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Master Class in Tuscany

September 18-27, 2019

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.

The Writer’s Toolbox: A Deep Dive into Craft with Ellen Sussman 

When a writer is working at her best, she uses every tool in her toolbox: a kick-ass plot, fully developed characters, the most effective point of view. She layers scene-making with sensory detail, revealing interiority, a quick flash of memory, the deft stroke of description. Then she digs deeper and finds the surprising flash-forward, clever jumps in time, the striptease of mystery. All of us, whether new to the game or master craftswomen, need to fill that toolbox with a wide array of tools. Every new story demands something new of us. Push harder, reach deeper, find creative ways of taking on our literary challenges. In this week-long generative workshop, we’ll lay out the tools on the workbench. We’ll shine a strong light on them. We’ll test their weight in our hands. We’ll put them to work. If you’re writing fiction or memoir, this deep dive into craft will help you bring your writing to the next level.

Hedgebrook in Tuscany

Ellen Sussman is the New York Times bestselling author of four novels, A Wedding in ProvenceThe Paradise Guest HouseFrench Lessons, and On a Night Like This. She is the editor of two critically acclaimed anthologies, Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave and Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex. She teaches through Stanford Continuing Studies and in private classes and she is the co-founder and co-director of Sonoma County Writers Camp. 


For more information, visit www.ellensussman.com

Hedgebrook in Tuscany

Dates and Prices

Dates: September 18-27, 2019
Priority Deadline to apply: Tuesday, June 18th
Location: Tuscany, Italy
Fee: $4400 to $5400, depending on accommodation preference.

Application Schedule

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019: Notifications sent
Tuesday, July 9th, 2019: Deposits due
Thursday, August 1st: Full payment due
The Master Class arrivals can begin Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

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 18th.
Class sessions start Friday, September 20.
The morning of Friday, September 27th is the departure day (by 12 noon).

Fees and Policies

The cost of the class varies from $4400 to $5400, 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 Ellen Sussman.

Accommodation Details

Price $5400 – Full Suites with private baths, workspace ensuite

Price $4900 – Simple Suite with shared bath, workspace ensuite

Price $4400 – Single Room with shared bath, workspace either in room or villa


If selected, you will be required to send a non-refundable deposit of $1500 to Hedgebrook by Tuesday, July 9th, 2019 to hold your spot. The balance must be paid in full by Thursday, August 1st, 2019.  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 18th requires a flight departure from North America on Tuesday, September 17th.

Refund Policy



Please note: The application is accessible via SlideRoom. 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 Tuesday, June 18th (rolling applications still accepted after Tuesday, June 18th)
Notifications will be sent out by Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019
Deposits due by Tuesday, July 9th, 2019
Payment in full due by Thursday, August 1st, 2019
The Master Class arrivals can begin Wednesday, September 18th.

Class sessions start Friday, September 20.

The morning of Friday, September 27th is the departure day (by 12 noon).

Apply Now