Finish Your Book

Above the golden-green hills of Tuscany, Certaldo Alto's cobbled streets and hidden courtyards hold a fairytale medieval town.

Come and write...in a castle.

October 10 - 17 2021
Save the date!
Your rebirth begins in...
Rebirth Your Book in Tuscany 2021 Rediscover your novel or memoir and your desire for the page.
Personal editorial feedback & Coaching
An intimate, focused group
A revival of your creative self
"Allison, working with you and the retreat have totally transformed me
as a writer...at last, I know where I'm going with this book."

Amy Evrard Young

The Rebirth Difference

A FOCUSED WRITING WEEK WITH EDITORIAL SUPPORT, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND A CONCRETE PLAN TO FINISH YOUR BOOK.
Boutique Hotel

Certaldo Alto
Tuscany, Italy

6 days/7 nights

October 10th - 17th, 2021

Personal Guidance

Editorial feedback on 75 pages: plot, story & writing craft, plus your synopsis or chapter summaries. One-on-one coaching before, during & after.




The Venue

Your Guides

Allison K Williams and Dinty W. Moore

Please note: depending on how many writers are able to travel, this retreat will include up to 6 writers with Allison, or up to 10 writers with both Allison & Dinty.

photo of Allison K Williams

From idea to novel, proposal to memoir, first draft to first royalties, Allison K Williams brings deep understanding of dramatic structure, sensitivity to voice and theme, technical expertise, and contagious enthusiasm for your work.

Allison has edited and coached writers to deals with Penguin Random House, Knopf, Mantle, Spencer Hill, St. Martin’s and independent presses. She’s guided essayists to publication in the New Yorker, Time, the Guardian, the New York Times, McSweeney’s and TED Talks. As Social Media Editor for Brevity, she inspires thousands of writers with blogs on craft and the writing life.

Allison is the author of Get Published in Literary Magazines and Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro From Blank Page to Book. A former circus performer, Allison has written for NPR, CBC, the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Creative Nonfiction, McSweeney’s, Kenyon Review Online and Travelers’ Tales.

photo of Dinty W. Moore

A direct, honest and supportive teacher known for his ability to draw out meaning in memoir, Dinty W. Moore is author of The Story Cure: A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir and the memoir Between Panic & Desire among many other books.

Dinty has published essays and stories in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Arts & Letters, The Normal School and elsewhere. A former professor of nonfiction writing at Ohio University, he serves as Editor-in-Chief for Brevity, a noted online journal of flash nonfiction.

Dinty consults regularly with authors and publishers on book proposals and revisions, many going on to publish with Big Five houses and university presses. A well-known and popular workshop leader, he has led workshops in Spain, Scotland, Ireland, Mexico, and throughout the United States.

Il Castello

Certaldo Alto

A medieval castle-turned-boutique-hotel in the heart of the old town, overlooking hills covered by olive groves, vineyards and cypress trees. Simple rooms with private modern baths and writing desks surround a quiet courtyard and panoramic terrace. Rooms have views of the valley or the historic town center.

Our Itinerary

Explore & Be Inspired

re-energize with a midweek excursion
Palazzo Pretorio, Specialty Museums 2min walk
Cucina Guiseppina & Cooking School 2min walk
Funicolare di Certaldo, scenic tram Next door
Rebirth Your Book is also a travel experience. Allison is delighted to share a place she loves with a select group.
Explore hidden corners most tourists never see,
make spontaneous connections and renew your creative spirit.

Understand The Experience

From idea to novel | proposal to memoir
lone author to literary citizen

Your pre-arrival manuscript evaluation includes supportive, specific, written critique of up to 50 pages (plus your synopsis or chapter summaries), a coaching session, and a customized work plan for your retreat.

On location, you'll have daily guidance, craft seminars and a one-on-one session.

A post-retreat work plan, feedback on an additional 25 pages and follow-up coaching session help you sustain momentum at home.

