Master Class in Tuscany

2019 Dates and Information Coming Soon

Please explore the details of the 2018 class below, and sign up for our newsletter to be notified of future opportunities.

The Tuscany Master Class offers a convergence of Hedgebrook’s retreat experience with the unique opportunity to study with a renowned writer in a small-group workshop and enjoy being in residence in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. Here writers will receive a taste of Hedgebrook’s “radical hospitality,” along with devoted time, space, and a new landscape and culture that will both nourish and inspire.

International critically acclaimed writer Lavanya Sankaran joins Hedgebrook as faculty for this spring’s Tuscany Master Class. Lavanya offers a multi-genre workshop that is open to writers of all backgrounds. Participation is limited to 8 writers to ensure individual attention and create an intimate, supportive writing community.

Unlocking Emotional Truth in Story with Lavanya Sankaran

Finding the emotional truth of a character is often the most rewarding aspect of telling story, and can be the most challenging. Even principal characters get hidden behind the story’s conflict, setting, gender stereotype or cultural assumption – and filtering out these layers to arrive at your character’s — and story’s — true, complex emotional core is not always easy. Often a stalled story may lay in an unexplored character, or in some truth inside yourself that blocks you from seeing the story in all its glory. Journeying to the truth of a character requires us to journey to the truth of our own selves. Inspired by this magnificent Tuscan setting, we will embark on a deep exploration of ourselves, our writing and our relationship to ourselves as writers. We will explore the 20 pages of your project combined with daily workshops covering both theory and practice: how we write is as important as what we write. This class is open to all writers of fiction or non-fiction.

Hedgebrook in Tuscany

Hannah TintiLAVANYA SANKARAN is a celebrated author who graduated from Bryn Mawr College, USA, and lives between Bangalore and New York. Nine US publishers competed in a three day auction for the rights to Lavanya Sankaran’s first two books: The Red Carpet (2005), a celebrated short story collection, and her debut novel, The Hope Factory (2013). Lavanya’s writing has spent over two years on best-selling lists, including the number 1 spot on Amazon India. She has been translated into French, German, Italian, Russian, and Polish and is currently published in over 15 countries. Critically acclaimed by the Washington Post, Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus, and compared to Charles Dickens by the British press, her writing has won several awards, including Barnes and Noble Discover New Writers, and Poets and Writers’ Best First Fiction award. Her opinion pieces and fiction appear in The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Atlantic, among others. Lavanya sponsors two literary fellowships at the Sangam Writers Residency as part of her arts philanthropy. For more information, visit

Hedgebrook in Tuscany

Dates: April 19-28, 2018
Location: Tuscany, Italy
$4400 to $5400, depending on accommodation preference.
Now Closed

An ancient medieval borgo in the heart of Chianti, the villa grounds are just three miles outside of the village of Panzano and within an hour’s driving distance to the Florence airport. Its position on a hillside overlooking the Pesa Valley offers exceptional views of the prized vineyards of the Conca d’Oro, a tapestry of olive groves, vineyards, woods and country estates in all directions. Building was begun on this house approximately one thousand years ago. In the medieval period, it evolved into a ‘borgo,’ or small village, clustered around an interior courtyard and protected by a typical Tuscan ‘torre’, or tower.

Today the restored property has 11 bedrooms, an outdoor pool, and beautiful gardens with a bocce court and many private areas to enjoy the views and atmosphere in peace and quiet. There are several common areas, a large kitchen and living room, and three terraces.  There is wireless internet accessible from most rooms, as well as a movie theatre and an extensive collection of films and books.

Hedgebrook in Tuscany

The Retreat Experience

Each writer will be housed in their own room at the villa with delicious meals and amenities provided. During their stay, writers will enjoy the sweeping views of the Tuscan countryside, free time for afternoon day-trips to explore nearby sites in Italy, and an intimate workshop limited to a small-group size of 8 students and led by Lavanya Sankaran. All class participants are free to arrive two days early to recover from jet lag and settle into the Italian countryside.

Fees and Policies

The cost of the class varies from $4400 to $5400, depending on the accommodation.  (Travel and alcohol are not included)
Some rooms have private baths w A/C. Some share a bath w one other writer. All rooms are private bedrooms in the villa. Some rooms have a writing space in the room, others a space elsewhere in the villa. Accommodations for up to 9 nights, three meals provided daily at the villa, all workshops and a personal one-on-one session with Lavanya Sankaran.

Accommodation Details

Price $5400 – Full Suites w private baths, work space in suite

Price $4900 – Simple Suite with shared bath, work space in suite

Price $4400 – Single Room with shared bath, work space either in room or villa


If selected, you will be required to send a non-refundable deposit of $1500 to Hedgebrook by March 19th to hold your spot. The balance must be paid in full by March 26th. Not included – airfare, transportation to/from villa, optional field trips, liquor, wine, and meals outside the villa.

Class participants and guests are responsible for their own travel. The closest airport is Florence, Italy. One can easily rent a car at the airport. Having your own transportation allows you to intimately experience the Tuscan countryside and we can provide you with directions to various nearby sites and hill towns. Hedgebrook can also assist in arranging drivers for hire to meet you at airport and transport you to and from the villa for an additional charge(@100 Euros). The villa is about one hour from Florence and the airport, 20 minutes from Greve and a stone’s throw from Panzano!

To arrive at the villa on Thursday, April 19th requires a flight departure from North America on Wednesday, April 18th.

Refund Policy



Please note: The application is accessible via SlideRoom. Each Master Class has a priority deadline listed below, and classes often fill with a wait list. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis by Hedgebrook staff and teachers, so we strongly recommend interested writers apply as soon as possible. We anticipate decisions will be finalized within one week of the priority deadline.

If you have questions about whether this Master Class is appropriate for you or your project, or any other question about the Series, please be in touch with us at 360-321-4786.


The priority deadline is March 5th (rolling applications still accepted after March 5th)
Notifications will be sent out by March 12th
Deposits due by March 19th
Payment in full due by March 26th
The Master Class begins April 19th and ends April 27th.
The morning of April 28th is the departure day (by 12 noon).

Apply Now