21st to 28th September 2013

Only 3 places left for this years course!

Italy is a magical place that has inspired creative artists for thousands of years. Peralta, a historic hamlet in the foothills of the Tuscan Alpe Apuane, overlooking the Mediterranean, is the perfect setting for a writers retreat. The views are spectacular and there are small private terraces among the olive groves where you can sit and work, as well as beautiful walks through chestnut woods with views of the mountains and the sea.

It is conveniently situated for anyone wanting to extend their holiday to see other parts of Italy - Pisa is a 45 minute drive and there are frequent trains. Siena, San Giminiano and Florence take a couple of hours by local train or car, Rome and Venice are about 5 hours away by Eurostar. The nearest airport is Pisa and the closest railway station is Viareggio.

The course is suitable for both those just starting to write, as well as more experienced writers. Past participants have included someone who had never written before, but went on to write a novel, and a television and children’s writer who wanted a change of direction. There are optional workshops and seminars in the morning and the opportunity to have one to one contact with the tutors in the afternoon. You can, if you wish, simply use the time to write, socialising with the other participants at meal times.

The course will cover Fiction, Memoir and Poetry, though the tutors have experience in Journalism, Film and TV as well. We are flexible about tailoring the course content to the needs of the participants.

What we offer:

Tranquillity and the space to think and write.
Individual consultations with two experienced, internationally published authors. The tutors can offer advice on getting started, how to develop and edit your work, as well as information about getting an agent and getting your work published. This kind of experienced, professional editorial advice is worth the course fee alone!

The best of Tuscan home cooking, wine and olive oil.
All food and wine with meals is included. Transfers to and from the airport on arrival and departure dates within specific hours.
The week includes a visit to a typical Tuscan restaurant in a local hill village.There will be the opportunity for an afternoon excursion to a local town, either Lucca (a medieval walled city with designer shops) or Pietrasanta (the artistic centre of the region, where Michaelangelo stayed when he was working on David).

Partners are welcome - there is a discount for non-participants.
Above all it should be fun. We aim to give everyone a taste of Tuscany as well as the opportunity to develop their creativity.

The Tutors.

Mary-Rose Hayes has just completed her ninth novel, WHAT SHE HAD TO DO (set in San Francisco, California and an un-named cathedral city in the west of England). The story observes the resonances of war, from World War II to the Vietnam conflict, over three generations of a family.

She is the best-selling author of eight previous novels whose genres include horror, suspense and erotic adventure, and has co-authored two political thrillers with Senator Barbara Boxer:?A TIME TO RUN and, most recently BLIND TRUST (2009). Her novels have been translated into sixteen languages and have regularly been Doubleday Book of the Month and Literary Guild main selections. AMETHYST (E.P. Dutton, 1991) was chosen as a TIME/LIFE bestseller condensation.

Mary-Rose has published newspaper articles in England and the United States, and has worked as an associate editor for a press bureau in San Francisco.

She has taught creative writing workshop at the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Nevada; at numerous writers’ seminars in the western United States; and has been a guest lecturer at Arizona State University since 2007.

She attributes her love for language and the written word to growing up among writers and artists, and to an early childhood spent in a remote English country house with no television, little radio and frequent electrical blackouts. The only entertainment was necessarily home grown, recalls Mary-Rose: reading aloud by candlelight; listening to the antique wind-up gramophone (record player); and the writing and performing of plays by the family and a succession of houseguests who included a London theatrical director and the Archbishop of Johannesburg.


Kathleen Jones has also been writing since she was a child. She lived for several years in Africa and the Middle East, where she worked for the Qatar Broadcasting Corporation. Since then she has written extensively for BBC radio and contributed to several television documentaries.

As a journalist Kathleen has written articles and reviews for the Independent, the Guardian, the Daily Express, and the TLS, as well as magazines such as SHE and Cosmo.

Kathleen Jones has published more than 11 books - a mixture of biography, short fiction and poetry. Her most recent publications are Katherine Mansfield: The Story-teller, published by Penguin and Edinburgh University Press, and a collection of poetry, 'Not Saying Goodbye at Gate 21' which won the 2011 Straid Award. She has tutored creative writing at a number of British universities and is currently a Royal Literary Fund Fellow. She is also an enthusiastic blogger - writing her own and contributing to several others including The Tuesday Poem and the book review site Book Munch. Kathleen is a specialist in E-publishing and a member of the E-book group Authors Electric. At a time when the internet is one of the major sources of publishing/publicity for a writer, Kathleen offers valuable advice on going it alone and using platforms such as blogs, facebook and twitter. Kathleen’s blog:


"It really was a super course in every way and Kathy and Mary-Rose seemed a perfect team . "

"Thanks for a terrific week and experience."

"When you think you had only a week to show us Italy, its food, and turn us into writers, you did it all."

Email for more info.

Peralta Information