Ever dreamt about being a writer at work in Venice?
Give yourself time to follow in the footsteps of Byron and Hemingway and, most importantly, give yourself the gift of time to develop your own creativity.
Whether you are writing fiction or creative non-fiction, or for film and television, the Venice Writing Retreat will give you something infinitely precious: time out of your busy daily life and responsibilities, and the space to work on your own writing in an inspiring environment, with individual mentoring.
2022 Dates TBC
Please email us to register your interest.
Join us for some intense and creative writing at the historic Palazzo Albrizzi in the heart of Venice.
The palazzo, built at the end of the seventeenth century by a noble Venetian family, has remained in the family ever since, and has impressive literary credentials.
Lord Byron frequented literary conversazione and receptions held by Countess Albrizzi, herself an author.
Of course, Byron can no longer enjoy literary conversazione and receptions at Palazzo Albrizzi, nor can he relish the romance of wandering Venice for creative inspiration.
That’s for us to do.
Not far from the Grand Canal, the palazzo commands its own small square in the quiet of a lovely neighbourhood mid-way between the Grand Canal and the Guidecca Canal.
What you can expect
Inspiration. Encouragement. Support. Feedback.
Each day will start, after a leisurely Venetian breakfast, with a group talk and discussion, led by All About Writing’s Jo-Anne Richards and Richard Beynon or travel writer and non-fiction specialist Fred de Vries.
You’ll be free to write for the rest of the day in the palazzo, or in any inspiring corner of Venice that you choose.
Each writer will have a daily one-on-one mentoring session with Richard, Jo-Anne or Fred.
For those who don’t have an existing project, we offer daily creative exercises with feedback, or brainstorming sessions.
In addition, Fred will set an assignment for would-be travel writers and provide mentoring and feedback on the creative results.
The schedule is designed to provide you with the skills, tools and inspiration every writer needs to craft a story.
All About Writing will help you realise your dreams
TIME FOR WRITING
You may simply need the time to indulge your creative self … Or, you have a writing project and relish the thought of seven full days with nothing to worry about but the words on your page.
Take part in writing practice talks, discussion and creative companionship, and receive individual attention from caring and astute mentors.
The historic palazzo, in a quiet residential area in the heart of Venice, offers an inspiring setting in which to write and from which to explore.
Enjoy the companionship of fellow writers over two meals a day created by a local chef from fresh ingredients bought daily at the Rialto Market.
COST: From €2300
Please fill in the form below if you’d like to devote a week or two to being a writer at work in Venice.
It was a real breakthrough for me to see more clearly how to shape up my book and find a path through the mass of material I’ve collected and written. It also helped me realize two important things: that I need to take myself more seriously as a writer of creative non-fiction, and take my book seriously as a publishable proposition rather than an enjoyable hobby. – Jane Salvage, Sussex, UK
What I enjoyed the most was spending time with my writing mentor … what a joy it was, stepping into a creative zone with someone of such immense experience and enthusiasm. This was definitely a highlight for me and a privilege to learn so much. – Sandy Webster, Somerset West, South Africa
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. – Katherine Hoehn, Florida, USA
You’ll be living in the Palazzo Albrizzi, a historic building in San Polo, near the Rialto Bridge. It was built at the end of the seventeenth century by a noble Venetian family, and has remained in the family ever since. Not far from the Grand Canal, it commands its own small square in the quiet of a lovely neighbourhood.
We’ll be spread out over two or three apartments in the palazzo on the third, fourth and fifth floors. The apartments are all regularly used by the family. Every room is individual, even quirky, furnished with antiques and family heirlooms.
The most striking feature of the imposing piano nobile apartment is its enormous gallery, which runs almost the full length of the building. It has well-regarded museum quality paintings on its walls, very tall windows and a traditional Venetian wooden ceiling.
Important frescoes in the sitting rooms and dining room by Hayez and Borsato (who worked at the opera house, La Fenice) have recently been restored. Several rooms have silk-covered walls.
