Memoir Writing in Tuscany

DATES: 06/03/2023 - 06/10/2023
LOCATION: Tuscany, San Fedele
PRICE: $3,395.00
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:
VISIT WEBSITE

Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D. is a professor of literature, writing and media arts at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and the online global Bard Open Society University Network, with a special focus on purposeful memoir and media arts for social and environmental justice.

Her latest book, Purposeful Memoir as a Quest for a Thriving Future, was a 2022 Nautilus Gold Award winner and a 2022 Gold Award winner in the Independent Press Awards. Her writer’s guide, The Elemental Journey of Purposeful Memoir, won a 2017 Nautilus Silver Award. Her memoir, What I Forgot …And Why I Remembered, was a finalist for the 2018 International Book Awards.

Jennifer has presented at numerous conferences and has written for Yes! Magazine, Kosmos Journal, Deep Times Journal and many academic journals and volumes. She has offered memoir workshops at the Bioneers Conference, Kripalu, Mt Holyoke College, the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, the Lunenburg School of the Arts, Edith Wharton’s The Mount, and many other venues, as well as online through her Birth Your Truest Story online writers’ community. She offers author coaching and manuscript review for both memoir and fiction and is the publisher of Green Fire Press. Find out more at JenniferBrowdy.com.


About purposeful memoir

Jennifer coined the term “purposeful memoir” to describe the contemplative process of looking backward in order to understand the present more fully, necessary inner work for all who wish to change the world for the better.

Spiritual ecologist Joanna Macy notes that Jennifer’s own purposeful memoir, What I Forgot…and why I remembered,can inspire us all to see how our lives have been hijacked or distracted from what we most deeply desire, and how we can reclaim our own lives for the sake of life on Earth.”

Psychologist and author Mary Pipher noted that What I Forgot “documents the process of waking up to the world around us and demonstrates how vibrant and rewarding an engaged life can be.”

Anne Baring, author of The Dream of the Cosmos: A Quest for the Soul, described What I Forgot as “a beautifully written and moving memoir of a woman’s search to find her authentic self, buried beneath decades of social conditioning and academic prejudice. It offers hope, inspiration and support to all those who, aware of disaster staring us in the face, are searching for courage and insight into how to respond. A timely and most valuable contribution to the greatest challenge of our times.”

Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D. is a professor of literature, writing and media arts at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and the online global Bard Open Society University Network, with a special focus on purposeful memoir and media arts for social and environmental justice.

Her latest book, Purposeful Memoir as a Quest for a Thriving Future, was a 2022 Nautilus Gold Award winner and a 2022 Gold Award winner in the Independent Press Awards. Her writer’s guide, The Elemental Journey of Purposeful Memoir, won a 2017 Nautilus Silver Award. Her memoir, What I Forgot …And Why I Remembered, was a finalist for the 2018 International Book Awards.

Jennifer has presented at numerous conferences and has written for Yes! Magazine, Kosmos Journal, Deep Times Journal and many academic journals and volumes. She has offered memoir workshops at the Bioneers Conference, Kripalu, Mt Holyoke College, the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, the Lunenburg School of the Arts, Edith Wharton’s The Mount, and many other venues, as well as online through her Birth Your Truest Story online writers’ community. She offers author coaching and manuscript review for both memoir and fiction and is the publisher of Green Fire Press. Find out more at JenniferBrowdy.com.


About purposeful memoir

Jennifer coined the term “purposeful memoir” to describe the contemplative process of looking backward in order to understand the present more fully, necessary inner work for all who wish to change the world for the better.

Spiritual ecologist Joanna Macy notes that Jennifer’s own purposeful memoir, What I Forgot…and why I remembered,can inspire us all to see how our lives have been hijacked or distracted from what we most deeply desire, and how we can reclaim our own lives for the sake of life on Earth.”

Psychologist and author Mary Pipher noted that What I Forgot “documents the process of waking up to the world around us and demonstrates how vibrant and rewarding an engaged life can be.”

Anne Baring, author of The Dream of the Cosmos: A Quest for the Soul, described What I Forgot as “a beautifully written and moving memoir of a woman’s search to find her authentic self, buried beneath decades of social conditioning and academic prejudice. It offers hope, inspiration and support to all those who, aware of disaster staring us in the face, are searching for courage and insight into how to respond. A timely and most valuable contribution to the greatest challenge of our times.”

Explore the winding trails of your life story in the Tuscan hills!

Our lives are so rich and complex, it can be hard to find the right path when you sit down to write memoir. Which stories to tell? Which people to include? What aspects of your experience are important to share, and who are you trying to reach?

Jennifer lecturing. Photo by B. Docktor

In this lively weeklong writing workshop, award-winning memoirist and writing teacher Jennifer Browdy will guide you through the art and craft of memoir writing, providing key organizational strategies and techniques to lead you into the heart of the story that only you can tell.

