"Writing Italy" with Helena Attlee and Julian Evans
Join us for 6 days of writing masterclasses this September in the superb comfort and bohemian atmosphere of a 13th-century castle, deep in the Tuscan countryside.
Following on from their successful course last year, bestselling author Helena Attlee and acclaimed biographer and travel writer Julian Evans will help you to discover new writing skills and ways of seeing and experiencing your surroundings.
Guided by bestselling author Helena Attlee and acclaimed biographer and travel writer Julian Evans, this is a perfect opportunity to discover new writing skills and ways of seeing and experiencing your surroundings. Whether you want to write about travel, history, biography or autobiography, landscape, food or nature – any form of creative non-fiction – our 6 days at Castello di Potentino are the ideal moment to start a new project or look at an existing one with fresh eyes.
During the week you’ll watch Tuscan shepherds making cheese, taste wines made from the castle vineyards, explore unspoiled landscapes with a local botanist, make pasta with acclaimed food writer Rachel Roddy, and immerse yourself in village life: lived experiences that you’ll learn to capture on the page. Helena and Julian will work with you in small groups, introducing new approaches to strengthen your writing voice and helping you to find the most compelling way to tell your story. You will also be invited to a one-to-one tutorial, where you can discuss your writing in detail.
Our special guests this week will be Rachel Roddy, whose books and weekly column in the London Guardian have won her many fans, and Derek Johns, who recently stepped down from running London’s oldest literary agency.
Helena Attlee’s latest book Lev’s Violin: An Italian adventure was published last year and broadcast as BBC Radio 4’s ‘Book of the Week’. Her bestselling The Land Where Lemons Grow: The story of Italy and its citrus fruit has been translated into several languages and won the Guild of Food Writers’ Book of the Year 2015.
Julian Evans is the author of the acclaimed biography Semi-Invisible Man: The life of Norman Lewis and Transit of Venus: Travels in the Pacific. He has presented radio and TV documentaries, reported from central Europe and written about the war in Ukraine from the frontline.
At Potentino the morning begins with breakfast in the old kitchen, where home-made bread, local fruit, cereals and fresh pastries are set out for everyone to enjoy.
Work begins with a short guided writing session or by diving straight into one of the local experiences – exploring the valley with an expert botanist, cheese-making, a village visit – that will be at the core of our writing each day. During daily workshops we experiment with a range of techniques for transferring lived experience to the page. Our special guest Rachel Roddy, the celebrated food writer, will lead the workshop on one day during the week. Our second special guest Derek Johns, formerly a leading literary agent, will lead a question-and-answer session on getting published.
A light lunch will be served in the loggia each day, using home-grown vegetables and salads, local cheeses and meats.
During the afternoons you will be free to develop the words you set down in the morning or work on your own writing project. There will also be plenty of time to discuss your work in one-to-one sessions with Helena and Julian, read in one of the lovely castle libraries, relax in the comfort of your own room, swim in the beautiful granite pool, or explore the beautiful surroundings.
We regroup again each evening for dinner at the long table in the castle dining room, where you can expect homely food prepared in Potentino’s kitchen, good wine and conversation. On our last night we will go out for a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant.
“Julian and Helena worked beautifully together in creating a transformative learning experience. Taking part has raised my standard of what I expect from my writing dramatically”
“I came to Potentino without an agenda, but I leave Potentino inspired to share my stories”
“Thank you both so much for a wonderful experience. I appreciate all your knowledge, generosity and hard work”
Board and lodging at Castello di Potentino
All sessions with Julian and Helena
Pasta-making Workshop and talk with Rachel Roddy
"Behind the scenes in publishing" discussion with Derek Johns
Trips for planned excursions
Last night's dinner at a local restaurant
What's not included
Transfers to and from Potentino (can be booked as an extra)
Meals on planned excursions
Prices vary by room choice and number of guests sharing the room.
A single person is €
Two people sharing a room is €
Three people sharing a room is €
Please note if you would like to pay a deposit
The payment system asks for payment in full. If you would rather pay a non-refundable 25% deposit at the time of booking, please enter the code DEPOSIT25 at checkout. The final payment will be due one month before the start of the course.