To give the personal coaching and specific editorial feedback your manuscript needs before, during and after the retreat, participation is limited to six writers with Allison, or up to ten writers with Dinty and Allison.

Rooms are single occupancy. unless you choose to share with a writing friend or travel partner.

After a morning craft talk and generative writing exercise, writers work individually in shared spaces, revising their new writing, incorporating it into existing work, or focusing on their current project. Post-writing check-ins may include sharing short sections, but this is not a "workshop." Allison and Dinty provide individual guidance as needed. It's like writing at your favorite cafe—with peer and editorial support.

Focused time away from home helps you plow through pages.

Direct, specific feedback helps you write better.

Rebirth Your Book combines a retreat environment with personal editorial assistance. You'll have a work plan to start writing on day one. Questioning an editorial note? Lost your plot thread? Ask Allison or Dinty right now—we're across the table.

Pre-arrival session with editorial feedback and your work plan for the retreat.

Scheduled one-on-one time to discuss your draft-in-progress and writing goals. Informal chats and writing talk throughout the day.

Follow-up coaching session to sustain your writing momentum back home.

Rebirth Your Book happens in beautiful, culturally rich locations with great local food and a calm, supportive writing environment. Each retreat includes energy-boosting excursions to heritage sites and outdoor activities.

Your Itinerary

This Week You'll Finish A Draft
Chapter 1: Benvenuti a Certaldo! October 10th, 2021
Afternoon
Airport Pickups Florence Airport, Peretola (FLR)
1600
Arrive and settle in Il Castello, Certaldo Alto
1830
Orientation Walk & Welcome Dinner Certaldo Alto
2100
Buona notte Il Castello
Chapter 2: And So It Begins October 11th, 2021
0800
Breakfast available until 9:45AM Terrace (weather permitting)/Breakfast Room
1000
Morning Craft Talk & Writing In Company Il Castello
1200
Live-Editing or Publishing Talk Breakfast Room
1330
Lunch Terrace/Dining Room
1430
Open Time for Writing/Exploring Where You Will
1930
Dinner Terrace/Dining Room
Chapter 3: The Write Way October 12th, 2021
0800
Breakfast available until 9:45AM Terrace (weather permitting)/Dining Room
1000
Morning Craft Talk & Writing In Company Il Castello
1200
Open Time Where You Will
1230
Depart for Volterra tour (includes lunch & dinner) Meet in the lobby
Afternoon
Exploring Tuscany Tour the hill town of Volterra; wine-tasting; olive-oil tasting.
Evening
Dinner with Traditional Tuscan Salumi Platters Volterra
2030
Return to Certaldo Arrive home 2130
Chapter 4: Word by Word October 13th, 2021
0800
Breakfast available until 9:45AM Terrace (weather permitting)/Dining Room
1000
Morning Craft Talk & Writing In Company Il Castello
1200
Live-Editing or Publishing Talk Breakfast Room
1330
Lunch Dining Room
1430
Open Time for Writing/Exploring Where You Will
1930
Dinner Casa Tua
Chapter 5: Yum Yum October 14th, 2021
0800
Breakfast available until 9:45AM Terrace (weather permitting)/Dining Room
1000
Morning Craft Talk & Writing In Company Il Castello
1200
Open Time for Writing/Exploring Where You Will
1430
Optional Visit to San Gimignano Continue to Cooking Class
16:00
Depart for Tuscan Cooking Lesson (includes 4-course dinner with wine) Return to Certaldo about 21:00
Chapter 6: Beautiful Discoveries October 15th, 2021
0800
Breakfast available until 9:45AM Terrace (weather permitting)/Dining Room
1000
Morning Craft Talk & Writing In Company Dining Room
1200
Live-Editing or Publishing Talk Breakfast Room
1330
Lunch Dining Room
Afternoon & Evening
Open Time / Dinner on Your Own Where You Will
Chapter 7: Grand Finale October 16th, 2021
0800
Breakfast available until 9:45AM Terrace (weather permitting)/Dining Room
1000
Morning Craft Talk & Writing In Company Il Castello
1230
Lunch on Your Own / Open Time Local Market Day
1900
Farewell Dinner & Reading Night Dining Room
Chapter 8: Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow October 17th 2021
0800
Breakfast available until 9:45AM Terrace (weather permitting)/Dining Room
TBA Morning
Departures To Airport (Or train station, if your journey continues!)
And now...
Go home and write some more! (or take a day off)
Ready to Finish Your Book?
Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation to start your journey.
Special Package
$ 3250

