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June 2 - 6, 2019 in Florence, Italy

An intimate 25-person writers retreat in Florence, Italy. Featuring author Lisa Clifford, author Shelley Weiner,  and philosopher Matthew Ferrara. Special in-house guest New York literary agent, Jeff Kleinman.

Write and Recharge

The Art of Writing is a writers retreat in Tuscany run by Italian resident, author and journalist Lisa Clifford and international speaker and philosopher Matthew Ferrara.

Join us for a week away to write, think, share and reconnect with your writing muse. Whether you’re a published author or just starting out, our Florence retreat is perfect for you. All we ask is that you love writing.

Classes, Workshops, Activities and Advice

Enjoy a variety of sessions to nurture your writing skills, personal creativity and projects. We will inspire you to write more and better, without feeling intimidated. Learn techniques for character development, dialogue, plot, structure, memoirs, writing from a sense of place and more. Practice creative writing, editing, non-fiction and even developing your author’s social media platform.

Insights and Inspiration!

Spend time with world-class writers, publishers, speakers and photographers. Schedule a time to “Pitch Your Book Project” and receive feedback on your ideas. Learn techniques from a world-class street photographer while touring the streets of Florence. Get insights and feedback from your tutors during freeform writing periods. And hear what’s new and trendy in publishing in a special insiders session with a founding partner of a New York City agency.

Attendees Say…

‘The Art of Writing gave me the kickstart to my novel I needed. From just a seedling of an idea, I was able to workshop my story without any limitation to creative possibilities through group collaboration and practical writing exercises. The speakers are so inspiring and encouraging, and you feel secure knowing you’re in the hands of people who have ‘made it’ as authors and industry experts. Since returning home to Sydney, I feel equipped and empowered to write my novel knowing I have the skills to leap over the hurdles of daily life and the backing of my new network to support me. I cannot recommend this experience enough for any dreaming writer.’
-Danielle Raffaele

Join the Writers in Florence!

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June 2019 Program Highlights

Learn, Write, Share and Grow
(Workshop Times Subject to Change)

Sunday June 2, 2019

15:00 Reading Great Literature (For Early Arrivals)
In the Garden

16:00 Special Guest Emiko Davies, Author of Florentine and Acquacotta will host a chat about her journey as a food writer, photographer, Florence resident, journalist and more. 
In the Garden

18:00 Registration 
In Reception Area

18:30 Welcome Dinner
Included in Registration
Location TBD

Monday June 3, 2019

07:00 Photography Walk with Matthew Ferrara
Meet in Reception Area

08:00 Pitch Your Project
Pitch your book idea to Jeff Kleinman, Literary Agent and get feedback on your project. By appointment. 

09:30 Get Started, Keep Going
Learn how to build momentum and stay on track with your writing. Our featured tutors will teach you how to get started on new pieces, develop your writing rhythm and overcome writers block. Whatever you’re writing, this kick-off workshop will teach you how to keep pushing forward with your project.
Salon

10:30 Narrative and Dialogue
Build your story with scene, voice and dialogue with these insightful exercises. Learn how to use narration to provide interesting perspectives and develop scenes from multiple points of view. Then unlock the key to writing effective dialogue and engaging conversations with your characters. 
Salon

11:30 Coffee and Tea Break

12:00 Taste Every Word with Lisa Clifford
Food can carry a story forward. Not only the actual food, but the process of eating, dining and sharing a meal. Food used in a social sense can reveal much about people’s relationships with each other. When you include a meal in your story, the possibilities are endless.
Salon

13:00 – 15:00 Lunch
Locations nearby Palazzo San Niccolo 

15:00 Unlock Your Creativity with Matthew Ferrara
Spark your creativity with quick word exercises and techniques for building sentences with punch, paragraphs that draw readers into your story and descriptions that bring scenes alive.
Salon

16:00 – 18:00 Free Time to Write
Time to write, chat with your tutors and fellow participants and get inspired
(Salon, Gardens, Cafe or on our own)

18:00 – 19:00 Conversations with a Literary Agent: Agent 101
Get an insider’s view of the publishing space with a special industry guest, Jeff Kleinman. Learn how to boil your book down to a sentence or two that will not only provide focus for your book, but allow others to talk about it more effectively.  Also learn tips for finding and working with an agent, author/agent agreement terms and what to expect when working with an agent.
Salon

Tuesday June 4, 2019

08:00 Pitch Your Project
Pitch your book idea to Jeff Kleinman, Literary Agent and get feedback on your project. By appointment. 

09:30 – 13:00 am Writing from a Sense of Place with Lisa Clifford
Enjoy a tour of the San Lorenzo food markets, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria and outdoor cafes to develop a writer’s “sense of place.” Workshop starts in the Salon and becomes a walking tour with lunch along the way. Learn how to add authenticity to settings and characters, create atmospheres and articulate descriptions that show, not just tell, the sense of a location through its sounds, touch, smells and tastes. (Walking shoes recommended.) 

13:00 – 15:00 Lunch
Locations in Florence 

15:00 Connect the Arts with Matthew Ferrara
Matthew Ferrara connects the dots between the art of writing and photography.  See how a photographer’s techniques for capturing the emotions of a scene can help your efforts to tell a story with words.
Salon

16:00 – 18:00 Free Time to Write
Time to write, chat with your tutors and fellow participants and get inspired
(Salon, Gardens, Cafe or on our own)

18:00 – 19:00 Building a Voice that Speaks with a Jeff Kleinman
A nuts-and-bolts dialogue with our resident Literary Agent on how to build a distinctive narrative voice in the literary world.
Salon

Wednesday June 5, 2019

07:00 Photography Tour with Matthew Ferrara
Meet in Reception Area

08:00 Pitch Your Project
Pitch your book idea to Jeff Kleinman, Literary Agent and get feedback on your project. By appointment. 

