Venice retreat stimulates and inspires writers


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For three years now, All About Writing has drawn together a small group of writers and spirited them away to Venice for a week-long creative retreat.And on 5 September, they will do it again.

Why Venice? That’s easy, they say. It certainly offers inspiration. The venue itself is extraordinary – providing the opportunity to live for a week in an original seventeenth century palazzo where Byron once attended soirees.

Jo-Anne Richards and Richard Beynon of All About Writing in Venice.
Jo-Anne Richards and Richard Beynon of All About Writing in Venice.

“There’s no escaping it,” says All About Writing co-founder Jo-Anne Richards. “The palazzo is every writer’s dream: fling open the window and write with a view of a canal or a cobbled square. Seek inspiration in its frescoed halls and art-lined ballrooms, or sit thinking on the terrace, gazing out over the domes and rooftops of Venice.”

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“An early walk,” adds co-founder Richard Beynon, “could carry you through the fruit and fish markets, just setting up for the day, over silent bridges, with just the splish of boats passing beneath.”

One of their past participants declared it to be “a life-changing experience”.

On a practical level, the retreat provides writing support and individual mentoring for those with an existing writing project or those who simply want to expand their creativity.

For those without a writing project, they give daily creative exercises. Besides a morning talk on aspects of writing, each participant has daily one-on-one mentoring time with Richard or Jo-Anne, devoted to their writing. Apart from that, the day is their own, to use as creatively as they please.

And because you can’t be creative on an empty stomach, All About Writing provides two extraordinary Venetian meals a day in the palazzo – from a cook who would grace any restaurant.

“The retreat was totally fabulous, and it exceeded all my expectations,” said a past participant. Another praised the “excellent creative sessions, feedback, encouragement, insight, caring…”

The Palazzo Albrizzi experience, she added, was “simply astonishing. Magic is happening here.”

In the past, the retreat has provided some with the chance to wander the streets and record impressions, others to begin a family history or work on existing novels and biographies, and still others to plan books or polish short stories.

What was celebrated above all was the most precious aspect of us all – the creative self – however each person chose to enrich it.

The Venice Writing Retreat runs from 5 to 12 September 2018. Places are limited. Further information can be found here

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