  • Write in response to carefully designed prompts that will open new doors to fruitful explorations of your life story
  • Share your writing in good company, using Jennifer’s time-tested approach to non-evaluative, productive peer review
  • Schedule a one-on-one meeting with Jennifer to discuss your project in more depth
  • Bring your notebook along for meditative a stroll through the Tuscan hills

Whether you are just contemplating a memoir or already have one in progress, this week of guided writing in the uplifting light of the Tuscan hills will raise your spirits and give you new ideas and approaches to memoir, while you enjoy the camaraderie of a warm and welcoming writers’ retreat.


San Fedele, on the Tuscan terraces

In addition to our organized sessions, there are 2 swimming pools, a tennis court, and a la carte massage therapy available throughout your stay.  Cultural excursions to nearby towns to experience historical traditions and epicurean delights will add to our Tuscan inspiration.


Medieval Siena, photo by Linda Mironti

Additional Activities: Your week of memoir writing will be interspersed with other fun activities and visits to towns and villages to experience local markets, museums and shops. Our daily sessions will be combined with other adventures such as:

  • Day trip to Medieval Siena to explore, shop, take photos
  • Excursions to nearby hilltowns like Radda, Castellina, Monteriggioni, etc.
  • Visit to Chianti winery for a tour and tasting
  • Gourmet meals accompanied with wines from the region will be served on the terrace in the evenings, overlooking the Tuscan countryside.

After excursions we’ll return to relax in our 1,000 year old monastery to enjoy the surroundings, contemplate our writings, enjoy a glass of wine and an informal review of the day.  Then we will move to the dining room (the authentic refectory where the monks used to assemble) to enjoy our local chef’s authentic, home-made Tuscan meal, recapping the day’s adventure with good company.

San Fedele at night


Price:

$3,395 p/p based on double occupancy
Optional supplements:

  • $575 for single room-limited availability
  • $275 p/p for Jr. Suite

Includes:

  • Shared double room with ensuite bathroom in restored monastery (single rooms available for a supplement, see above)
  • Daily traditional breakfast and dinner, including wine
  • Daily memoir writing classes
  • Excursion to medieval Siena
  • Excursions to nearby hilltowns for lunch, photography, shopping, etc. (Monteriggioni, Radda, Castellina…)
  • Pick up from Florence train station at 3:30pm on first Saturday
  • Drop off in Florence on final day

Does Not Include:

  • Airfare
  • Lunch
  • Independent meals and sight-seeing
  • Gratuities

To Register:  just click on the Sign Up Now button.  A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to secure your spot in the workshop.  Payment can be made on line with a credit card, or you can follow the instructions to send in your registration and payment by mail.  Once we receive your deposit we will send you a formal Registration Confirmation with further information about the program.  You will receive 2-3 other correspondences by email prior to the workshop with information about Italy, a supplies list and an electronic invoice for the balance.  Final Balance is due by April 15th.  Any time prior to your arrival, if you have questions about anything regarding the trip or the program, you can contact us by email or phone and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Contact us for more information:  info@ilchiostro.com or speak to us live at 800-990-3506.

Tuscany, photo by Marjorie Glick

Borgo San Fedele

— San Fedele is a restored 12th century monastery floating in the Chianti hills —

©Lester Lefkowitz 7003-001Il Chiostro at San Fedele is the combined skills of Linda and Michael of Il Chiostro joining together with Nicolo and Renata of San Fedele to produce a unique and inspiring environment rooted in the traditional Tuscan values of beauty, great food, an appreciation for nature and the value of community.  The monastery, dating back to the 12th century, was meticulously restored using traditional building methods and all original materials. Today, the monastery remains true to its original spirit, rich architectural detail. The 16 rooms and suites where participants are housed have lovely modern bathrooms, screened windows, air conditioning, period furniture, wi-fi internet service, satellite television and minibar, all designed to perfectly compliment the medieval surroundings.

The original soaring chapel is now used as a large art studio or workshop space. The monks’ refectory, where a lost 16th century fresco was uncovered during renovation, is now the dining room connected to a state-of-the-art kitchen and the old stone cantinas where they stored their wine have been transformed into studio and classroom space.

Common/Studio space in the ex-chapel

For information about the history of this monastery, Click here to go to San Fedele’s web site…

lester-lefkowitz-room1

Rather than  hotel, San Fedele is classified as a historic residence in Italy.  That means that it is an intimate setting, preserved along strict historical guidelines to preserve the spirit of the setting.  The owners are on site to oversee this unique combination of historic landmark and modern day comfort.

Accommodations are spacious shared double rooms or junior suites. Each room, because it was converted from the original structure of the monastery without altering the building, is unique in shape. Furnishings and decor were selected to coordinate with the historic, subdued feeling of the monastery, but in a comfortable, modern style. All rooms have two beds that can be separated into twins or combined into one large matrimonial. There is a sitting area, refrigerator, DSL wi-fi, television, air-conditioning, heating, modern private bathroom with shower and hair dryers.

lester-lefkowitz-room3 lester-lefkowitz-room2

There are a limited number of single rooms available at a supplement of $575.

