WINNER/ The FLP winning poems are:

Winner:  Alison Carb Sussman

“Acting Like a Woman” and “Reuniting With Mother at the Zoo”


The titles of the Honorable Mentions are:

1st HM: Patricia Belote, “slander”, “Lush Green”

2nd HM: Georgia Jones-Davis, “Monumental Dog”

3rd HM: Don Coburn, “The Higgs Boson” 

4th HM: JoAnn Preisser, “City of Windows”

5th HM: Chloé Leisure, “Día de los Muertos”, “Pelagic Nesting”

MICHAEL RUHLMAN is joining us in Dublin


EXCITING NEWS for all you food lovers at ABROAD WRITERS’ CONFERENCE in Dublin. 

MICHAEL RUHLMAN, chef, James Beard award-winning author of 20 books including four cookbooks he co-authored with chef THOMAS KELLER of THE FRENCH LAUNDRY–the French Laundry is listed as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world and top 10 in the US. Michael will be joining us in Dublin, he will be teaching a food and travel workshop along with Delta Willis.
In addition, Michael’s joining me in the kitchen to help prepare our special dinners.
Michael Ruhlman has published more than twenty books, mostly about food and cooking, half with chefs. He has been involved in seveal television shows, “Cooking Under Fire” on PBS, a judge on “Next Iron Chef”, and he’s been a featured guest on the Travel Channel’s “Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations”, Las Vegas and Cleveland episodes.
Come join us in Dublin.

JOSIP NOVAKOVICH will be joining us in Dublin



He will be teaching a Fiction/Nonfiction Workshop for us in Dublin.

Josip Novakovich emigrated from Croatia to the United States at the age of 20, and recently to Canada at the age of 53. He has published a novel, April Fool’s Day (in ten languages), a novella in three forms, Three Deaths, and story collection (Infidelities: Stories of War and Lust, Yolk and Salvation and Other Disasters) and three collections of narrative essays as well as two books of practical criticism, including Fiction Writers Workshop.
His work was anthologized inBest American Poetry, the Pushcart Prize collection and O. Henry Prize Stories. He received the Whiting Writer’s Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, the Ingram Merrill Award and an American Book Award, and in 2013 he was a Man Booker Internatinal Award Finalist.
Novakovich has been a writing fellow of the New York Public Library and has taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Die Freie Universitaet in Berlin, Penn State and now Concordia University in Montreal.
This fall, Esplanade Books will publish his most recent collection of stories in Canada. He is revising a novel, Rubble of Bubles, and putting together another story collection, New and Selected.


Workshop Description:

The Art of the Microforms

A Multi-genre course, concentrating on the short forms, from a short paragraph to vignettes up to approximately 1500 words. The boundaries between narrative poems, lyrical essay, and flash fiction are frequently arbitrary, so let’s not worry about the definition of what we do in the short form, and play. The definition can come later.

Course Objective: To play with words in order to come up with good moments.

Come to class with several short pieces for us to give you constructive feedback now how to revise and improve.

The class time will be divided among the following activities:

  1. Critiquing your work constructively.
  2. Analyzing published paradigms of short form writing.
  3. Sketching and writing vignettes from prompts and assignments.

Even in the short form, the elements of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction can be at play productively, so we will concentrate on plotting stories from the basic motives. Man is his desire, sid Aristoteles. We’ll sketch several stories based on primary motives, desire and fear.

Paradigms of microforms to be discussed and covered:

  1. Examples of quick writing

Grace Paley, Robert Coover

2. Myths, Parables

Story of Jonah, Prodigal Son. Tolstoy’s, Three Parables. Johann Peter Hebe, Man is a Strange Creature.

3. Fables and Fairy Tales

Aesop, Brothers Grimm

4. Short-Shorts

Franz Kafka, Kurt Vonnegut, John Cheever, Eudora Welty, Hemingway

5. Flash Fiction

Lydia Davis, Jonathan Wilson, Diane Williams, Dave Eggers

6. Absurdist and Surrealist Stories

Etgar Keret, Daniil Kharms, Dino Buzzati, Aimee Bender

7. The Lyrical Essay

Death of the Moth, Virginia Woolf

8. Very Short Essay, True Story

Mikhail Iossel, Why…, JN, “Ice”

9 Story as one scene:

The Use of Force by William Carlos William. http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/force.html

10. Prose Poems

Sandra Cisneros, Monkey Garden


Reading list:


Prodigal Son: http://www.allaboutjesurchrist.org/parable-of-the-prodigal-son-faq.htm

