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Master Class in Tuscany

April 29 – May 8, 2020, Rescheduled to November 14-23, 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.

The Middle Place with Hope Edelman

Plotting and writing the middle of a memoir—structurally, the largest segment—can be a tricky, delicate affair. It’s where a protagonist confronts and manages all sorts of obstacles and where an author reveals her inner growth over time. This requires raw honesty and no small measure of fortitude and faith. Rare is the writer who doesn’t face a crisis around the halfway point of a manuscript, when a story starts feeling large and unwieldy and the path to a finish line unclear. That’s when inner critics like to show up, trumpeting self-criticism and inspiring doubt. And rare is the memoirist who doesn’t get stuck at that point, or overwhelmed by the remaining task at hand .


What helps a writer through the muddle of the middle? A supportive community; focused writing time; an emotional reinvestment in her story; and a solid structural plan. This class is designed to offer all four in service of strengthening your commitment to press on with confidence. Together, we’ll identify the structure of your story, helping you discern what material to include and what to leave out. We’ll offer valuable feedback about what makes your story important and interesting to others. We’ll also explore how to include passages of reflection that track your protagonist’s inner growth.


In Tuscany, we’ll check frustration and self-doubt at the villa door and envision our pages through the eyes of readers. Bring no more than five pages of existing material. We’ll generate new pages and workshop them during our time together. Plan to share what you write during the week, and to give other students as much as you’ll receive.

Hedgebrook in Tuscany

Hope Edelman is the author of seven nonfiction books including the bestsellers Motherless Daughters, Motherless Mothers, and The Possibility of Everything. Her work has appeared in outlets ranging from The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times to Real SimpleParade, Brevity.com, and The Iowa Review. She has been teaching memoir and personal essay writing for more than twenty years, most recently in Antioch University-LA’s MFA program and at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival every July. Hope lives in Los Angeles where she leads retreats and workshops for motherless daughters and is working on her next book, The Aftergrief, about the long arc of bereavement after early loss.

Hedgebrook in Tuscany

Dates and Prices

Dates: November 14-23, 2020
Priority Deadline to apply: Tuesday,September 8
Location: Tuscany, Italy
Fee: $4,400 to $5,400, depending on accommodation preference.

Application Schedule

Thursday, September 17: Notifications sent
Thursday, September 24: Deposits due
Thursday, October 15: Full payment due
The Master Class arrivals can begin Saturday, November 14

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 Saturday, November 14 or Sunday, November 15
Class begins Monday, November 16
Depature day is Monday, November 23 

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 September 24, 2020 to hold your spot. The balance must be paid in full by October 15, 2020.  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 Saturday, November 14 requires a flight departure from North America on Friday, November 13.


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 Tuesday, September 8 (rolling applications still accepted after Spetember 8)
Notifications will be sent out by Thursday, September 17
Deposits due by Thursday, September 24
Payment in full due by Thursday, October 15
The Master Class arrivals can begin Saturday, November 14

Class sessions start Monday, November 16

The morning of Friday, November 20 is the departure day (by 12 noon).