San Felice Circeo and the Pontine Marshes

Writing workshops and writing classes in San Felice Circeo, Italy with author and journalist Anthony Weller

Anthony Weller is a genius of a teacher: perceptive, encouraging, and precise. His patient tutelage and astute editing have been invaluable to my craft, career, and confidence. I feel outrageously fortunate to be his student. – Lavinia Spalding, author of Writing Away and With A Measure of Grace

The Writing Workshop – San Felice Circeo, Italy

Accomodation is in the Villa RosmarinaThe Italy Writing Workshop offers expert small-group and individual guidance amid the concentration offered by the tranquil beauty along the coast south of Rome. Writers stay for 8 days / 8 nights in May or November. Accommodations are individual rooms in a self-catering private villa, within a mountainside national park beside the Mediterranean.

Writers will enjoy one-on-one tutelage as well as group classes (limited to 9) to explore the skills necessary for both fiction and memoir: dialogue, point of view, plot vs. story, length, description, flashback, exposition, character development, and relations with agents / editors.

People come to writing at different stages of their lives, and bring different levels of experience to the process of self-discovery. Part of what makes writing a challenge is being able to judge when you’ve found something, or when you have not gone deep enough; when a scene Centro Storicosucceeds, or when it doesn’t; being able to see what’s wrong, then repair it.

The paramount aim is to help participants assess their own work accurately. Though it’s fashionable to say that creative writing cannot be taught, it certainly can be learned, and the vision behind it encouraged, strengthened, and refined.

Although most workshops rely mainly on a kind of group therapy, writing is at heart a craft of words chosen in solitude. To improve a manuscript, a writer must learn to grapple with each sentence, paragraph, and page. A month prior to the workshop, participants should submit a story or chapter which Anthony will edit, and discuss in a private conference on the first day. One of the week’s goals is to polish this manuscript, and submit a successful rewrite to him for another edit. The last day will consist of private conferences to discuss it.

Monte Circeo

During the week participants may want to offer the rewrite-in-progress for group discussion. This is optional. Or participants may offer an entirely different manuscript, if they prefer.

Though all this sounds directed at more experienced writers, the workshop welcomes and heartily encourages those who are just getting started—or who dream of getting started. A fine teacher can not only save you years by helping you begin in the most fruitful way, he can also make possible what always felt out of reach or even impossible. There are specific approaches and exercises to melt the frozen sea within us (as one writer put it, facing the blank page), and no participant should feel out of his or her depth here. Indeed, part of the problem every writer faces is deciding what to write about at any given moment, which can make beginners of us all.

If you don’t yet have a manuscript to send Anthony before the workshop, he can provide you a healthy list of one-paragraph “assignment” ideas to choose from and try—no matter what the results may be—so the two of you have something to talk about in your initial conference.

An ability crucial to all first-rate writing is the craft of rewriting. One class, for example, will analyze a few drafts of the same scene by a professional writer. Thus, students can hone the self-editing process through impersonal observation, and develop their own clear-eyed skills.

Group classes last from eight-thirty until noon, at a spacious villa built by a modernist architect a half-century ago. The villa has a contemplative serenity that has nurtured two generations of writers, set in a garden of agave, cactus, palm, and olive trees. The Terrace at Villa RosmarinaClasses are held at the dining table, or outside on terraces with views across an immense sea to the Pontine Islands.

Find out more about the Italy Writing Workshop.