Story of Jonah: http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1704.htm

Johann Peter Hebel: http://www.amazon.ca/The-Treasure-Chest-Unexpected-Reunion/dp/1870352432 and http://johnshaplin.blogspot.ca/2011/07/two-stories-by-johann-peter-hebel.html

Tolstoy, Three Parables: http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_pdf/Tolstoy/Three_Prables.pdf

Aesop’s Fable: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21/21-h.htm#link2H_4_0001

Brothers Grimm, Fairy Tales: http://www.pit.edu/~dash/grimm001.html

Franz Kafka Short Shorts: http://franzkafkastories.com/shortStories.php?story_jd=kafka_passers_by

Dino Buzzati, Falling Girl: https://docs.google.com/document/edit?id=1tb7kGoJ3mhPONLIMeWj7ugYJGpJtILy3C5o2uHCQj4k

Lydia Davis: http://www.conjunctions.com/archives/c24-Id.htm

Aimee Bender: http://www.missourireview.com/anthology/we-content/uploads/2011/10/theremembererwithmaterials.pdf

JN: http://www.thebluemoon.com/4/spr99prevnovakovich.html

Mikhail Iossel: http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/why-why-why and http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/mouse.html

Daniil Kharms: http://www.sevaj.dk/kharms/kharmseng.htm

John Cheever, Reunion: http://www.puffchrissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/REUNION.pdf

Ernest Hemingway, A Very Short Story: http://records.viu.ca/~lanes/english/hemingway/veryshort.htm

Robert Coover: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/03/14/going-for-a-beer

Diane Williams: http://www.brooklynrail.org/2005/11/fiction/stories

Eudora Welty: http://grammar.about.com/od/shortpassagesforanalysis/a/Weltyteacher07.htm

Virginia Woolf: http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/everythingsanargument4c/content/cat_020/Woolf_DeathoftheMoth.pdf

Jonathan Wilson: http://www.esquire.com/fiction/napkin-project/wilson-napkin-fiction

Etgar Keret: http://www.theguardian.com/books/interactive/2012/feb/23/unzipping-etgar-keret-short-story

Grace Paley: http://www2.southeastern.edu/Academics/Faculty/scraig/paley.html and http://biblioklept.org/2014/03/08/wants-grace-paley/ and http://radashort.blogspot.ca/2008/06/mather-by-grace-paley.html

Dave Eggers: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2005/jun/11/shortshortstories.fiction

Kurt Vonnegut: http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html


Declan Meade of THE STINGING FLY Press and Literary Magazine

ABROAD WRITERS’ CONFERENCE has some exciting news

DECLAN MEADE, publisher of THE STINGING FLY literary magazine and the Stinging Fly Press, will be joining us in Dublin for our readings and dinner.
The Stinging Fly’s notable contributors are:

Ivy Alvarez, Kevin Barry, Robert Olen Butler, Patrick Deeley, Eamon Grennan, Rita Ann Higgins, Desmond Hogan, M.J. Hyland, A.L. Kennedy, Nick Laird, Toby Litt, Eugene McCabe, Paula Meehan, Paul Murray, Sharon Olds, Keith Ridgway, John W. Sexton, Matthew Sweeney,
Every five years, The Stinging Fly organize the Davy Bynes Short Story Award.


ABROAD WRITERS’ CONFERENCE writing competitions 



AWC is proud to offer a special Poetry Contest for Finishing Line Press Authors. Winning poet will join FLP authors at the Abroad Writers’ Conference in Dublin, Ireland, December 12 – 19th.
Contest will be judged by, Leah Maines.
Deadline: September 10th.




ABROAD WRITERS’ CONFERENCE is excited to announce the DEBORAH HENRY SCHOLARSHIP. We are so pleased to hold our event in Ireland, that we want to open our doors to Ireland and show our deep respect for your literary heritage by offering a scholarship to Irish undergraduates and graduate students.  This scholarships will enable two talented Irish students to attend unlimited workshops and an honorary dinner on our Deborah Henry night. These two students will be presented by Deborah Henry to our distinguished authors including John Banville on Wednesday, December 16, 2015. Afterwards, each student will give a 10 minute reading.  

Short stories and chapters must be 2500 – 5000 words, double spaced.  Submit one short story or one chapter. 

