapters end up getting workshop again and again, and I devised this so that riders can move on with their drafts.

We fill up fast, which probably comes as no surprise. Please check out the website for Spannocchia so that you can see just how beautiful it is there! And if you are interested in joining us please email mailto:spannocchiawritersworkshop@gmail.com for details!