Creative Writing Retreat 3-8 May 2019

There are many places indoors and outside to set up your laptop and start writing at A Chele.

There are many places indoors and outside to set up your laptop and start writing at A Chele.

At Clearspace we are delighted to present 5 glorious days of creative writing heaven. We will look after you with delicious nutritious food, stimulate your creativity with workshop exercises, fill your senses with the sounds sights and smells of Tuscany and provide insider information from the publishing world. There will be plenty of time for free writing in a haven of quiet and our knowledgable staff will be delighted to share their experiences of writing , publishing, and marketing . There will also be a unique private opportunity for you to pitch your book idea to our industry specialist Alison Baverstock and receive personalised feedback on your ideas.

This year we are delighted to be joined by author Ruth Zavitsanos and Dr Alison Baverstock ,author and associate Professor of Publishing at Kingston University

This is what you can expect from a typical day on our Creative Writing retreat …

  • 8-9 Breakfast Buffet – with fresh fruit, cereal yogurt, bread, croissants

  • 9:30-10:30       Writing workshop with Author Ruth Zavitsanos

  • 10:30 - 11:30    Dedicated time to consolidate writing, research, read              

  • 11:30 - 1     Free time to relax by the pool, read, swim, walk or Pitch Your Book

  • 1-2      Lunch -Fresh and filing salad based dishes

  • 2:00-3:30         Workshop session “Using the Senses for Writing”

  • 3:30 -4:30        Free time to relax by the pool, read, swim, walk or Pitch Your Book  

  • 4:30                 Afternoon tea and cakes or biscuits

  • 5:30-6:30        Afternoon workshop with Ruth and Alison, feedback, shared readings.

  • 7:00                 Pre-dinner Drink and nibbles

  • 7:30 Dinner (3 courses)


After a sound nights sleep in Egyptian cotton bedlinen on a memory foam mattress, guests can tuck into a healthy, fresh breakfast with fruit, cereal, yogurt, bread and croissants. This is set out in the kitchen from 8-9 am , and can be taken out onto the terrace for guests to enjoy the morning air. There will be a tea and coffee station available all day in the studio on the first floor …. The morning teaching session from 9:30-10:30 will ease you into the days writing with stimulating input from our contributing staff and workshop style exercises will help set challenges for you to address. On some days we will pile into taxis to take us into the medieval streets of the walled city of Lucca, to experience the famous cafe culture of the cool piazzae,cycle round the walls, stroll around the roman amphitheatre or visit one of the three cathedrals in the city( one even has a mummy!) Any shopping ( the area is famous for leather goods , paper , and ceramics) needs to be completed before 12;30 or after 4:30 as there is a very long midday break in Italy . After you find a lunch perhaps of a fresh bruschetta or bowl of local spaghetti ragu there is free time to consolidate material you have gathered from observation and interaction with local people and settings. We will send a taxi for the group and on your return to the house you will be greeted with afternoon tea and slice of cake at 4:30before the group reconvenes for the evening at 5:30 . Other days will be spent at the house, reading, writing and enjoying the space and immediate surroundings eg at the infinity pool, exploring the stream or in the olive groves. Part of the Via Francigena route taken by 10th Centuary pilgrims enroute to Rome passes the end of our drive and adventurous guests could follow this up into the hills whilst composing their thoughts and organising their ideas for writing.

However you spend your day there will be a further discussion and feedback session in the evening from 5:30-6:30 to help build on skills and navigate writers problems or sticking points .

At 7pm we will meet for a glass of prosecco and some nibbles before a dinner at 7:30. Dishes are home cooked , will showcase local ingredients or specialities where possible and will be accompanied by local wine, and still or sparkling water.It is hoped that the conversation will also be sparkling as we will be joined by our writing and publishing experts , Ruth and Alison.

Guests are of course welcome to come and go as they please and to observe the designated quiet rooms as it is anticipated that some people will be on a mission to complete a manuscript to time ..


Each participant will have an individual appointment with our industry specialist Alison Baverstock at which they will have the unique opportunity to pitch their idea of a book, and receive insider information on next steps or modifications from an expert in the publishing world. Participants who have a first chapter and synopsis of a book are encouraged to send these up to 4 weeks prior to the retreats start to allow them to be read by the retreat staff.These appointments will be timetabled in the blocks of free time an will be assigned at the start of the course

After dinner, guests can retire, read in the upstairs quiet room, chat in the downstairs sitting room, play board games or sit out under the stars looking at the blankets of fireflies hovering above the terraces.

Although our days are fully timetabled, all sessions are optional.

The Program includes the following sessions:

1 Using Place in plot inspiration and development, illustrated by the setting behind Ruth’s children’s bestseller THE VILLA DOG. Each participant will receive a signed copy.

2. Writing in the Moment- ways to sharpen observation to extract the maximum from location visits.

3. Evoking Emotion from surroundings –practical ways to capture sensory perception.

4. Using research to develop accuracy and authenticity in writing.

5. Goals and Exposure- expanding horizons e.g. with writing travel blogs, memoirs, fiction. Using marketing strategies to attract readers through Social Media.

Non-Writing Partners

Non-writing partners are ver welcome and can enjoy a discount of £100- I can help organise additional activities such as golf at Terennia or Montecatini Thermae, tennis , guided cycle rides, (these extra activities are not included in the discounted price)

Prices and What’s Included

The prices are based on two participants sharing a twin or double room

This Retreat is £995 per person ( STANDARD king twin or double ensuite with shared occupancy)

For those who wish to upgrade to PREMIUM ,the price is £1790 to have single occupancy of a King twin or double ensuite.There are two rooms without ensuite ( Bathroom adjacent), available for single occupancy at £995 and one smaller king double or twin ensuite for single occupancy at £1295

Includes 5 nights stay, 5 breakfasts,4 lunches,4 tea and cakes,5 drinks and nibbles ,4 dinners including one celebration dinner on the night before departure, 8 teaching /workshop/ feedback sessions with Ruth Zavitsanos, 1 individual appointment to Pitch your book idea to industry expert Alison Baverstock,a culinary demonstration/workshop, 6 blocks of dedicated free time for writing /researching and 2 taxi return transfers to Lucca.

NB Flights and airport transfers are NOT included, but the latter can be arranged and should be paid locally

To book read our terms and conditions, complete a booking form and pay the deposit

Pay Deposit 5 day Creative Writing 2019