1st Prize, a Full Scholarship to attend AWC in Dublin 

2nd Prize, Full Scholarship to attend AWC in Dublin

Submit stories by: October 1, 2015

Winner will be announced: October 15, 2015

Submit stories to: abroadwriters@yahoo.com

DELTA WILLIS, “The Art of Exploring Urban Streets as James Joyce”





In the footsteps of James Joyce, we’ll become flaneurs, discovering the streets, alleys and voices that inspired Joyce to employ Homer’s Odyssey. “I always write about Dublin,” Joyce explained; “because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.”

In a shrinking universe, we’ll focus on how your travel reports can tap readers’ hunger for discovery (including themselves) gain insights from other cultures, and travel frugally and sustainably. Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown challenges us to taste a region with our senses, and taps the power of video in storytelling, which demands at least one visit to a classic pub with music. We’ll seek new ways to cover a popular destination, revisit adventure travel in the age of Siri, and discuss how to profile, or become, a modern-day explorer or digital nomad. How To Pitch your stories to editors, and other industry tips will be one day’s workshop, but most classes will focus on feedback to your submissions, how to discover the particular that is universal, and finding mentors beyond Joyce to follow.

A member of The Explorers Club, Delta Willis profiled Richard Leakey for The Hominid Gang and has written for Adventure Travel, Audubon, Diversion, Outside, People and The New York Times. A former publicist for Earthwatch, she tracked lions in Kenya. She is currently writing My Boat in the City, about living onboard her houseboat at New York’s 79th St. Boat Basin, base camp for journeys to Africa, Australia, China, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. She served as Chief Contributor to Fodor’s Guides to Kenya & Tanzania, appeared on radio and TV as an expert on Adventure Travel, and coached/media trained scientists for appearances on Martha Stewart and NBC’s Today Show.

Dublin, Ireland



December 12 – 19, 2015

ABROAD WRITERS CONFERENCE will hold our next event in Dublin, Ireland, the UNESCO City of Literature.

















Winter Wonderland in the Cotswolds, England January 12 – 19, 2015

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OWLPEN MANOR, Cotswolds, England

January 12 – 19, 2015

7 nights in the Cotswolds.

Owlpen Manor is recognized as on of the most romantic manor houses in England. It’s situated in the royal triangle in the Cotswolds. The manor house dates back to the c.1200 but it was rebuilt in the Tudor period between 1464 – 1616. 

The estate is set in a picturesques valley within the Costswolds. It’s located one mile east of the village Uley and three miles from the town Dursley.

In recent years, Owlpen Manor has been used as the location for a number of TV feature films, game shows and documentaries. They include Most Haunted (Series 4, 2004); The Fly and the Eagle (a BBC drama about the romance of Bristol poet laureate Robert Southey and Caroline Anne Bowles); The Trouble with Home (a documentary about the Manders at Owlpen made for HTV West); What the Tudors did for us; Countryfile; The Other Boleyn Girl; Watercolour Challenge; as well as antiques, cookery, gardening, travel, and art programmes. The holiday cottages and restaurant featured on BBC1’s Holiday programme, presented by John Cole and introduced by Jill Dando.

Owlpen Manor appears as Bramscote Court in the BBC’s period drama adaptation of Tess of the d’Urbervilles (autumn 2008), starring Bond girl Gemma Arterton.

Owlpen Manor has been the inspiration and title of a number of 20th-century poems, including well-known verses by U.A. Fanthorpe, John Burnside and Reginald Arkell. The house is reputed to have inspired scenes in novels by John Buchan and Wolfgang Hildesheimer.

NANCY GERBAULT, Archaeologist/Art Historian and Director of Abroad Writers’ Conference. Nancy will be teaching six one hour lectures and three days of historic sites visits. The first lecture is on the History of Food and Drink in the Middle Ages and the second, Medieval Architecture.

HOLLIS GILLESPIE, Bestselling author and NBC Today Show Travel Expert. Hollis will be teaching a Travel Writing & Blogging workshop, this is a four day class for three hours a day.

SARAH GRISTWOOD, TV regular commentator on Historical and Royal Affaires and Bestselling British Historian author. Sarah will be teaching a workshop called, Women in History, this is a three day class for three hours a day.

JACQUELYN MITCHARD, #1 New York Times Bestselling author and an Orange Prize finalist. Jackie will be teaching a Fiction workshop and a Full Manuscript Edit & Critique–no limit on pages. This is a five day class, three hours a day.


At Owlpen Manor we’ll be staying in 9 separate historic cottages in a historic backdrop of 500 hundred years. A timeless hamlet of Cotswold buildings and a Tudor Mansion.