From the windows and terraces of the palazzo you’ll enjoy unforgettable views of the spires and rooftops of Venice.
A week or two in the Palazzo Albrizzi eating meals prepared with ingredients bought at the Rialto market, drinking wines grown on the hills of the region, will leave you with the feeling of having really lived like a Venetian.
Who will the retreat benefit?
* Anybody who has longed for the time to exercise their creativity in a warm and supportive environment.
* Experienced writers who need the space to write, with the benefit of another creative eye.
* Beginner writers who want to try their hand at writing, with daily support and mentoring.
* Anyone with a vague idea for a project, who needs to try it out, brainstorm or discuss it with experts.
* And finally, those of us whose daily life has been leached of creativity or romance – and possibly both.
Meals and accommodation
We’ll be occupying the main floor of the palazzo, the piano nobile, the Principessa apartment on the fourth, and the spectacular Tempio apartment on the top floor. In total there is accommodation for up to sixteen people in:
* Master bedrooms in the main apartment and in Principessa
* Two double beds in Tempio
* Two large twin-bedded rooms in the main apartment and Principessa
* Four standard single rooms in the main apartment.
We suggest you book early to get the room of your choice.
Participants are welcome to bring a non-writing partner with them. We will limit the number of writers on the retreat to ten per week.
The palazzo’s resident cook will prepare two typically Venetian meals made with fresh ingredients from the Rialto market every day – a delicious breakfast, and either dinner or lunch.
During each week of the retreat, we’ll enjoy one of the mid-week dinners, and drinks on the last evening, on the terrace of Tempio while watching the sun set over Venice. The spectacular 360 degree view from the top terrace allows you to see as far as the Dolomites on a clear day.
Who are we?
All About Writing was founded in 2007 by Jo-Anne Richards and Richard Beynon, two writing professionals who are passionate about writing. We’ve devised our courses to help communicate that passion – plus the skills that make it all much more than an academic exercise – to others with a similar calling.
They include creative writing and scriptwriting courses, coaching and mentoring programmes as well as workshops and writing retreats. Our annual retreat in Venice, now running for the sixth year, is the highlight of our calendar.
Your tutors and mentors on the Venice Writing Retreat will be Jo-Anne Richards, Richard Beynon and Fred de Vries.
Internationally published novelist, Jo-Anne Richards, has published five books and has a PhD in Creative Writing. Her first novel, The Innocence of Roast Chicken, was originally published by Headline Review in the UK, and has recently been rereleased as one of the prestigious Picador Africa Classics collection.
Scriptwriter, Richard Beynon, has had a long and accomplished career in the film and television industry. He has conceived, shaped and written scores of documentaries, has written over a thousand scripts, and has led numerous storytelling teams in devising story for many of the country’s most popular soaps.
Having lived in various parts of Africa since 1985, Fred de Vries is an experienced traveller and travel writer. He has worked as a foreign editor and foreign correspondent for European newspapers and magazines and has six non-fiction books to his name. He is currently working on a book about America’s Deep South.
With their extensive professional writing experience and decades of teaching experience, you’ll be in very capable hands.
Please fill in the form below to register your interest in the Venice Writing Retreat. We’ll be in touch and will send you the booking form.
I thought the retreat was totally fabulous and it exceeded all my expectations. The venue was magnificent, allowing participants a huge amount of space in which to “operate” so that we could be private and meet at common venues. Venice is a beautiful city and afforded a veritable feast of things to see and do when we were not busy scribbling away. – Julien Erwin, Hermanus, South Africa
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. The Palazzo Albrizzi’s beautiful, romantic setting was a wonderful backdrop in which to settle down each day to write. I enjoyed the companionship and catching up with other writers and aspirant writers, first thing in the morning around the big table for breakfast, then again at lunch, and on our first and last nights for dinner. – Angela van Schalkwyk, Paarl, SA
Thank you Jo-Anne, Richard and Trish for creating the space at Riccardo’s magnificent Palazzo Albrizzi. 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, Hout Bay, South Africa