payment plans available
$150 discount for check/Venmo/Zelle/e-transfer

  • Editorial feedback on 75 pages+: $900+
  • Pre-arrival coaching: $185
  • Airport Transfers: $200
  • Single Accommodation: $800
  • Meals & Excursions: $550
  • One-on-one Session: $185
  • Craft lessions & Publishing Seminars: $580
  • Work plan & follow-up: $185
  • Editors on call: $600
  • RETREAT VALUE: $4185
  • YOU PAY: $3250

Not ready yet? Fill out the contact form below to join our mailing list.

Frequently Asked Questions

You probably have a few

Joining the Retreat

it starts with one email

Contact Us

You should be working on a book.

It can be a novel in any genre, a memoir or an essay collection. It can be an idea, an outline or proposal and some material, a partial manuscript, or a draft that isn't singing yet.

  • You're ready for direct and specific feedback about your work.
  • You're writing in English, because we aren't fluent enough to edit in any other language. (English need not be your mother tongue.)
  • You DON'T need a degree in writing (or anything else!).
  • You DON'T need previous publication credits.

You're not reading others' work in advance, so the experience level of your fellow writers isn't a big factor in your retreat.

No problem! Your pages for feedback can be part of a book, a series of essays, or an idea and notes. If you're working on a book, we'll look at your synopsis and (proposed) chapter summaries with your pages.

If you're starting from an idea, or exploring your writing life, we'll use your pre-arrival coaching to set goals for your time. In that case, you can choose to submit your entire 75 pages after the retreat and we'll guide you forward.

A friend or family member age 16+ sharing your room pays a companion fee of about 1/3 the writer's fee. Their trip will include lodging, group meals and activities, local tours and airport transfers. It doesn't include Writing in Company, one-on-one time or editorial feedback.

Single occupancy for your travel partner is available for a supplement of $575, or upgrade to share a spacious suite for $325.

Your Travel

get here and get writing

Contact Us

US and Canadian citizens do not need a visa for Italy and other European Union countries.

Italy is open for travelers, and vaccinating briskly. Italians mask and distance inside and mask outside (8/20/21); you'll fit right in if you prefer to mask fulltime. Most meals are in outdoor spaces.

Allison is personally visiting Certaldo in July and again in August to check safety protocols and the local "feel." Our hotelier, Alfred, is eager for our return, and this is a rare chance to visit Italy without hordes of tourists.

Allison and Dinty are fully vaccinated. All participants must provide proof of COVID vaccination. Please also note the payment and refund policy below.

As we'd normally say: travelers to any destination should update routine vaccinations and bring a small supply of stomach remedies and sufficient prescription medications. Well-stocked pharmacies are within 10 minutes' walk.

Airport transfers are provided in and out of Florence Peretola Airport (FLR).

For group sightseeing, transportation will be provided. For personal exploration, all of Certaldo and the lower town are walkable, with a funicular connecting the two areas.

Most of Certaldo Alto is wheelable, with relatively—but not consistently—smooth cobblestone streets. Most businesses have steps at their entrances. The road to the lower town is paved and smooth but steep; the funicular to the lower town is accessible, with an entrance ramp 15 feet from the hotel front door.

Our hotel rooms are all on the second floor, with a wide staircase up and additional steps from landing to corridor. There is no elevator. Staff are available to carry bags.

Rooms have step-free access between bedroom and bathroom. This retreat has plenty of space for a caregiver or companion to share your room.