Owlpen Pictures 041

72 ManorFm Bed TH-S

Owlpen Pictures 419_0


Owlpen Pictures 418

Marling's End Dining Room_0


January 12 

2:00 – 5:00 Workshop Hollis Gillespie

7:00 Welcome dinner at The Cider House

January 13

7:30 Breakfast in Grist Mill cottage

8:00 – 11:00 Workshops Hollis Gillespie

11:00 – 12:00 Nancy Gerbault History of food 

8:00 – 12:00 Jacquelyn Mitchard’s Full MS

12:00 Excursion: Broughton Castle in Sarah and Nancy’s workshops 

7:00 Dinner

January 14th

7:30 Breakfast in Grist Mill Cottage

8:00 – 11:00 Workshops Hollis Gillespie

11:00 – 12:00 Nancy Gerbault Architecture

8:00 – 12:00 Jacquelyn Mitchard’s Full MS

12:00 Lunch at **Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham for those signed-up for the extra excursion

6:00 Reading by Hollis Gillespie

7:00 Dinner

January 15

7:30 Breakfast in Grist Mill cottage

8:00 – 11:00 Workshops Hollis Gillespie

11:00 – 12:00 History of Food

8:00 – 12:00 Jacquelyn Mitchard’s Full MS

12:00 excursions: Stratford-upon-Avon–excursion with Nancy & Sarah’s workshops

7:00 Dinner

January 16

7:30 Breakfast in Grist Mill cottage

8:00 – 11:00 Workshops Sarah Gristwood

11:00 – 12:00 Nancy Gerbault Architecture

8:00 – 12:00 Jacquelyn Mitchard’s Full MS

12:00 Lunch: The Manor House in Castle Combe

6:00 Readings by Jacquelyn Mitchard

7:00 Dinner

January 17th

7:30 Breakfast in Grist Mill cottage

8:00 – 11:00 Workshops Sarah Gristwood

11:00 – 12:00 Nancy Gerbault Food

8:00 – 12:00 Full MS

12:00 excursion: Sudeley castle–Sarah & Nancy’s workshops

6:00 Readings by Sarah Gristwood

7:00 Dinner

January 18th

7:30 Breakfast in Grist Mill Cottage

8:00 – 11:00 Workshops Sarah Gristwood

11:00 – 12:00 Nancy Gerbault Architecture

12:00 Lunch at Thronbury Castle

7:00 Dinner Celebration in the Cider House

Price: $3,500 based on double occupancy and $500 surcharge for single occupancy



Add on Excursions


Special Lunch option in the Cotswolds

January 12 – 19th

**Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham

Three course lunch at the Michelin two star restaurant


Thornbury Castle, Thornbury

Three course lunch at this magnificent Tudor Castle


*Bybrook Restaurant at The Manor House, Castle Combe

Three course lunch, Michelin one star restaurant

Price $225



A Taste of the Past and the Best of the Present

London, UK

January 8 – 12, 2015

Four Days in London with bestselling author and British historian Sarah Gristwood and Archaeologist Nancy Gerbault. Participants will visit Historic London sites and eat in some of our favorite restaurants.

Sarah Gristwoodheadshot


After leaving Oxford, Sarah Gristwood began work as a journalist, writing at first about the theatre as well as general features on everything from gun control to Giorgio Armani. But increasingly she found herself specialising in film interviews – Johnny Depp and Robert De Niro; Martin Scorsese and Paul McCartney. She has appeared in most of the UK’s leading newspapers – The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph (Daily and Sunday) – and magazines from Cosmopolitan to Country Living and Sight and Sound to The New Statesman.

Turning to history she wrote two bestselling Tudor biographies, Arbella: England’s Lost Queen and Elizabeth and Leicester; and the eighteenth century story Perdita: Royal Mistress, Writer, Romantic which was selected as Radio 4 Book of the Week. Presenting and contributing to several radio and tv documentaries, she also published a book on iconic dresses, Fabulous Frocks (with Jane Eastoe); and a 50th anniversary companion to the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, as well as collaborating with Tracy Borman, Alison Weir and Kate Williams on The Ring and the Crown (Hutchinson), a book on the history of royal weddings. 2011 also saw the publication of her first historical novel, The Girl in the Mirror (HarperCollins). In September 2012 she brought out a new non-fiction book – Blood Sisters: the Women Behind the Wars of the Roses (HarperPress).
A regular media commentator on royal and historical affairs, Sarah was one of the team providing Radio 4’s live coverage of the royal wedding; and has since spoken on the Queen’s Jubilee, the royal baby, and other royal stories for Sky News, Woman’s Hour, Radio 5 Live, and CBC. Shortlisted for both the Marsh Biography Award and the Ben Pimlott Prize for Political Writing, she is a Fellow of the RSA, and an Honororary Patron of Historic Royal Palaces.

