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 (March 2021, Woodhall Press). 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.
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 baths and writing desks surround a quiet courtyard and panoramic terrace. Rooms have views of the valley or the historic town center.The Itinerary
Your pre-arrival manuscript evaluation includes supportive, specific, written critique of your current draft or proposal, a coaching session, and a customized work plan for your retreat.
On location, you'll have daily guidance and one-on-one sessions.
A post-retreat work plan 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.
Rooms are single occupancy. unless you choose to share with a writing friend or travel partner.
Each morning, writers set intentions for this reserved time, then work individually in shared spaces. Post-writing check-ins may include short readings, but this is not a "workshop." Allison provides individual guidance as needed. It's like writing at your favorite cafe—with your personal editor on-call.
The rest of the day is for solo writing time, one-on-one meetings, and relaxation or an excursion.
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 right now—she's 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. (Allison's available for informal chats and questions all day long.)
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.
Joining the Retreat
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You should be working on a book.
It can be a novel, a memoir or an essay collection. It can be an outline or proposal and some material, a partial manuscript, or a draft that isn't singing yet.
Everyone focuses on their own pages, so the experience level of your fellow writers isn't a big factor in your work.
Some writers come with drafts for revision; others arrive with an idea and notes. If your work is still very much in-progress, we'll use the week to generate as much of a first draft as possible. In that case, the manuscript evaluation will happen after the retreat and guide you into the next draft.
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 manuscript evaluation.
Single occupancy for your travel partner is available for a supplement of $505, or upgrade to share a spacious suite for $295.
get here and get writingContact Us
US and Canadian citizens do not need a visa for Italy and other European Union countries.
Travelers to any destination should update routine vaccinations and bring a small supply of stomach remedies and sufficient prescription medications.
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. 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 has worked with writers who are d/Deaf, hearing-impaired, blind, visually-impaired, neuro-atypical and with physical disabilities. She wants 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.
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.
We’re 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.
write, relax, write some more
Everyone works on their own manuscript with the energy of a shared writing space. 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!"
At the beginning of each session, we set our intentions for the day. We take a short stretch break at the halfway point. Afterwards, each person shares how their work went and may—but doesn't have to—read a short passage for brief feedback.
Throughout Writing in Company time, Allison 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. At the end of the week, we'll have a casual evening reading in the Jazz Club. 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.
Allison will read each writer's full draft (or pile of material or proposal) before arrival, and send you an editorial letter with feedback on concept, voice, themes, plot, story, character and craft.
After the evaluation, you'll have an editorial session of about 30 minutes to discuss your work and what you want to accomplish during the retreat. If you're at an early stage and don't have a lot of pages, we can extend the call to discuss your idea, execution and process.
During the Rebirth week, you'll have a scheduled one-on-one meeting to discuss how the week is going, your writing in general and your writing career. This time can also be used for query feedback or discussing 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 Allison 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. Non-writing travel partners may join us for tours and activities.
Booking & Payment
let's work with your budgetContact Us
Retreats aren't just for writers with lots of disposable income. We've worked hard to make this value-for-money and payable over time.
We accept Mastercard, Visa and American Express through PayPal. You may also choose to pay by check, Zelle or direct deposit.
Payments can be made as follows:
Or talk to us about a plan that works for you.
If you prefer to pay in one transaction, we offer a 5% discount for payment in full by check, Zelle or direct deposit within two weeks of acceptance.
Rebirth Your Book 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:
We strongly recommend travel & trip-cancellation insurance.
If you are unable to attend and we can fill your place from the waitlist, we will refund your tuition on a pro rata basis:
If you have not submitted your manuscript:
you may apply your $500 deposit to another Rebirth Your Book retreat, and you will be refunded any additional payments.
If your initial manuscript read has taken place and you have paid at least $1480:
we will still schedule your two coaching sessions and Work Plan, and you will be refunded payments over $1480. It may be possible to apply your $500 deposit to another retreat on a case-by-case basis.
If we can’t fill your place:
we’ll provide you with documentation to support a claim to your travel insurance provider, but any payments made are nonrefundable. If you have paid at least $1480, you will still receive your manuscript read and coaching sessions.
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 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. 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.