Writing It Real in the Cinque Terre

DATES: 05/27/2023 - 06/03/2023
LOCATION: Cinque Terre
PRICE: $3,495.00
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:
VISIT WEBSITE

Sheila Bender is the founder of Writing It Real, an online community and resource center for those who write from personal experience. Her most recent books are the poetry collection, Since Then: Poems and Short Prose (nominated for the Washington State Book award), Behind Us The Way Grows Wider: Collected Poems 1980 – 2013, the prose memoir, A New Theology Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief, and Writing Personal Essays: Shaping and Sharing Your Personal Experience among others.

Sheila received a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Washington and since then has committed much of her career to facilitating others in writing to the essence in many genres including flash fiction/nonfiction, poetry, memoir, and personal essay.

She is a past Distinguished Guest Lecturer at Seattle University and for five+ years hosted the KPTZ.org radio program “In Conversation: Discussions on Writing and the Writing Life.” You can listen to the programs as podcasts archived on Writingitreal.com – <https://writingitreal.com/article-archives/audio>.

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Currently, Sheila is a regular instructor for The Writer’s Workshoppe in Port Townsend, WA and continues to teach online for Il Chiostro, Women on Writing and the International Association for Journal Writing as well as through her website WritingItReal.com.

Here are 2 recent interviews from her KPTZ.org radio program “In Conversation: Discussions on Writing and the Writing Life”:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/meet-the-elite-intro/episode/5223-sheila-bender-10-21-22-author-and-writing-teacher-james-207882844

https://podbay.fm/p/podcast-business-news-network-platinum/e/1667833509

Practicing Creative Nonfiction, Poetry and Fiction Strategies for Writing

If you’ve wanted to travel to Italy with a group of like-minded writing enthusiasts (all levels of experience and publications welcome!), our spring writer’s workshop in the inspiring Cinque Terre is a wonderful opportunity. During seven days in Italy, you’ll enjoy morning and evening writing workshops and readings, afternoon excursions with time to wander and write, and one-on-one writing consults with instructor Sheila Bender.

Harborof Vernazza, photograph by Lynn Stender

Gathering inspiration from the vistas overlooking the Mediterranean and from the bustling historic fishing villages we’ll explore, not to mention the delicious food of the Ligurian coast and local wine served at all our dinners, you’ll write new work, expand older work you bring with you, and gather the responses of trusted listeners.

Bring your laptop, tablet or just pen and paper, along with curiosity about sub-genres new to you and an appetite for Italian vistas. You are guaranteed to come away enchanted, unblocked on writing that has been troubling you, and loaded with new work.

My week at Il Chiostro in breathtaking Tuscany, learning, writing, sharing, bonding, and touring was a joyous gift  that I gave to myself. Every moment was as delicious as each morsel of Italian food and glass of wine.  Staff Michael and Linda are two of the most gracious hosts I have ever met, while teacher Sheila herself is a gift.  Cheers to all lucky enough to enjoy this unique experience next spring! — Nancy Smiler Levinson, 2019 (with permission)

Podcasts, publications and Interviews:

Meet the Elite podcast 5223 Sheila Bender-10 21 22-Author And Writing Teacher

6370 KC Armstrong Interviews Sheila Bender Poet, Author and Founder of Writing It Real

Pantoum from Northern Jutland, poem published in the British journal called The Lake

Author Magazine Interview
Sheila interviewed by Mark Matousek
Sheila on Writing the Personal Essay


Additional Activities: Our daily painting will be combined with other adventures such as:

  • train pass to visit other towns (Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Manarola and Corniglia)
  • boat trip for writing inspiration
  • free shuttle service from the hotel to the main town
  • optional bring your swim suit and jump into the blue Mediterranean!
  • pick up/return to Florence

Student comment from recent workshop in Tuscany:

A group of wonderful people were with me, and we shared good food, music,  laughs and heart-rending, life-affirming stories. A magician lived in our midst. Small, delicate in stature, with a whispery voice, she hypnotized us so that for eight precious days, instead of being mere mortals, we became writers.  -GM, 2022

The beach in Monterosso


The Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. “The Five Lands” comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. For more about the Cinque Terre, the Lonely Planet gives a nice description with photos:  http://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/cinque-terre

View from our hotel, La Cabana

The Food – We will have 5 dinners organized together at local restaurants and trattorie in Monterosso-al-Mare.  We’ll sample the pastas, seafood and specialties of each area.  Local wine is included with all dinners.  Lunches and 1 dinner will be independent for you to explore the local cuisine on your own.

