HUZZAH! YEAH! WOOO! WOOO! Massachusetts based, Shape & Nature Press is organizing a June 2017 writers’ retreat for women in Pontelandolfo! Why? Why not! Our green mountains, incredible history and welcoming residents could provide American writers with tons of inspiration. Shape & Nature’s founder, Maria Williams, is a grad school buddy of mine.
Maria explores Altilia – an archeological site nearby.
This past August, she came to hang out in the Sannio Hills with us and enjoy the village’s week long Festa. Maria loved our medieval village. One afternoon with pals George and Evert Ben from Holland, we had a four-hour lunch at my favorite agriturismo, Borgo di Cerquelle. I entertained the table with tales of the successful May 2016 “Cooking in the Kitchens of Pontelandolfo” event. Maria had a weird look in her eye and I realized later, I had given her an eureka moment!
That night as we sipped our Campari Spritzes, Maria looked at me and said, “why don’t I do a writer’s retreat for women here – in Pontelandolfo.” Why NOT!!!!! I screeched – lets get started. That is how this was born –
Out of the Castle
Writing Conference & Retreat – June 3-10, 2017
The first decision was where – that was a no brainer. The Agriturismo Borgo di Cerquelle is set in the mountain, has loving owners and is committed to farm-to-table cooking. The views from the bedrooms will inspire a novel or force the harried writer to take a moment and appreciate the beauty one finds in the Province of Benevento.
The next hurdle was finding an Italian female author to be the keynote speaker. The universe always provides – thanks to my New Jersey pal – another Maria – who introduced me to her pals Salvatore and Rosanna – I was introduced to Anna Santaliquido. I spent 3 days in Bari as the guests of Salvatore and Rosanna and had the opportunity to hang out with Anna, one of Italy’s most respected and greatly published poets. She is also the founder of the women’s poetry organization, Movimento Internazionale “Donne e Poesia”! Perfect! She is amazing and was excited to help.
Anna and I in Bari
Anna was not only enthusiastic about the writers’ retreat for women, but gave me tons of suggestions on how to integrate the community into the project. We will be organizing programs for middle school students and recent English speaking refugee immigrants. Public readings will be held and open to all.
Women writers of fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry are invited to participate in Out of the Castle, a writing conference and retreat. The conference is named in honor of 16th century Italian poet, Isabella di Morro, who was locked in her family castle by her tyrannical brothers but still managed to create a canon of work. So get out of your castle and come write in Pontelandolfo. For the details – here is the link to the Shape & Nature Conference Information.
Share the information with your literary pals!