A Taste of the Past and the Best of the Present

London, UK

January 7 – 12, 2015

Six Days in London with bestselling author and British historian Sarah Gristwood and archaeologist and food historian Nancy Gerbault. Participants will visit Historic London sites and eat in some of our favorite restaurants.

January 7th

3:00 pm Check-in Think Apartments Tower Bridge

4:00 – 6:00 Sarah Gristwood Discussion group

7:00 Dinner

January 8th

8:00 Breakfast at The Wolseley. An institution among the capital’s breakfast-lovers. “Breakfast is everything. The beginning, the first thing. It is the mouthful that is the commitment to a new day, a continuing life,” writes chef A.A. Gill in his introduction to his book, “Breakfast at The Wolseley”.

Hampton Court The beloved seat of Henry VIII’s court, sprawled elegantly beside the languid waters of the Thames, Hampton Court is steeped in more history than virtually any other royal building in England. The magnificent Tudor red-brick mansion, begun in 1514 by Cardinal Wolsey to curry favor with the young Henry, actually conceals a larger 17th-century baroque building, which was partly designed by Christopher Wren (of St. Paul’s fame); though both have a wealth of stories to tell. The earliest dwellings on this site belonged to a religious order founded in the 11th century and were expanded over the years by its many subsequent residents, until George II moved the royal household closer to London in the early 18th century.

Dinner at HINDS HEAD, chef Kevin Love, Michelin star 15th-century-pub. Hinds Head was build in the 15th century, at the dawn of the Tudor age. Although the building’s original function is still the subject of speculation (some say it was a royal hunting lodge, others that it was a guest house for an Abbot), it’s known that it was converted into a hostelry around 400 years ago. Hinds Head has provided hospitality to the British Royal Family. Wine not included.

Hinds Head serves several historical dishes including “quaking pudding” from the Tudor period.

January 9th

8:00 – 11:00 Sarah Gristwood workshop and discussion group

1:00 pm A four course dinner at DINNER by Heston Blumenthal, ranked 7th The World’s Best 50 Restaurant. Hester Blumenthal created a unique menu of historically inspired British dishes, some are dated back to c.1390. Wine not included

January 10th

Brunch at the Village East, Bermondsey

Afterwards we’ll visit the Borough Market near Bermondsey. The Borough Market is London’s most renowned food market; a source of exceptional British and International produce.

It’s a haven for anybody who has interest in food. It’s the meeting place of locals, chefs and restaurateurs, passionate amateur cooks and people who love eating and drinking.

Dinner: 8 Course Tasting menu at THE LEDBURY, chef Brett Graham. Rank no. 10 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and it has 2 Michelin stars.

January 11th

9:00 Brunch at the Duck & Waffle.

Tour of the Tower of London Nowhere else does London’s history come to life so vividly as it does in this minicity of 20 towers filled with heraldry and treasure, the intimate details of lords and dukes and princes and sovereigns etched in the walls.

The oldest tower is the White Tower, William the Conqueror who began the central keep in 1078.

Dinner at RULES, the oldest restaurant in London. Rules was established in 1798 by Thomas Rules. Wine not included

The restaurant has been featured in novels by Graham Greene, Dick Francis and Evelyn Waugh.


Check-out 10:00

Price $2,750 per person

$300 supplemental fee for single room


5 dinners, 3 in Michelin Stared restaurants

3 Breakfast

Entrance fees to Hampton Court, Tower of London



Add on Excursion

Learning about the past by visiting a living museum, Weald Open Air Museum

January 19 – 22nd

January 19th

9:30 Depart from the Cotswolds to Bath

Tour the city of Bath

1 1/2 hour visit to the ancient Thermae Bath Spa. Here you’ll refresh your senses in the aroma steam rooms and bath in the indoor minerva bath.

1:00 Lunch at the Michelin star Bath Priory Restaurant

Bosham, West Sussex: We’ll be staying at Millstream Hotel for three nights and have a special three course dinner at their restaurant.

Bosham is a delightful ancient village situated on the arm of Chichester Harbour. Bosham has a long history; it is thought that it was one of the first sites in Sussex where the Saxon St Wilfried preached around the year 681 AD. There’s a superb 11th century Saxon tower and chancel arch.