Given its location on the Mediterranean, seafood is plentiful in the local cuisine. Anchovies of Monterosso are a local specialty designated with a Protected Designation of Origin status from the European Union. The mountainsides of the Cinque Terre are heavily terraced and are used to cultivate grapes and olives. This area, and the region of Liguria, as a whole, is known for pesto — a sauce made from basil leaves, garlic, salt, olive oil, pine nuts and pecorino cheese. Focaccia is a particularly common locally baked bread product. Farinata is also a typical snack found in bakeries and pizzerias — essentially it is a savoury and crunchy pancake made from a base of chick-pea flour.


Our terrace/studio at La Cabana

Price: $3,495 p/p based on double occupancy

Optional Supplements:

  • $475 for single room
  • $250 p/p for shared suite with Jacuzzi and terrace

Includes:

  • Shared double room in Hotel La Cabana in Monterosso (singles available for a supplement)
  • Daily traditional breakfast
  • 5 dinners with wine
  • Daily writing sessions and readings with Sheila
  • Train passes for exploring other towns
  • One boat trip on the Mediterranean
  • Transfers from and return to Florence

Does Not Include:

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

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.

Cabana-5 TerreOur small hotel La Cabana sits on a small hill that divides the historic center of Monterosso from the new part, Fegina.  It is a typical Ligurian farmhouse that has belonged to one family for generations. The vines and the olive trees that they have cultivated form the backdrop to the rooms that have been recently refurbished with the utmost respect for the environment and the traditions of the Cinque Terre, but without forgetting modern comforts.

Cabana roomThe 9 rooms are furnished with antiques, parquet floors, curtains, and finishes intended to frame the unparalleled panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea. It is an oasis of relaxation completely surrounded by greenery and silence with wonderful vistas and gardens to paint.  Our group will take over the entire hotel for the week.

To get down to Monterosso you can take advantage of their free shuttle service or, if you are up for it,  walking down is not difficult and takes less than ten minutes. It’s a nice walk down that offers beautiful panoramic views. On the descent, you will pass the ancient 11th century castle (today houses the cemetery of the village) and wind through olive trees until you reach the historical center of town. Coming back up, the shuttle might be a good idea!

For more information, visit their web site:  http://www.lacabanacinqueterre.com/en/index.php

cabana-breakfast-room1

Breakfast room

cabana-common-room1

Reception

cabana-driveway

Entrance to La Cabana

cabana-garden1

Garden overlooking the town

cabana-terrazza3

The terrace

cabana-vista-west

View from the terrace

shuttle

La Cabana shuttle

The Cinque Terre are in the section of Italy known as Liguria on the western coast.  The main city of Liguria is Genova.  These 5 towns were traditional fishing villages, cut off from the mainland by a steep range of mountains.  For centuries they were only accessible by the sea.

For our program, we will meet the group in Florence on the first day.  From there a private bus will take the group to our hotel in Monterosso-al-Mare.

To visit the town from our hotel there is a regular shuttle bus.  The towns are small with narrow roads, so the shuttle will leave us off in the newer section, then we will walk through a short tunnel to the historic center of town where most of the shops and restaurants are located.

To go between towns (Vernazza, Manarola, Corniglia or Rio Maggiore) there are local trains connecting all of them.

AHoltzman-Boat

5 Terre fishing boat, photo by Andy Holtzman

The Cinque Terre – is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. “The Five Lands” comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside.

For more about the Cinque Terre, the Lonely Planet gives a nice description with photos: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/cinque-terre

The Food:  Given its location on the Mediterranean, seafood is plentiful in the local cuisine. Anchovies of Monterosso are a local specialty designated with a Protected Designation of Origin status from the European Union. The mountainsides of the Cinque Terre are heavily terraced and are used to cultivate grapes and olives. This area, and the region of Liguria, as a whole, is known for pesto — a sauce made from basil leaves, garlic, salt, olive oil, pine nuts and pecorino cheese. Focaccia is a particularly common locally baked bread product. Farinata is also a typical snack found in bakeries and pizzerias — essentially it is a savoury and crunchy pancake made from a base of chick-pea flour. Epic porcini mushrooms are presented in a wooden box for you to chose for grilling with olive oil and garlic.

AHoltzman-photo 2  AHoltzman-Seaside Restaurant