The Writers’ Sanctuary

Next Retreat: 31st August to 7th September 2024

No one is a writer until they start.

Give your inner critic a week off and come to Italy to transform your creative practice, guided by award winning storytellers, including two Sunday Times bestselling authors.

The Writers’ Sanctuary offers group workshops and one to one support, as well as plenty of personal writing time to explore new ideas or take an existing project to the next level.

Do you find that you’re distracted by the challenges of life and keep putting writing off? Then come to the Writers’ Sanctuary and write your first, second or three hundred and fiftieth chapter.

From 31st August to 7th September 2024, join us in an Umbrian villa where the gift of welcome is baked into the bricks.

Your mentors, Rhik Samadder, Sophie Heawood and Adam Shakinovsky are all writers who have collectively worked across journalism, memoir, feature film, stage and television.

As generous-spirited creatives themselves, they will be your guides and champions.

Workshops will cover core areas of storytelling such as writing from life, finding your voice and unlocking creativity.

Every participant will also have three dedicated one-to-one tutorials (one with each tutor) over the course of the week to discuss their goals.

As well as swimming in the villa’s pool, free classes in Pilates, qi-gong and breathwork will be included as part of the week.

The Writers’ Sanctuary balances socialising with peace and quiet. Enjoy the gorgeous lunches and four course Tuscan dinners at a communal table at no extra cost, share stories over wine and endless Aperol Spritz or authentic Italian coffee. Equally you will also find nooks, snugs and hideaways should you wish to write in silence.

Let the tutors, the staff, the starlit skies and dewy mornings take care of you, while your ideas come to life.

The surroundings

Villa Pia is an award-winning family villa in Lippiano, a traditional Italian town on the border of Umbria and Tuscany. The area remains as beautiful and unspoiled as it was 500 years ago. Famed for inspiring the architecture, painting and sculpture of the Renaissance period, here civilisation and nature sit side by side.

The main house at Villa Pia is a 15th-century Italian country manor house, once the summer residence of a Florentine family. The large, rustic house plus converted barn and stables provide 17 bedrooms. Every room is unique, retaining original and traditional features and furnishings. In the main house there are communal rooms for dining, and space for you to relax, chat with a fellow workshop member or curl up with a book in the library. The house opens out onto the courtyard–perfect for time outdoors, with an aperitivo.

Book your place

Shared occupancy is priced at £1250, single occupancy with shared bathroom at £1450, and single occupancy with en suite at £1750. This includes all tuition, meals, drinks, snacks, pilates, tai chi and breathwork.

For bookings and enquiries, please get in touch via the VILLA PIA BOOKING PAGE.

Rhik Samadder

About Rhik Samadder

Rhik Samadder is an actor, writer and broadcaster. He has worked for the RSC, HBO, BBC and Channel 4. He created the popular Inspect A Gadget column in the Guardian, and several other long-running columns. He writes features for GQ, Waitrose and Observer Magazine and in 2019 he released a memoir, I Never Said I Loved You, which became a Sunday Times bestseller. The book is currently being adapted as a feature film, with Rhik writing the screenplay.

Sophie Heawood

About Sophie Heawood

Sophie Heawood began her writing career reviewing bands for music magazines (while working in the nightclubs where they played), which led to her becoming a pop music critic for The Guardian. She spent many years at the paper, culminating in her taking on the lead column in the Guardian Weekend magazine before leaving to freelance for all UK broadsheets.

She now interviews celebrities for Vogue, The Sunday Times and The Observer and writes a Substack column called The Sophist.

Her bestselling memoir, The Hungover Games, was published by Penguin Random House in 2020 as part of a two-book deal (she is working on the sequel) and by Little Brown in the U.S. It has been optioned for TV by Moonage Pictures and is in development with Sophie as screenwriter, telling the story of when she moved to Hollywood to party with the A-List and ended up accidentally becoming someone’s mum.

Adam Shakinovsky

About Adam Shakinovsky

Adam is a seasoned producer and writer who is passionate about story-telling across different formats.

As a writer, Adam has been commissioned to provide online content for the Sunday Times and his fiction writing has been long-listed for competitions such as The Brick Lane Short Story Prize, The Red Planet TV Prize and The Bath Children’s Novel Award. He won The People’s Choice Award for his short film ACOUSTIC KITTY at the BAFTA-certified Aesthetica Short Film Festival.

Adam is Co-Director and Co-Presenter of ‘One Track Minds’, an award-winning, story-telling show. The nationwide events attract contributors from across the creative industry to share stories of songs that change their life. Following the huge success of the show, with over 300 guest stars, Adam co-edited and contributed it’s first published anthology released in 2021.

He runs regular storytelling workshops for established and aspiring writers. More recently he has works as a storytelling coach, helping people find their authentic voice.

For 7 years, Adam was Head of Productions and an Executive Producer at Agile Films before launching his own production company, Bru Productions in 2013. During this period, Adam led diverse and complex projects across the commercial, television and charity sectors.