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 6-13 2024
Save the date!
Your rebirth begins in...
Rediscover your novel or memoir and your desire for the page Or plan your next work-in-progress...and dive in.
Personal editorial feedback & Coaching
An intimate, focused group
A revival of your creative self
"This week spent writing in the company of a community of dedicated writers,
each with her own compelling story to tell, has been inspirational
and motivating. Allison's skilled guidance, delivered with respect
and humor and unbridled honesty, has put me on course
to shaping my book into the work I'd envisioned. Priceless."

Casey Mulligan Walsh, The Full Catastrophe (Motina Books, forthcoming in 2025)

The Rebirth Difference

AN INSPIRATIONAL WRITING WEEK WITH EDITORIAL SUPPORT, CREATIVE EXPLORATION & A CONCRETE PLAN TO FINISH YOUR BOOK.
Boutique Hotel

Certaldo Alto
Tuscany, Italy

8 days/7 nights

October 6th - 13th, 2024

Personal Guidance

Editorial feedback on 50 pages
One-on-one coaching
Live-editing




Book Now

Your Guides

Allison K Williams and Dinty W. Moore
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, Macmillan, Harper Collins, Knopf, Mantle, Flatiron, 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.

Additional rooms in the medieval tower, with incredible views.

Low on luxury and glowing with charm, we'll be dining where the neighbors eat—without a tourist in sight.

Our Itinerary

Explore & Be Inspired

re-energize with a midweek excursion
Taste Of Tuscany Cooking Class & Dinner
San Gimingnano Heritage Crafts
Winery Visit Taste & Discover
Writing in Place

photo of Lindsay Nicholson

A life-changing week of creativity, insight and shared commitment to goals set in the glorious medieval hillside town. Generously and sensitively led by Allison & Dinty, who seemed to be available 24/7 for the discussion of plot points and character development, not to mention advice on where to sample the best pasta and local wine.

In-between writing, we visited historic towns, took part in a wine tasting and were treated to a joyful masterclass in Tuscan cookery. Bonds of friendship strengthened over shared meals.

Anyone who feels stuck in their work should consider this supportive and nurturing environment for rediscovering the joy of writing.

Lindsey Nicholson, MBE, Author of Perfect Bound (Harper Collins, forthcoming 2024)

photo of Karen Fine

To write in a beautiful historic place, with a community of writers that were all strangers to me-together we have come to form an integrated group, and perhaps integrated ourselves (in however tiny a way) into the history of this beautiful place.

I had nearly given up on finding an agent when I decided to rework my manuscript with Allison’s help. After the revisions, an agent who had told me I could resubmit decided to represent me, and my book was acquired by Penguin Random House!

Karen Fine, DVM, author of NYT Bestseller The Other Family Doctor: A Veterinarian’s View of Love, Loss, Mortality and Mindfulness



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 In Certaldo, you’ll have daily craft seminars, live editing, and Office Hours for one-on-one time with Dinty and Allison.

A follow-up group coaching session helps you sustain momentum at home.

Just getting started? You can receive your editorial feedback after the retreat instead.

To give the personal coaching and specific editorial feedback your manuscript needs before, during and after the retreat, participation is limited to ten writers with Dinty, Allison and our indispensable Stephanie. We may be joined by up to three travel partners.

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 for live-editing, 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, and a phenomenal view.

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 daily Office Hours to discuss your draft-in-progress and writing goals. Informal chats and writing talk throughout the day.

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

Certaldo is tiny! Away from the tourist bustle, you'll get to know the neighbors, eat great local food and enjoy a calm, supportive writing environment. Be inspired by cooking, music and exploring beautiful Tuscany.

