We’ve always considered it part of our project to expose people to new ideas and experiences. Most of the time, that’s meant conveying to folks outside of the cannabis community the diversity and breadth of this wonderful culture. Today, though, we’d like to present to the Splimm audience an incredible opportunity from the indie press world.
Italy in June
Does your ideal summer involve a stay on a working organic farm, yoga every morning, and days filled with writing and heady conversation? Want to wander the cobblestone streets of a medieval Italian village and call it work? How about day trips to an artisanal winery and ancient Roman ruins? If these options sound appealing, then Out of the Castle might be for you.
This weeklong, all-inclusive conference and retreat in Pontelandolfo, Italy aims to give women* writers the time, space, and community to move forward in their work. The thoughtfully designed program includes workshops with award-winning authors, public readings, and time for writing and critique. Participants will enjoy authentic farm-to-table meals, an onsite bathing stream, spacious accommodations, and plenty of good wine.
Scholarship, friendship & travel
Maria Williams, conference organizer and founder/editor at Shape&Nature Press, underscores the importance of embracing opportunities for both self-care and communion: “Taking time out from daily life to focus solely on writing is a gift every writer should give herself. But to be able to do that in the company of other women writers, to share in scholarship and friendship, takes the act of writing beyond the self and brings it to the level of fellowship.”
There’s also something magical about gathering in a place so removed from everyday life. Says Williams, “We think travelling abroad is important in this process because it takes us out of our comfort zones while at the same time introduces us to writers from other cultures. This trip to Italy includes meeting and readings with local women writers and helps to create bonds across borders. So, it opens up our view of the world and creates connections with like-minded writers abroad. Plus, it’s just fun to be in Italy! It’s such a beautiful place.”
Out of the Castle is open to writers at all career stages. “New, untrained writers are certainly as welcome as are more seasoned writers,” Williams explains. “What we’re looking for are writers who are able to both benefit from and offer insights to the group. The idea is that each woman will bring something to the table that is important for the others to hear. Through conversations, craft talk, critique, and sitting together at meals and in play, we can move each other further along the writing path with long-lasting effects.”
Experienced, compassionate teachers
Individualized attention from experienced and compassionate master class teachers, Susan Stinson and Kerry-Lee Powell, is a significant component of the program. “Having a successful, working writer take time out to read your work is an invaluable opportunity. Her expertise will illuminate the answers to so many questions you might have about your writing and give you insight into issues you hadn’t even thought about,” Williams relates. “I’d say this is the most important aspect of the conference. The advice you glean from your teachers will stay with you for a lifetime.”
All writers – and all parents, really – deserve a chance to prioritize their personal growth through transformational experience such as this. If your interest is piqued, visit shapeandnature.com to apply. The deadline is January 1, 2017, so get on it!
*Transgender women and gender nonconforming people are welcome and encouraged to apply.
Shape&Nature Press was founded five years ago with a desire to publish writing that reaches out beyond traditional boundaries, whether through content or form. They publish fiction, poetry, and creative projects. Like Splimm, Shape&Nature moves outside of social norms to expand awareness and create community. We share a belief in peace and art, family, education, and literature; we seek a similar world.