Unleash your writing potential at our retreats in Venice and Istria in October

 In How to write a book, Invitations, Newsletters

Discover the perfect haven to ignite your creativity and shape your writing forever at Ca’ della Corte, a meticulously restored Venetian palazzo, and a luxurious Istrian villa nestled in a region steeped in history. Limited spaces available – secure your place now!

Each of Ca’ della Corte’s air-conditioned bedrooms offer stunning views of private courtyards and the vibrant neighbourhood. Many of Venice’s treasures, like the Frari with its resplendent Titians, are just minutes away. In fact, you’ll find inspiration at every turn.

But what truly sets this retreat apart is the unparalleled access you’ll have to three experienced professional writing mentors.* Start your mornings with motivational sessions and engage in daily mentoring discussions to elevate your writing project to new heights.

After your enriching stay in Venice, embark on a captivating adventure on Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula. Indulge in a luxurious villa that provides modern comforts in a tranquil setting, allowing you to continue nurturing your creative spirit. Immerse yourself in afternoon excursions, from exploring Pula’s legendary Roman amphitheatre to visiting the medieval hilltop village of Labin and for an afternoon on the beach in Rovinj, equally renowned for his gastronomic delights.

Choose your perfect experience: spend a week or two in Venice, a week each in Venice and Istria, or fully immerse yourself for three weeks in both extraordinary venues.

Book soon, though. Our now famous Venice Retreat has been running for six years and many habitues come every year.

Who needs it? Anyone who never has time for anything, whose life is not their own, who craves time to create, think, dream and explore.

Just a few places remaining. Email Trish now to reserve yours.

Venice: 10 to 17 October 2023 and/or 18 to 25 October 2023 from €2095 sharing / €2850single

Croatia: 25 October to 1 November 2023, from €2200 p/p sharing / €2685 single

What past participants have said about the Venice retreat:

  • I found the Venice writing retreat an amazingly positive experience. It was beautifully organised (thank you, Trish!) and it felt like every little detail had been really well thought out… I couldn't have imagined working and being alongside kinder, more helpful and creative people. It was just so much fun… The tutor sessions with you, Richard, were always brilliant and so much fun but at the same time so productive and creative. You stripped all of the unnecessary baggage out of my story and have left me with something so much more straightforward and yet more emotionally complex and satisfying.

    Fizz Carr, East Sussex
  • It was fantastic.  I enjoyed the people, the place and the opportunities to write.  There was freedom from the everyday things that distract us, and there was so much to be amazed and motivated by.  If you could just have bottled some of it in a spray bottle to use when we needed to mist back the memories or revel in the feeling of accomplishment or joy of camaraderie. First - I liked Jo-Anne and Richard, our mentors, and their ability to be at the same time guiding lights, nudging parents, and motivators. Second - I liked the opportunity.  We were there for one or two weeks with every opportunity a writer needs - time, people to motivate, a fabulous place to be inspired by, and plenty of sunshine to keep us out of the dark places writers sometimes go. Third - I liked the variety of people and the inspiration that being with other writers provided.

    Katherine Dudley Hoehn Florida, USA
  • "Every writer I know has trouble writing," said Joseph Heller, who took eight years to pen Catch 22. For many, an overseas writing course may seem like an extravagance, or, worse, an exercise in distraction. I found the opposite. For a writer, the Venice retreat is a place to run away with yourself, to find the thing that makes writing easy.

    Alice Inggs publisher, South Africa
  • The unfailing support and positivity from Richard and Jo-Anne is quite extraordinary, and it helped with all that nervousness and anxiety. I liked finding out how All About Writing works and its ethos, and I’m dead impressed. I want to have a closer association with AAW and I want to come back to Venice on another retreat. I loved the sessions with Richard, Jo-Anne and Fred. The morning conversations (they could have been an hour), the meals together, getting to know the other participants. The schedule, the very efficient communication and organisation (thank you Trish). The generous food and drink. The quiet. The staggered payments! It’s helped me think hard about quite how I want to work now while I’m a full-time academic. I loved being pushed into writing with fiction techniques and want to do more.

    Anthea Garman Grahamstown, Eastern Cape
  • … Time to write all day if one wished.  Good food, good wine and chats. For me it was great to have Josie 'on tap'. To be able to write and brainstorm and interact with her daily meant that I could get through a pivotal, multi-character scene very quickly and efficiently.  We could also discuss the way forward somewhat. It was inspiring.

    Yvette Wilsenach Cape Town
  • The Venice writing retreat was an incredibly positive experience. In terms of writing I think it was perfect timing to use the retreat for planning and starting a new novel. I found the brainstorming sessions extremely useful and Richard seemed to intuitively know exactly the tone I was reaching for and helped me both with plotting and finding the little nuances that will make the story come alive. I found the group sessions useful - both in terms of the content and to create a touch point with the other delegates. I had misgivings that I am attempting a project above my skill level and both Richard and Josie were outstanding in giving me confidence AND in helping with the details that have helped me set up the story in exactly the way I wanted and especially with the details that will bring the characters to life and make them likeable without being overly dramatic.