Your Itinerary

This Week You'll Finish A Draft...or Start One.
Chapter 1: Benvenuti a Certaldo! October 5th & 6th, 2024
Saturday
Airport Pickups Florence Airport, Peretola (FLR)
Arrive and settle in Certaldo Alto
Sunday
Breakfast At your hotel
Airport Pickups Florence Airport, Peretola (FLR)
Exploring on Your Own Certaldo Alto or Pisa
1430
Office Hours Il Castello Street Tables
1830
Discover Certaldo & Welcome Dinner Certaldo Alto / Antica Fonte
2100
Buona notte Il Castello
Chapter 2: And So It Begins October 7th, 2024
0730
Breakfast available until 9:30AM Terrace (weather permitting)/Breakfast Room
0930
Morning Craft Talk & Writing In Company Il Castello
1115
Live-Editing or Publishing Talk Breakfast Room
1300
Open Time & Lunch Where You Will
1430
Office Hours Il Castello Street Tables
1700
Open Time Read, Write, Network or Explore.
1930
Dinner Da Messer Boccaccio
Chapter 3: The Write Way October 8th, 2024
0730
Breakfast available until 9:30AM Terrace (weather permitting)/Breakfast Room
0930
Morning Craft Talk & Writing In Company Il Castello
1115
Live Editing or Publishing Talk Breakfast Room
1300
Lunch Osteria Chichibio
1500
Open Time & Dinner On Your Own Read, Write, Rest or Explore.
Chapter 4: Yum Yum October 9th, 2024
0730
Breakfast available until 9:30AM Terrace (weather permitting)/Breakfast Room
0930
Morning Craft Talk & Writing In Company Il Castello
1100
Open Time Read, Write, Rest or Relax.
1500
Depart to San Gimignano Time To Explore
1700
Tuscan Cooking Lesson & Dinner Make & Eat Authentic Tuscan delicacies
2030
Return To Certaldo
Chapter 5: Word By Word October 10th, 2024
0730
Breakfast available until 9:30AM Terrace (weather permitting)/Breakfast Room
0930
Morning Craft Talk & Writing In Company Il Castello
1115
Live Editing or Publishing Talk Continue to San Gimingnano
1230
Open Time & Lunch On Your Own Where You Will
1430
Office Hours Il Castello Street Tables
1700
Open Time Where You Will
1930
Dinner Il Pirata Ristorante Pizzeria
Chapter 6: Unearthing Tuscany October 11th, 2024
0730
Breakfast available until 9:30AM Terrace (weather permitting)/Breakfast Room
0930
Morning Craft Talk & Writing In Company Breakfast Room
1130
Break Prepare for departure
1200
Depart To Winery Lunch, Tasting & Tour Explore The Countryside
1700
Return to Certaldo & Open Time Dinner on Your Own
Chapter 7: Grand Finale October 12th, 2024
0730
Breakfast available until 9:30AM Terrace (weather permitting)/Breakfast Room
0930
Morning Craft Talk & Writing In Company Il Castello
1115
Goal-Setting & Moving Forward Breakfast Room
1230
Open Time / Lunch on Your Own Local Market Day
1930
Farewell Dinner & Reading Night Il Castello Dining Room
Chapter 8: Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow October 13th 2024
0730
Breakfast available until 9:30AM Terrace (weather permitting)/Breakfast Room
As Required
Departures To FLR Airport (Or Certaldo station, if your journey continues!)
And now...
Go home and write some more! (or take a day off)
Ready to Finish Your Book?
(Or finally get started?)
Special Package
$ 3975

payment plans available
$200 discount for check/Venmo/Zelle/e-transfer

  • Editorial feedback on 50 pages+: $900+
  • Pre-arrival coaching: $250
  • Airport Transfers: $200
  • Single Accommodation: $950
  • Meals & Excursions: $600
  • Daily Office Hours: $450
  • Craft lessons & Publishing Seminars: $580
  • Work plan & follow-up: $195
  • Editors on call: $600
  • RETREAT VALUE: $4725
  • YOU PAY: $3975

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 50 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 $1950. 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 $695, or upgrade to share a spacious suite for $350.

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.

Many Italians still mask and distance inside; you'll fit right in if you prefer to mask fulltime. Most meals are in outdoor spaces.

Allison and Dinty are fully vaccinated. All participants must provide proof of COVID vaccination or a doctor's letter confirming medical need for non-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 on October 5th, 6th and 13th are provided in and out of Florence Peretola Airport (FLR) between 8AM-6PM. Transfers at other times can be via train (about 6 euros) or taxi (about 125 euros) at your own expense. If your trip continues, other destinations in Italy are easier to reach from the Certaldo train station than from the airport.

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

Florence Peretola airport is accessible, and transfers to and from the airport are via private car with door-to-door service.

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. 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 Bouchra's delicious coffee creations.
  • Our included meals are in local restaurants, where you may order off the menu.
  • Options for lunches and dinners on your own include fresh, healthy, traditional Italian fare at local restaurants.
  • Our grand finale dinner will include appetizer, main dish, dessert, wine and nonalcoholic drinks.

There are a grocery store and farmers market in the lower town, for in-room snacks and impromptu picnics. Excellent restaurants in all price ranges are within a 10-minute walk.

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

Additional hotel nights in Certaldo before or after the retreat are limited, so let us know right away if you're interested. 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 sessions, you'll 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 between courses at the Farewell Dinner. This is an opportunity to share aloud pages you've been working on with a small, supportive audience.

You'll receive feedback on up to 50 pages before or after the retreat, plus your synopsis or chapter summaries if desired.

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, Allison and Dinty hold daily drop-in Office Hours for one-on-one time 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, we'll have a scheduled group coaching session 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

Book Now

Rebirth Your Book accepts Venmo, Zelle, Canadian e-transfers, US checks, PayPal and credit cards via PayPal. A $750 deposit on acceptance reserves your place.

Balance can be paid as follows:

  • Balance due July 15th
  • OR 4 monthly payments of $815.

We offer a $200 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 up to 50 pages plus your chapter summaries or synopsis (a $900+ value!).
  • Initial coaching call to discuss your work and goals for your Rebirth Your Book time.
  • Group Zoom to meet your writing companions 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 time 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 group coaching session 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 $350 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.


Commit with a nonrefundable $750 deposit to hold your place.

  • Balance is due or your payment plan begins July 15th
  • We recommend you buy a plane ticket by Aug 1st
  • We’ll start pre-retreat reading and coaching sessions Sept 1st

If a writer decides not to travel after all AND we can fill their place from the waitlist, after a $350 administrative fee, they can apply their balance to future retreats/intensives. If we can't fill their place, we'll refund payments over $2000 but the deposit and payments up to $2000 are nonrefundable.

If our destination closes to travelers or we must cancel for circumstances beyond our control, we will attempt to reschedule the retreat or relocate to a comparable destination. You will have the option to join the new plans, or we will apply your deposit minus any PayPal fees to a future retreat/intensive, and refund any additional payments.

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, travel concerns or health & safety? contact us
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