While wider public awareness of human rights has led to new laws being implemented, Italy does not have consistent accessibility. If you have mobility concerns, let us know.

Allison and Dinty have (between them) worked with writers who are d/Deaf, hearing-impaired, blind, visually-impaired, neuro-atypical and with physical disabilities. We want to work with you—let's discuss how to make it an excellent experience.

Our writing time and excursions are in English; many local residents speak enough English to chat and answer questions. The welcome orientation will include useful phrases; we recommend keeping Google Translate on your phone with the Italian dictionary downloaded, or carrying a phrasebook.

The vast majority of Italians are friendly, hospitable and kind to tourists.

Certaldo has a low crime rate and is safe for solo walking day and night. As on any trip, be aware of your surroundings and your belongings. Keep an eye out for pickpockets in crowded locations like train stations.

Il Castello's award-winning restaurant features fresh local and Continental cuisine.


  • Breakfast includes bread and pastries, meats and cheeses, water, juices and barista Stella's delicious coffee creations.
  • Lunch includes fresh, healthy, traditional Italian fare, wine and nonalcoholic drinks.
  • Family-style dinners will include appetizer, main dish, dessert, wine and nonalcoholic drinks.
  • Several included meals are in local restaurants, where you may order off the menu.
  • You'll also have some meals on your own, wherever appeals to you!

There are a grocery store and farmers market in the lower town, for in-room snacks and impromptu picnics. Excellent restaurants from budget to 5-star are within a 10-minute walk.

Please advise us of any dietary restrictions and we will work with the hotel to accommodate your needs as much as possible.

You're welcome to add hotel nights before or after the retreat. We’re also happy to provide personal recommendations or connect you with a local travel agency to extend your trip. Italian trains are fast and convenient, as are short-hop discount airlines to Rome, Milan, and points farther afield.

Retreat Days

write, relax, write some more

Everyone works on their own, with the energy of a shared writing space. Sessions begin with a craft talk and generative writing. Then, you decide whether to continue the new writing; incorporate it into your existing work; or focus on your current project.

As Allison says, "If I'm writing with a buddy and I start to get bored or frustrated, I look up and think, I can't quit now—she's still going!"

Afterwards, each person shares how their work went and may—but doesn't have to—read a short passage.

Throughout Writing in Company time, retreat leaders will be available to talk through problems, suggest new ways to tackle a tough section, or give you a quick exercise to shake your writing loose.

Nope. While reading group members' work in advance and noting points for discussion is a valuable practice, it's not what we're doing here. Your focus is on your book.

During Live-Editing, you'll be able to glean lessons for your own work from watching others, as well as having your turn in the (optional) spotlight.

At the end of the week, we'll have a casual evening reading. This is an opportunity to share aloud pages you've been working on with a small, supportive audience. Travel partners and new friends are welcome.

You'll receive feedback on up to 50 pages before arrival, plus your synopsis or chapter summaries if desired. After the retreat, you'll receive feedback on another 25 pages of revisions or new work.

In your pre-retreat coaching session, we'll discuss your concept, voice, story, character and craft, as well as what you want to accomplish during the retreat, and set out a specific Work Plan. If you're at an early stage and don't have a lot of pages, we'll focus on your idea, purpose and process

During the retreat, you'll have a scheduled one-on-one meeting to discuss your work-in-progress, your writing and your publication goals.

Throughout the week we'll have plenty of casual chatting time, and you're welcome to start/participate in writing-related discussions with leaders and/or your fellow writers just about anywhere.

After returning home, you'll have another 30-minute editorial call to check in and address questions or new challenges as you finish your draft.

To give each writer the individual and specific attention their manuscript needs, the retreat is limited to six people with Allison only, or up to ten people with Allison & Dinty co-leading. Non-writing travel partners may join us for meals, tours and activities.

Booking & Payment

let's work with your budget

Contact Us

Rebirth Your Book accepts Venmo, Zelle, Canadian e-transfers, US checks, PayPal and credit cards via PayPal. A $500 deposit on acceptance reserves your place.