    Penny Castle Greenwich
  • It felt like a family experience staying together, not in a hotel, but in a home steeped in history…   I loved that we weren’t rule bound and could do our own thing.  I saw so many unhappy, grumpy faces on guided tours as they ticked off the to-do list.

    Ingrid Chinn Johannesburg
  • Although I wasn’t sure what to expect, I knew, however, that Jo-Anne and Richard’s approach is always professional and that their guidance is thoughtful, generous and pertinent. From day one, with their first short talk on an aspect of writing, I was motivated to commit myself to the process of the retreat. It was a wonderful indulgence to be able to step away from everyday responsibilities and to be simply a writer for six full days. All I had to do was think about the words I had written and to make my manuscript as good as it could be.

    Angela van Schalkyk Paarl, Western Cape
  • Thank you a thousand times, for an outstanding retreat in Venice and the start of a annual tradition. Thank you Jo-Anne, Richard and Trish…  Your organisational skills, as well as all your excellent creative sessions, feedback, encouragement, insight, caring... simply astonishing. Magic is happening here and your writers look to you, hoping that this is the start of an annual tradition!

    Gail Gilbride Cape Town
  • What a dream Venice will fast become.   It was such a hugely successful adventure which you, Trish, made happen with sheer brilliant competence,  determination and energy. And as for the mentors -   the morning meeting and the one-to-ones were very important.

    Joanna Foster Kidlington
  • I only have happy and positive memories of my time spent in Venice on the writing retreat. There was nothing not to love about Venice or the writing experience! Each day I spent at the All About Writing retreat was like being handed a precious gift - unwrapping a myriad of sensory experiences and creativity that made be feel completely energized and alive! I loved the way the course was designed to afford the writers the time and space to write as well as explore Venice. Being my first visit to Venice, I did find I was torn between wanting to write and to explore the city but thankfully I found that there was time to enjoy both. There was never any pressure from our writing mentors or course organisers and i liked that aspect very much.

    Sandy Webster Western Cape, South Africa
  • I found the experience extremely positive, helpful, stimulating and fun. Loved getting to know the faculty. It was wonderful to immerse fully in my project for a week. I found the one-to-one sessions with Richard immensely useful, enjoyable and challenging. The morning group sessions and writing tips were good… Being in a group with other writers gave me positive feedback about my writing project.

    Jane Salvage Lewes
  • I thought the retreat was totally fabulous. It exceeded all my expectations… Venice is a beautiful city and afforded a veritable feast of things to see and do when we were not busy scribbling away…. The one-on-one sessions with our tutors were excellent. A huge thank you to all of you for what I sincerely hope is not a once in a lifetime experience. When is the next one?

    Julien Erwin South Africa

On the experience of working with Jo-Anne and Richard:

  • Do you dream about writing a novel? Or perhaps a screenplay? The story of your life? Do you just need a bit of a push, some practical support, the company of  writers? Take a look at what All About Writing has to offer.  Take in the courses, the mentoring programme … Richard and Jo-Anne are brilliant at what they do. These guys write, that’s the day job, and have been doing so for years. Whatever you need they can help. I can vouch for it.

    Margaret Renn London
  • … Richard and Jo-Anne is that they never impose their own voice on you, even in a subtle ways. Working with them, you always get the feeling that they are trying to help you uncover your own voice, your way of telling the story and understanding the characters. They weigh their suggestions very carefully against your vision and against where you want the story to go. I can only imagine that this comes from their own unique understanding of the position of the writer, and their sensitivity towards that. They are great teachers, and I have benefited immeasurably from their advice which is always practical, and always constructive.  

    Jackie South Africa
  • Jo-Anne and Richard present a full gamut of learning and insight on creative writing seemingly effortlessly, with the welcome addition of real verve and wit. It was pure pleasure to participate.

    Tim Cohen Western Cape
  • … (T)his course has changed lives. There are few things in life that I reckon can lay claim to this honour. We all sit with “that book” lying deep within us, though most of us remain too daunted, embarrassed and just plain inept to even get the first line down. Jo-Anne and Richard have (almost … they can’t write the whole book for you!) all the answers in their wonderful, warm, nurturing and “growing” writing courses. To me they couldn’t have thought of a more appropriate name, for they truly are – and offer – all about writing! They’ll certainly be seeing more of me in the future.

    Ingrid van den Berg Cape Town
  • A perfect balance of exposition, illustration and exercise at every session. Constructive feedback that is evidence of the most extraordinary attentiveness, delivered with care and encouragement. Your tuition has moved my writing and confidence into a different league…and of course doing it whilst in the company of a delightfully eclectic bunch of soul mates is fabulous. I do not know how I will fill my Wednesday evenings when it is finished!

