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Master Class in Tuscany

September 23 – October 2, 2020

Please explore the details of this class below, and sign up for our newsletter to be notified of future opportunities.

The Tuscany Master Class offers a convergence of Hedgebrook’s retreat experience with the unique opportunity to study with a renowned writer in a small-group workshop and enjoy being in residence in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. Here, writers will receive a taste of Hedgebrook’s “radical hospitality,” along with devoted time, space, and a new landscape and culture that will both nourish and inspire.

Beyond a Room of One’s Own with Deborah Harkness

In 1929, Virginia Woolf famously declared that a woman needed “a room of her own” if she wished to write fiction. Nearly a hundred years later, women are still finding it difficult to make space for their creative efforts. Few of us are privileged enough to live in a perpetual state of retreat from the world, but the “room of one’s own” ideal remains a powerful force in shaping the writing life of a woman. Over our week together, we will be interrogating this concept and finding strategies for crafting a sustainable writing practice that will extend beyond the retreat. Together, we will focus on common problems facing creative women and possible solutions. Many of them are small, intersticiary, and daily. They will not adhere to a set of rules (such as “write in the morning” or “write for an hour”) but on underlying principles such as making space, having reasonable goals and a schedule to meet them, honoring your time, and knowing where you are in the process. In addition, because creativity thrives on inspiration – be it from nature, sensory pleasures like food, or seeing and learning new things – we will be walking, observing, and listening attentively within our Tuscan surroundings to hone our skills so that we can use them at home. Individually and collectively, writers attending this workshop will gather together a personal tool kit to take back with them into their real lives. And, because we are on retreat, there will be lots of time for people to work on their own writing projects and discover what works (and what doesn’t) within a thoughtful and supportive environment.

Hedgebrook in Tuscany

Deborah Harkness

Before becoming a novelist, Deborah Harkness spent more than a quarter century as a student and historian of magic and science in early modern Europe. In September 2008, she began to wonder “if there really are witches and vampires, what do they do for a living?” A Discovery of Witches was the unexpected — and internationally best-selling — answer to that question. The story continued in Shadow of NightThe Book of Life, and most recently, in Time’s Convert.  Deb is currently at work on her next novel while also serving as executive producer on the A Discovery of Witches television show and teaching history at the University of Southern California.



Hedgebrook in Tuscany

Dates and Prices

Dates: September 23 – October 2
Priority Deadline to apply: Thursday, July 16
Location: Tuscany, Italy
Fee: $4,400 to $5,400, depending on accommodation preference.

Application Schedule

Thursday, July 30: Notifications sent
Thursday, August 6: Deposits due
Thursday, August 20: Full payment due
The Master Class arrivals can begin Wednesday, September 23 or Thursday, Spetember 24.

An ancient medieval borgo in the heart of Chianti, the villa grounds are just three miles outside of the village of Panzano and within an hour’s driving distance to the Florence airport. Its position on a hillside overlooking the Pesa Valley offers exceptional views of the prized vineyards of the Conca d’Oro, a tapestry of olive groves, vineyards, woods, and country estates in all directions. Building was begun on this house approximately one thousand years ago. In the medieval period, it evolved into a ‘borgo,’ or small village, clustered around an interior courtyard and protected by a typical Tuscan ‘torre’, or tower.

Today the restored property has 11 bedrooms, an outdoor pool, and beautiful gardens with a bocce court and many private areas to enjoy the views and atmosphere in peace and quiet. There are several common areas, a large kitchen and living room, and three terraces.  There is wireless internet accessible from most rooms, as well as a movie theatre and an extensive collection of films and books.

Hedgebrook in Tuscany

The Retreat Experience

Each writer will be housed in their own room at the villa with delicious meals and amenities provided. During their stay, writers will enjoy the sweeping views of the Tuscan countryside, free time for afternoon day-trips to explore nearby sites in Italy, and an intimate workshop limited to a small group size of 8-9 students.  All class participants are free to arrive up to two days early to recover from jet lag and settle into the Italian countryside.

Arrivals can begin as early as Wednesday, September 23
Class sessions start Saturday, September 26
The morning of Monday, October 2 is the departure day (by 12 noon)

Fees and Policies

The cost of the class varies from $4,400 to $5,400, depending on the accommodation.  (Travel and alcohol are not included)

Some rooms have private baths w A/C. Some share a bath with one other writer. All rooms are private bedrooms in the villa. Some rooms have a writing space in the room, others have space elsewhere in the villa. Accommodations for up to 9 nights, all meals provided daily at the villa, all workshops and a personal one-on-one session with Hope Edelman.

Accommodation Details

Price $5,400 – Full Suites with private baths, workspace ensuite

Price $4,900 – Simple Suite with shared bath, workspace ensuite

Price $4,400 – Single Room with shared bath, workspace either in room or villa

Please note: the villa at Tuscany is multi-leveled, with no bedrooms on the ground floor. Please contact us to discuss any accessibility needs you may have.


If selected, you will be required to send a non-refundable deposit of $1,500 to Hedgebrook by August 6 to hold your spot. The balance must be paid in full by August 20.  Not included – airfare, transportation to/from the villa, optional field trips, liquor, wine, and meals outside the villa.


Class participants are responsible for their own travel. The closest airport is Florence, Italy. One can easily rent a car at the airport. Having your own transportation allows you to intimately experience the Tuscan countryside and we can provide you with directions to various nearby sites and hill towns. Hedgebrook can also assist in arranging drivers for hire to meet you at the airport and transport you to and from the villa for an additional charge (125 Euros). The villa is about one hour from Florence and the airport, 20 minutes from Greve, and a stone’s throw from Panzano!

To arrive at the villa on Wednesday, September 23 requires a flight departure from North America on Tuesday, September 22.


Refund Policy



Please note: Each Master Class has a priority deadline listed below, and classes often fill with a waitlist. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis by Hedgebrook staff and teachers, so we strongly recommend interested writers apply as soon as possible. We anticipate decisions will be finalized within two weeks of the priority deadline.

If you have questions about whether this Master Class is appropriate for you or your project, or any other question about the Series, please be in touch with us at (360) 321-4786.



The priority deadline is Thursday, July 16 (rolling applications still accepted after July 16)
Notifications will be sent out by Thursday, July 30
Deposits due by Thursday, August 6
Payment in full due by Thursday, August 20
The Master Class arrivals can begin Wednesday, September 23

Class sessions start Friday, May 1

The morning of Friday, May 8 is the departure day (by 12 noon).

Apply Now