For nine days in Summer 2018 (Friday June 8th to Sunday the 17th), we will open our family home in Tufo, Southern Italy, to six writers for the Writers Retreat in Tufo 2018.
Writers can expect to work through the mornings, workshop with our author in residence (Simone Zelitch, see below for bio) in the afternoons, sit down to family dinners in the evenings, and generally make the best of the region in between. Patrick McNeil, fiction writer, manager of Rosa di Tufo, and longtime organizer of Philadelphia’s own Backyard Writers Workshop, will host the writers retreat in its second consecutive year. He’s jazzed about it. Check him out here.
Submissions are open through April 1st 2018, and should include a writing sample of no more than 15 pages, your resume, and a brief email, which ought to provide some context: where are you in your writing pursuits? How do you feel like a writers retreat in a small town in Southern Italy will benefit those pursuits? How do you feel about pasta?
All submissions and inquiries can be sent to Patrick at email@example.com with ‘WRiT 2018’ in the subject line. He encourages questions of all kinds.
Writers of all levels and genres are encouraged to apply. In 2017, for example, we hosted a student poet, an accomplished screenwriter/cartoonist, a memoirist, and a fiction writer. (Meet them all here.) The wide variances in age, experience and interests made for a dynamic atmosphere in the house, and we hope to recreate that in 2018. For a an idea of how the 2017 WRiT went, take a look at some reflections here, by Patrick.
Cost of the 2018 program is $1,245 (~1,000 Euros) and covers the following:
- Room and board for nine nights at Rosa di Tufo. The house doesn’t have wifi, and that’s on purpose. The only distractions we do have are the garden, a small library, and a ping-pong table. (There’s a 24/7 cafe/bar down the street with internet and ice cream.);
- Car rental for the duration of the retreat. Patrick will pick you up from the airport and drop you back off, and drive everyone everywhere. He’s an efficient and safe driver, with excellent taste in music;
- One guided hike of the Path of the Gods, along the Amalfi Coast, which lands in the sunny seat of Positano;
- One day trip to the Royal Palace of Caserta, including museum entrance and bicycle rentals to explore the expansive gardens;
- Another day trip to Pompeii and Naples;
- One half-day trip to Montevergine, the thousand year-old monastery at the highest peak in the region;
- One pizza party in Montefusco;
- Two family dinners, prepared in the local style by friends of the program, including wine and folk singing with local Italian musicians, and line dancing and/or karaoke with the townspeople, who generally love us;
- One wine tour and tasting at Cantine di Marzo, the 400 year-old producer of Greco di Tufo, and more.
- Workshops. Each writer in the retreat will have the opportunity to have one manuscript workshopped, and these workshops will be led by Rosa di Tufo’s Spring 2018 writer in residence, Simone Zelitch. Simone will be staying in the house during the retreat as well, wrapping up a month-long writing residency in Rosa di Tufo. (For inquiries on our longer-term, independent residency opportunities, reach out to Patrick.) See Simone’s bio below:
Simone Zelitch has published five novels, including Louisa, which in a 2000 review, The New York Times called “a stunningly good work: highly imaginative, impressively constructed, erudite yet genuinely moving.” She established the creative writing program at Community College of Philadelphia and has taught fiction workshops for over thirty years, including a course in researching and writing historical fiction at the University of Pennsylvania. She received a National Endowment of the Arts grant for an early draft of her most recent novel, Judenstaat (Tor/Macmillan 2016) an alternative history about the establishment of a Jewish state in Germany in 1948. For a fuller scoop, check out Simone’s website here.
Note that program costs don’t include airfare or food and drink, aside from a few family dinners.
We’re incredibly excited to have Simone join us this summer, and to resume some of the partnerships we forged last year in Tufo and Avelino. It’s going to be a very special thing.
Feel free to scroll on for photo evidence of how much WRiT 2017 meant to us, along with some feedback from past WRiT writers, all of which we’ve sort of curated in a way to make you feel even just a little bit of what we do.
There was the backdrop of Tufo, which is a very special place. I recall with extreme particularity the curves of the streets, the colors of the landscape, clothes hanging from wires, animals roaming about, etc.
My pallet was actually full of these vivid images from which I drew upon for my fiction and poetry writing, and all of it connected to my experience of the place. So artistically, I think about the open spaces of the house and just moving about slowly and intentionally throughout the residency.
Going to a completely different place shook me out of my norms. It changed my relationship with writing and work. The normal routines are gone. The normal social expectations, work expectations—capute. It opens the mind and the body to the thing you want. Maybe this is what they mean by intention in meditation?
I can’t emphasize this enough, the wild meaning that came because I had the chance to do one thing at one time everyday. Even the travel days, the ones where we went far away or saw something, I was able to be meaningfully present because I had been practicing meaningful presence to my work and to myself.
Any day, we could find some rich experience to drink in. So that was the rub: what does one do with absolute creative freedom in a stunningly beautiful country?
You do the best you can, artistically, drink in the experiences, and spend months, maybe the rest of your life, processing, which is to say, it was a very rich experience that continues to reap rewards for me, artistically and personally.
All in all, this time in Tufo gave me exactly what I asked of it. I’m leaving with a new understanding of my creative life and work, lots of reading under my belt, a word count that shocks me, several pieces completed and several new ones began, finally watched Beyonce’s Lemonade visual album, swam in the ocean, and even got a tan. I’m motivated for the new direction my life is taking and am giddy to throw myself into life when I get home.