2 Jr. Suites for a minimum of 2 people are available for a supplement of $275 per person.

Night shot piazza©Lester Lefkowitz 7003-010© Lester Lefkowitz 7184-022Archway from rose garden and breakfast buffet in the refectory (photos by Lester Lefkowitz)

Terrace-MJossThe back of San Fedele is surrounded by a large al fresco dining terrace with the original terra cotta tile designs reproduced down to the smallest details. The terrace overlooks the same organic vegetable and flower garden tended by the monks for centuries. Beyond are the rolling Chianti vineyards that make this part of Tuscany so breathtaking.

Other common spaces include a large classroom carved into the rock of the ancient wine cellar, an expansive private piazza, a 16 x 7 meter swimming pool and sprawling landscaped grounds on a rolling hillside.

The upper pool at San Fedele

To San Fedele-LMFlorence will be our meeting point on the first day of the workshop. A van will pick up the group at the train station at about 3:30 pm on Saturday afternoon.

We recommend that you fly into either Florence, Pisa or Rome (Milan is a bit too far away). Florence is closer but it doesn`t have an intercontinental airport, so there are no direct flights from the US. You would have to change planes in a larger European city. From the Florence airport you must take a shuttle bus (Volainbus) into the center (20 minutes).

There are more scheduled flights from the US to Rome, many of them direct. From Rome, you will need to take a train to Florence (about 2 1/2 hours).
Important! In making your return flight arrangements, if you are flying home on Saturday after the workshop, try not to book a flight too early. From our location allow 1 ½ hours to get to the Florence airport or 3 ½ hours to get to the Rome airport.

For suggestions about getting to Rome or Florence, accommodations or other logistics, please consult ourTraveling to Italy link. Renting a car from all the major rental agencies is possible if you prefer to be more independent during the week.

Fall vineyards

Fall vineyards

 

Borgo San Fedele sits conveniently on a country road connecting the charming medieval walled town of Radda and the village of Vagliagli. Other nearby hilltowns include Castellina-in-Chianti, Monteriggioni and Volpaia. It is about 45 minutes from San Gimignano and Volterra. Many of these towns have roots in the earlier Etruscan civilization that permeated this area prior to the Romans.

San Fedele is located about 12 km northeast of Siena and 45 km south of Florence.

The Food

For us at Il Chiostro, helping our guests to experience the traditional food in one of the earth`s richest, most sensual areas is our pleasure. The Chianti region of Tuscany is Italy’s famous wine and olive oil producing region. Here we want to expose you to the wonders of simple Italian cooking known in the area as cucina povera. Our chef is a Tuscan native who uses recipes from her mother and grandmother to bring the tradition of not only Tuscany, but specifically the Chianti region, to the table each evening.  We use seasonal, organic products, locally produced by small farms and family shops. Our chef searches for the best of Tuscany to serve you. Tuscan cuisine is a simple art that has been refined over the centuries to surprise our palates while the red chianti wine comforts our souls. Come explore what food can really be all about.

© Lester Lefkowitz 7184-057Candle Light Dinner2-CharlesAnderson
About Your Il Chiostro Hosts
Linda and Michael, and their program managers will host your program in Tuscany. They have been organizing workshops in Italy since 1995 and each person brings a special talent to the program. You can read more about them by following the About Il Chiostro link. At the Tuscan Renaissance Center, the owners of San Fedele, Nicolo and Renata, live on site. They will be available throughout the program to talk about the history of the monastery, the renovation and this area of Tuscany they call home.

In addition to your workshop
Optional activities offered with this program will focus on the cultural, gastronomic, historical and artistic heritage of Tuscany. This area has been an inspiration to countless people for centuries. What Tuscany offers its visitors is truly astounding:

Bell tower-smallArt – San Fedele is located conveniently between the cities of Medieval Siena and Renaissance Florence packed with some of the most famous masterpieces in the world.

Wine -You are in the heart of the Chianti region, synonomous with the most famous wine that Italy produces. But the innovative Tuscan vintners are also producing Super Tuscans, red varietals that are quickly ascending the ranks of world-class wine.

History – this area was settled by the Etruscans centuries before the Romans were a civilized society. Their necropoli dot the fields throughout the area. Nearby towns like Radda, Vagliagli and Castellina date from the early Middle Ages. Florence was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. San Fedele witnessed most of this from its panoramic perch atop the hillside.

Foodcucina povera is the typical Tuscan cuisine that has become popular around the world. The recipes are simple, emphasizing local and seasonal products: porcini mushrooms, salumi, legumes, vegetables, pasta, bread and game meats. Visiting an outdoor food market, you will understand the wisdom of this very healthy cuisine.

Crafts – perhaps the harmony of the landscape has been the inspiration for many local craftsmen. Exquisite hand-painted ceramics are the prime example, closely followed by mosaics, leather, woodworking, and textiles.