    Liz Dewing Bristol
  • Discovering the Creative Writing Course has been one of the most satisfying landmarks in my life and certainly in my writing journey… [They] offer I believe an unequalled forum for prospective writers of all skill levels.  I am hooked.

    Clive Goodchild-Brown Cape Town
  • In their Creative Writing Course, All About Writing really delivered the goods, as far as I was concerned. They kept me on-task with their regular emails. Coaches Jo-Anne and Richard provided focused critiques of my work, but at the same time were very warm and supportive…

    Alex Moll British Columbia
  • The best gift I gave myself, after I decided I needed to get serious about writing, is the All About Writing Creative Writing course… It doesn’t hurt that Richard and Jo-Anne are very open people who at once feel like old friends. Don’t be fooled though, that doesn’t mean they hold back on constructive criticism. I love that because I joined the All About Writing online community to seriously hone my writing skills, not to be nursed at the expense of reaching my full potential. Nice as they are, their primary aim is to help you grow, that remains their focus. They will not only show your weaknesses, but also make a point of letting you know your strengths; that’s very encouraging for a learning writer.

    Refiloe Mabejane Washington D.C
  • Living abroad in a non-English speaking country with limited access to material and courses can be isolating for a writer. Having always gained profound insight from the weekly All About Writing newsletters, I was delighted to discover their online weekend course in short story writing. Together with other writers from abroad, I joined the South African team for a virtual writing challenge in which we had thirty-six hours to produce an anthology. The tools were effective and easy to navigate, making the process of long-distance communication flow smoothly. Interacting on a one-on-one basis with the moderators was a unique and uplifting experience. Their quick and spot-on feedback not only helped to refine and improve my short story telling skills, but also to pinpoint a weakness universal to all my writing which I could address. The challenge was invigorating and the assistance motivating. I highly recommend the All About Writing courses for any writer who would like to learn new or polish existing skills.

    Charmaine Pauls Montpellier
  • Jo-Anne and Richard have taught me the skills needed to write, and in the process we have built up a relationship that I now cannot do without…

    Frankie Francis Windhoek
  • I have been writing for most of my life…  With a PhD in Creative Writing one could say I didn’t need another writing course.  This was not the case. The All About Writing course taught me more about the elements of creative writing (plot, structure, dialogue, characterisation, story) than nine years at university and my other writing courses combined. Whether you’re a complete beginner or a regular writer who wants to get past writer’s block or you simply want to finish something, the All About Writing courses are a good place to start.  As industry professionals Jo-Anne and Richard know what they’re doing and their feedback is always constructive and insightful.

    Keryn Clark Gold Coast Australia
  • If you want to be let into the best secrets about the art of writing and share time with the loveliest people imaginable, then All About Writing is for you. I attended a short creative writing course… and it inspired me to start writing my novel. It’s a great privilege to learn from such talented people and have fun at the same time.

    Clare Fermont London
  • I shudder to think what my manuscript would have looked like without the Mentoring Programme and Jo-Anne and Richard's brilliant editorial pens.

    Lisa-Anne Julien South Africa. Joint winner of the 2022 UJ Debut Prize for South African Writing in English, for her novel, If you save me
  • The creative course was fantastic - it works for a beginner or for someone coming back into writing after a long break as I was. Writing, like any art form isn’t just a creative process, it’s also a craft helped by techniques which make for better writing, things that make the writing a lot more impactful and readable. I didn’t realise it but these techniques apply to any form of writing, or any genre, fiction or non-fiction and once I understood them and started practicing, my writing improved. The notes in this course are really good, everything is backed up with examples. I would recommend it, it doesn’t disappoint.

    Amanda Okill London
  • Prolific? Am I prolific as a writer? Never thought I was, but since attending the All About Writing course I just can’t stop writing. My first novel won an important competition in Italy in 2015 and was published this year. Meanwhile, I have written another one and I am in the planning stages of a third. The thing is, that having written essays and reports all my life, I had always wanted to write fiction but didn’t think I could… I was right, of course, but  Richard and Jo-Anne unlocked that urge in me. And I’m having a ball!

    Enrico de Agostini Italian Ambassador to Zambia and Malawi
  • I did the All About Writing creative writing course which was invaluable in refining my narrative techniques. I followed with this with a full manuscript assessment which was a brilliant way to sharpen my final manuscript, iron out the creases, and to find a form for my work that does it justice. All of this helped to get my work up to the level for publication. I highly recommend the courses and assessments from All About Writing.

    Dr Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon University of the Witwatersrand
  • The teachers were professional, prepared and passionate. I am inspired.

    Carolyn South Africa
  • All About Writing’s weekend writing courses and international retreats have excelled in providing facilitative, creative and productive environments in which to explore and develop one’s writing talent. Working with Jo-Anne and Richard has been an inspiration. Critical input, insight, humour and encouragement are all part of the magic.

    Lindy Price Stow-on-the-Wold
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