Perfecting your Prose (in Paradise)

A residential course for writers of novels, short stories and nonfiction

With Emma Hooper and Samantha Harvey

23.06.19 – 30.06.19

Maximum group size: 8 (11 with room-sharing)

Spend a luxurious week completely dedicated to your craft, while being inspired by the scenery of Emilia-Romagna in Northern Italy and nourished by its sun, cuisine and wine. With a strong focus on your own goals and work, award-winning authors Samantha Harvey and Emma Hooper will guide you through a course of craft and technique lectures, mentored workshops and one-to-one tutorials, as well as informal industry advice sessions.

Extracurricular time can be spent writing in your own personal studio space in the villa’s historic stables, or exploring the surrounding landscape, rich with inspiring history, architecture, flora and fauna.

Villa Lugara
Villa Lugara
The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey

Full course fees £1055 to £1225 depending on room chosen at Villa Lugara

  • 7 nights accommodation at the beautifully restored Villa Lugara (discount available for those willing to share a twin room)

  • Full board with food from chef Louise Davis; Mediterranean cuisine with local organic produce, local wine and all your refreshments. One dinner at a local trattoria not included in the price.

  • A personal studio space in the Stable Studios and your course materials

  • Expert teaching and guidance from tutors Samantha Harvey and Emma Hooper

  • Full use of Villa Lugara and the swimming pool

  • Minibus transfer from Bologna Airport on arrival and departure*

*Minibus transfer from Bologna Airport on arrival and departure for recommended flights only; from Heathrow and from Bristol.

Course Description

  • Technique and Craft lecture every morning Monday – Thursday: A talk and/or workshop focusing on honing a particular aspect of writing.

  • Mentored workshop Tuesday and Thursday afternoons: A session where students share and discuss each other’s work, led and directed by a tutor.

  • Walking workshop on Friday morning: A creativity-sparking exercise making the most of our gorgeous surroundings.

  • One-to-one tutorial with Sam or Emma for each student on Saturday*: A chance to get focused individual feedback on a piece of your work from Sam or Emma, as well as to address any specific questions or concerns you might have regarding your writing.

  • Informal evening events after dinner on Monday, Wednesday and Friday: Casual, friendly events (with wine!) including readings of work that inspire you, your own work, and a “ask me anything” industry and career Q&A session with your tutors.

*NB. You will have your tutorial with whichever tutor isn’t leading your mentored workshops so as to ensure every student has the opportunity to present work to both.

Travel Information

Fly to Bologna from where you will be collected by minibus. Group collection and drop off times will be arranged by email.

You can find more details on how to get hereFor the more adventurous, you may want to allow time for a longer visit which could include the nearby cities of Modena, Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Parma and Ferrara, Piacenza and Mantova, read more about the area at

The Team

Samantha Harvey

Samantha Harvey is the author of four novels: The Wilderness, All Is Song, Dear Thief and The Western Wind. Her novels have been shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Guardian First Book Award and the James Tait Black Prize, and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Baileys Prize, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize and the HWA Gold Crown Award. She won the AMI Literature Award and the Betty Trask Prize. She lives in Bath, UK, and is a Reader in creative writing at Bath Spa University.

Emma Hooper

The Guardian’s “New Face of Fiction,” Emma Hooper is an author, musician and academic. Her best-selling debut novel Etta and Otto and Russell and James (2015) was published in 23 territories and 18 languages worldwide. Her second novel, Our Homesick Songs (2018) was longlisted for The Giller Prize. Her other publications include work for McSweeney’s Quarterly, The Guardian, Bloomsbury Academic, and Elle Magazine.
As a musician she has performed with numerous artists including Peter Gabriel and Newton Faulkner, and has released two solo albums as Waitress for the Bees. She’s a reader in creative writing and music at Bath Spa University.

Louise Davis

Louise Davis has been a chef for over 30 years, and will be preparing delicious meals for us. Her Mediterranean cooking style is based on local produce and the freshest fruit and vegetables from the kitchen garden.

Fiona Geilinger

 Running the villa and supporting the course is host Fiona Geilinger, an artist and short film maker. She is a keen gardener, looking after the kitchen garden with the support of neighbouring friends Elis and Graziano, who keep things going when she is back in the UK. Find out more about Fiona’s work at and

Steve Geilinger

Helping out with driving and other odd jobs during the course will be Steve (Spike) Geilinger. He is a freelance director, working mainly for the BBC, making documentaries about fine art, architecture, history and food. Most recently he has been making the series ‘Britain’s Lost Masterpieces’ with Bendor Grosvenor for BBC Four.


Reserve your place now by filling out the form below, or email us for more information. We will send you full course information, registration forms and payment details. A non-refundable deposit of £235 per person is required by bank transfer after you complete your booking. Full course fees are payable by 1st May 2019.