Balance can be paid as follows:

  • Balance due September 25th
  • OR 5 monthly payments of $550, extending past the retreat

Or talk to us about a plan that works for you.

We offer a $150 discount for payment via check, Venmo, Zelle, direct deposit or e-transfer (when we don't pay credit card fees, we pass the savings to you!)

Rebirth Your Book/Rebirth Your Writing participates in AWP's Kurt Brown Prize, which awards $500 each year to emerging writers in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction who wish to attend a writers’ conference, center, retreat, festival, or residency. Winners and six finalists also receive a one-year individual membership in AWP. For more information, visit the AWP website.

Before You Arrive:

  • Editorial feedback on 75 pages plus your chapter summaries or synopsis (a $900+ value!).
  • Initial call to discuss your work and goals for your Rebirth Your Book time, and answer any travel questions.

In Tuscany:

  • Escorted airport transfers in and out of Florence Peretola Airport (FLR)
  • Single accommodation in the boutique hotel.
  • WiFi at the hotel and in the Writing In Company space.
  • Focused one-on-one meeting to discuss your work.
  • Excursions, activities, entry fees and tickets on scheduled group outings.
  • Transport and guides for all scheduled group outings.
  • Daily continental breakfast.
  • Water, coffee and tea throughout breakfast and Writing In Company time.
  • Lunches as indicated on itinerary, including water and non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Dinners as indicated on itinerary, including water, non-alcoholic drinks and house wine
  • Snacks and drinks at the end-of-the-week reading.
  • Returning Home:

  • Work plan to finish your draft.
  • Follow-up call 2-4 weeks after returning, to sustain and support your writing momentum.

  • Flights or other transport to the pick-up points in Florence.
  • If you'd like to upgrade to a spacious suite with sitting area, there is an additional cost of $325 for the duration of the retreat.
  • Vaccinations and any other travel medication you wish to bring.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Hotel incidentals such as laundry, mini-bar, room service, etc.
  • Alcoholic drinks on tours and excursions.
  • Meals listed on the itinerary as "on your own."
  • Personal expenses/shopping/souvenirs.
  • Transport on non-group exploration.

We strongly recommend travel & trip-cancellation insurance.


THE COVID PLANS
Commit with a $500 deposit to hold your place

  • We recommend you buy a changeable plane ticket by Sept 15th
  • We’ll start pre-retreat reading and coaching sessions Sept 15th
  • we will confirm the retreat is a go September 25th, at which point balance is due or your payment plan begins.

IF ITALY CLOSES TO TRAVELERS writers still get their pre-retreat editorial feedback and coaching session. They can then:

  1. Switch to the virtual retreat and proceed with payment for that.
  2. OR
  3. Take a refund of $150 (the balance pays for the pre-retreat editorial feedback and coaching session)

If a writer decides they don’t want to travel after all BEFORE Sept 15th, we’ll refund their deposit minus Paypal fees.

If a writer decides not to travel AFTER Sept 15th, they can apply their balance to future retreats/intensives.


THE BACKUP PLAN: Virtual Retreat

  • Same basic hours and itinerary for the writing and teaching.
  • Same amount of reading and coaching time.
  • Costs $2100 instead of $3250.

THE FINE PRINT

Refunds will be sent within 30 days of receipt of notice of cancellation.

Rebirth Your Book reserves the right to cancel the retreat in the event of civil unrest, natural disaster, pandemic or Act of God. In the event of cancellation of the retreat in its entirety, you will receive a full refund of any fees paid, less bank/PayPal/transfer fees. You agree to release Rebirth Your Book and its agents and/or representatives from any liability, including consequential expenses you may have incurred in planning to attend. We will provide you with documentation to support a claim to your travel insurance provider for flights and other expenses not paid to Rebirth Your Book.

Have another question? Want to talk payment plan or health & safety? contact us
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