09:30 The Journey
Learn how to give your story a compelling journey. These techniques help you balance your plot with intriguing detours, fortunes and misfortunes that are both creative and believable. A good story lets the reader suspend disbelief and go along for the ride.

Salon

10:30 Your First Line Matters
“It was the best of times.” “It was love at first sight.” “It was a pleasure to burn.” Your first line is the hook that captures your reader’s attention and draws them in. Learn how to write powerful opening lines that will resonate with your readers forever.
Salon

11:30 Coffee and Tea Break

12:00 The Art of Memoirs with Lisa Clifford
Learn how to collect, collate and recount your own story, using examples from her best-selling memoir, The Promise. Explore how to write a good story, what to leave in or cut, and how to transform fragments of memories into great chapters.
Salon

13:00 – 15:00 Lunch
Locations nearby Palazzo San Niccolo 

15:00 The Writer’s Platform with Matthew Ferrara
Learn techniques from speaking and writing to help you leverage blogging, interviews, social media and guest authoring to create a tribe, promote your stories and develop a platform to drive a career through writing. 
Salon

16:00 – 18:00 Free Time to Write
Time to write, chat with your tutors and fellow participants and get inspired
(Salon, Gardens, Cafe or on our own)

18:00 – 19:00 Create Characters so Real You’ll Be Tempter to Claim Them As Dependents
Our resident literary agent hosts a conversation full of tips on how the best writers create believable, empathetic characters.
Salon

Thursday June 6, 2019

08:00 Pitch Your Project
Pitch your book idea to Jeff Kleinman, Literary Agent and get feedback on your project. By appointment. 

09:30 And Action!
What’s the key moment of action that changes everything and energizes your characters into action? Learn how to build believable action-moments into your story that help move the plot forward, create anticipation and curiosity that gets readers to stick with your story. 
Salon

10:30 The Arc of the Story
Practice methods of taking your story from opening line to apex to denoument. Learn how to pull readers into the arc of your story, develop rising action, falling action and resolutions that satisfy your audience. Create plots and sub-plots that creatively play with the certainties and uncertainties of your characters and storyline.     
Salon

11:30 Coffee and Tea Break

12:00 The Art of Writing 
What do great writers do every day to stay on track, keep up their energy and let the words flow? Your tutors share their tips for getting words on the page at home, on the road and up against a deadline. 
Salon

13:00 – 15:00 Lunch
Locations nearby Palazzo San Niccolo 

15:00 Just Add Ad Copy with Matthew Ferrara
What can we learn from the world of advertising, business writing and blogging? Matthew Ferrara helps you fine tune your wit and wisdom with words that jump off the page using Ad Copy techniques like headlining, juxtaposition, social proof, humor, unusual grammar and surprising vocabulary.
Salon

16:00 – 16:30 Retreat Feedback and Wrap Up

16:30 – 17:30 Turn the Page with Jeff Kleinman
Insights and experience from our resident literary agent on how to create and maintain narrative momentum in your work.

16:30 – 18:00 Free Time to Write
Time to write, chat with your tutors and fellow participants and get inspired
(Salon, Gardens, Cafe or on our own)

18:00 Celebration Dinner
Enjoy a traditional Tuscan dinner, share experiences from the week and read your work in this closing celebration dinner together at San Niccolo (included in Registration). 

 

We recommend booking your accommodation to depart on Friday so you can enjoy the Celebration Dinner on Thursday night before with us.

Note: Optional additional photography and food tour workshops may also be offered this day, at an additional fee. (More information to follow early 2019.)     

HANDPICKED TALKS

Lectures, workshops and activities hand-picked by expert writers, teachers and publishing experts, refined to take advantage of the unique venue of renaissance Florence.

CUSTOMIZABLE EXPERIENCE

We’ve packed the schedule with wonderful workshops, while leaving the choice of hotel and dinners to you. Customize your experience to fit your vision.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

Our attendees are aspiring writers, published authors, business copywriters and just about anyone who simply loves writing. All experience levels, all stages of work. You simply have to love writing and sharing.

TIME TO LEARN AND WRITE

The schedule will fill your mind without filling your time. Smart sessions each morning and afternoon, with plenty of time to write, write, write!

AMAZING VENUE

A week in Florence, Italy, is enough to turn anyone into a future Dante! We’re in a superbly restored palazzo in the middle of the San Niccolò area of Florence, surrounded by the magical food, art and people of Tuscany.

FRIENDS FOR LIFE

You’ll leave the Art of Writing with plenty of new friends who will help you continue your learning and growth in our exclusive online communities year after year.

Register Today!

All prices are inclusive VAT. Tickets are not refundable after May 1, 2019.
Price does not include accommodations, transportation, lunch or dinners except as noted.

Palazzo San Niccolò Venue and Accommodations

Our event takes place within the Palazzo San Niccolò. The location takes its name from the nearby neighborhood, the oldest district of Florence and among one of the historical areas most beloved by the Florentines, just a short walk from Ponte Vecchio and the center of town. Space is limited and there are other fine accommodations nearby as well. Learn more about the venue and accommodations.

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