A residential course for writers of novels, short stories and non-fiction

With Emma Hooper and Samantha Harvey

11.06.22 – 18.06.22

Maximum group size: 8

Spend a week completely dedicated to your craft, 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 mentored workshops, craft and technique lectures, 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.


Tuition fee (EUR): €460 to be paid directly to Emma and Sam.

Villa Lugara Fee (EUR): €960 to €1075 depending on room chosen (€795 to share a twin room). 

The fee includes:

  • 7 nights accommodation at the beautifully restored Villa Lugara.

  •  Full board with food from chef Louise Davis; Mediterranean cuisine with local organic produce, local wine and all your refreshments. One lunch and one gelato are not included in the price

  • A personal studio space in the Stable Studios (you are also welcome to write in your room or in the grounds of Villa Lugara).

  • Full use of Villa Lugara and the swimming pool.

  • One transfer opportunity, by car, from Bologna Airport on arrival and departure. See travel information below.

Course Description

  • Mentored workshop every morning Monday to Thursday: A talk and/or workshop focusing on honing a particular aspect of writing.*

  • Technique and Craft lecture Monday and Tuesday afternoons: A session in which students share and discuss each other’s work, led and directed by a tutor.

  • Writing and walking workshop on Friday morning. (Gentle and suitable for all athletic abilities.)

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

  • Informal friendly evening events (with wine!) including readings of your own work, and an “ask me anything” industry and career Q&A session with your tutors.

  • Plenty of writing time in between sessions.

*NB. Participants should have a minimum of around 8,000 words, in total, of a work (or works) in progress for workshopping and tutorial sessions. 

Travel Information

Make your own way to Bologna airport from where you will be collected by car. One group collection and drop off time will be arranged by email.

If you would like to fly via another airport, or travel by train and meet us at Bologna airport, you can find more details on our how to get here page.

You may want to allow time for a longer visit which could include the nearby cities of Modena, Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Parma, Ferrara, Piacenza and Mantova. Read more about the area at villalugara.com/about-emilia-romagna.

The Team

Samantha Harvey

Samantha Harvey is the author of four novels: The Wilderness, All Is Song, Dear Thief and The Western Wind, as well as a work of non-fiction, The Shapeless Unease.  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 Canada’s prestigious 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, artist, Fiona Geilinger. She studied art by pupillage, with painter Nick Bodimeade and has an MA in Art and Design by Independent Project, University of Brighton. Find out more about Fiona’s work at fionageilinger.co.uk.

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.

How to Book

First send one email to both Emma and Sam to check your suitability for the course at ephooper@gmail.com and samdharvey@gmail.com. The tutors will also explain the arrangements for paying the tuition fee.

We will then send you a link to book your room at Villa Lugara via our booking portal. The course is booked on a first come first serve basis and you can reserve your place with a 20% deposit. The remaining 80% must be received by 12th April 2022 to retain your place.

If you have any queries about your stay at Villa Lugara contact us here.