PROGRAM SCHEDULE

Below is a description of the 2014 Writer’s Renaissance program. Sign up here to get information on the 2015 program as it becomes available.

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Prosecco is waiting for you!

We will gather on the breathtaking terrace at the hotel. The one facing the Duomo and the Piazza della Signoria. We’ll get to know each other and hear more about our week while sipping Prosecco (Italian champagne) and munching on antipasti.

Your host Julie Hedlund will also give you an in-depth tutorial on how to order gelato, which gelaterias to try and which to avoid. CRITICAL information for the remainder of your retreat. 😉

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Writing from the Boboli Gardens

Place is much more than setting. Place is written on our hearts and whispers in our ears. Place is hope and regret and longing. Author Lisa Clifford knows this better than anyone. She spent 18 years torn between Australia and Florence – a career and a man. Luckily, she ended up having both!

After breakfast, we will meet Lisa at the gates of the Boboli gardens, where she will lead us in a discussion about how to use place in writing. We’ll have writing time in the gardens, and then free time for you to explore the gardens further, continue your writing, or do whatever else your heart might desire. Lunch is on your own.

Evening: Reconvene on terrace for sharing time and Aperitivo

Group Dinner

Don’t miss Lisa on Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast. In this hugely inspiring episode, Lisa discusses Becoming a Writer at a Writing Workshop in Italy. She shares her real-life love story that became a book that inspired a movie, how a murder in her husband’s family shaped her writing, and what she’ll be teaching on-location in the Boboli Gardens at the retreat. She calls the chance to spend a week in the company of other writers in such a beautiful location, “Heaven on a stick.”

Tuesday-300x277Writer’s block is never about a lack of ideas. It’s always about fear. Imagine what Michelangelo felt right before he struck the first blow into that huge block of marble that become the David. Writer’s block is never about a lack of ideas. Author Julie Hedlund will spend some time after breakfast discussing Michelangelo and how his experience five centuries ago applies to our writing today. Then we will go the Accademia Gallery to see Mr. David himself.

Author Mary Hoffman, who published a book told from the perspective of the fictional model for David, will accompany us. You’ll be given writing instruction and exercises to work on in your free time aimed toward striking blows at your own blocks of fear. You’ll be given writing exercises to work on in your free time aimed toward striking blows at your own blocks of fear. Lunch is on your own.

Evening: Reconvene on terrace for sharing time and Aperitivo

Group Dinner

Annunciation – Fra Angelico

Annunciation – Fra Angelico

How do authors, who are setting their stories in places other than where they live, use their time when they are “on location” doing research? What are the best onsite and offsite tactics for evoking the sensory, logistical and emotional details of a place? If the time-period is historic, how can visiting a place in modern time help uncover the “bones” of the era in question?

Almost every novel author Mary Hoffman has written has taken place in a city and/or a time period “foreign” to her. After breakfast, she will reveal her secrets to us. Mary will take us to the Convent of San Marco where we will view Fra Angelico’s huge Annunciation and Ghirlandaio’s Last Supper. We will also visit the “Mad Monk” Savanarola’s cell and consider how Mary used these places in David as opposed to how a Guidebook would describe them. Mary will also discuss how she wrote about the same fresco in two very different books. As we walk, we will look at the city from the eyes of a protagonist. Participants will be challenged to take details from the site and incorporate them into their own writing. After our visit we will refresh ourselves at a typical Florentine trattoria for lunch.

The afternoon, evening and dinner is on your own.

Katie teaching

Katie teaching

Where else to combine art and words but in Florence? Faculty-member Katie Davis is bringing back her hugely popular program from 2013 that will take you on a daily story-creation adventure, culminating in a chance to release your inner-artist to bring it all together and take home the best souvenir, your own creation!

Evening: Reconvene on terrace for sharing, Aperitivo and “Vulcan Mind Meld” poetry exercise.

Group Dinner

friday-1-300x224We’ve spent the week sharing recipes for good writing. Now we are going to head out to the countryside to put our cooking to the test. NEW for 2015 – lunch in the hills! Our driver will collect us at the hotel and whisk us off to a village in Chianti for some exploration and lunch.  

After lunch, we will head to Badia a Coltibuono (Abbey of the Good Harvest) – a former twelfth century monastery that’s been converted into a guest estate. They make their own wines, grow much of their own food, and boast a top-rated cooking school. When we arrive, we’ll have time to take a tour of the abbey and grounds.

Our dinner table

Our dinner table

Then we’ll test our chops in the kitchen while we sip wine with grapes boasting ancestry going back to the twelfth century. We’ll cap it off with a gala dinner to celebrate our week. Our transportation will then arrive to take our weary and happy selves back to the hotel.

Want a sneak peek into what this trip was like for 2013 participants? Here’s a short video with highlights from the cooking class!

We’ll meet for breakfast one last time and make our goodbyes, with hopes of keeping in touch and sharing more adventures in the future.

True Renaissance Women of 2013!!

True Renaissance Women of 2013!!