January 20th

8:00 – 11:00 Workshop Hollis Gillespie

Vist Chichester

The historic city of Chichester is one of the real highlights of any visit to West Sussex. The city was founded by the the Romans. The prize of Chichester is its superb medieval cathedral, the only English cathedral visible from the sea. The cathedral was built on the site of a Roman building and later a Saxon church.

Pallant House Gallery, is one of the best art galleries outside of London. Here you’ll find the works of Picasso, Cezanne and Henry Moore.

The Roman city walls still survive. They have been rebuilt several times during the medieval period and today the wall stretches along the walk of the city. 

January 21st

9:30 – 4:30 Special workshop for our group at Weald Open Air Museum

Historic Rural Life
The Museum explores the lives of the ordinary men and women whose working, rural lives were tied to the rhythms of the seasons. We term what we do as ‘interpretation’ because we can never fully recreate or re-enact the past but we strive to base our demonstrations and information on all available sources.

All the houses are vernacular – the homes of peasants, labourers, farmers and tradesmen, and to tell the story of the people who built and lived in them we have furnished several of them as authentically as possible, using replica furniture and artefacts. Different methods are used to describe the lives of these people: sometimes they use display panels; occasionally audio-visual commentary and most buildings contain folders with explanatory information. But most important of all they have stewards in the houses who will talk with you about the history of the house and the lives of its former occupants. They will guide us closely to understand the seasonal and ritual year and they demonstrating their traditional skills, practices and domestic lives as closely as possible, bound by the seasons as they were.

In the Tudor kitchen participants will discover the tastes of the period.

 January 22nd 

Departure at 10:00 to London

Instructors: Hollis Gillespie & Nancy Gerbault

Limited to 10 participants

Price $1,500

Knowle Manor, England–May 29 – June 5, 2015



We’re going to KNOWLE MANOR in Dunster, England. Knowle Manor is a historic estate situated on 100 acres of spacious gardens and lakes. The house is located in the medieval town of Dunster, two miles from the coast.

Dunster is one of the most popular places on Exmoor for visitors. It is a medieval village with an ancient castle, priory, dovecote, yarn market, inns, packhorse bridge and a mill. Since the decline of the woollen industry in the eighteenth century the village has been locked in a time warp.

Dunster Castle, once the home of the Luttrell family, is now owned by the National Trust. The Luttrell family arrived in England in 1066, with William the Conqueror’s army at the battle of Hastings. There is a plethora of tea shops and gifts shops and several excellent restaurants and places to stay. The National Park Centre here provides information on the whole area and there is a large car park on the edge of the village.

With over 200 listed buildings Dunster is preserved so that generations to come can enjoy the historic qualities of this unique village. Situated in the sweeping hills of Exmoor National park Dunster provides the ideal base for your holiday in the South West of England.





The town of Dunster.



Lake Como, Italy June 21 – 28, 2014


Como, Italy

In June 2014, we’re holding our Abroad Writers’ Conference at a 18th century Villa on the shores of Lake Como.


We are holding our conference at Villa La Gallietta at Lake Como, Villa La Gallietta was one of seven eighteenth-century villas built along the western shores of Lake Como, near the church of Saint George and Villa Olmo.

Originally built by Pietro Antonio Fossani from Milan, who in 1772 bought the Villa Gallia and the surroundingn land. Gallietta means “little Gallia”, with relation to the larger building Villa Gallia.

In 1830, the Villa was renovated by Melchiorre Nosetti. Nosetti adapted the facade to a neoclassical style.
It should be mentioned that Count Giambattista, the writer from the Gallia family, created a selection of works in this very house which he loved for its seclusion, peace and silence.

The building’s current appearance dates back to the renovation of 1830, commissioned by the physician Dr. Giuseppe Frank, professor at the University of Pavia, who purchased it in 1825 and hired the architect Melchiorre Nosetti who not only adapted to the facade to a basic Neoclassical style, but also refurbished the interiors. Upon his death, Giuseppe Frank named the University of Pavia as his sole heir, which a short time later sold the villa to the Marquis Brivio Sforza, in 1866.
Since 1985 Villa Gallietta has been protected by the “Belle Arti” fine arts commission both for its architectural value and for the fresco and the elliptical vault of the atrium.

The villa was also the subject of a novel written in 1856 by the French author Nathalie Comtesse.

Authors teaching workshops and giving readings at Lake Como are:

RAE ARMANTROUT–Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

NIKKY FINNEY–National Book Award in Poetry

PAUL HARDING–Pulitzer Prize in Fiction

EDWARD HUMES–Pulitzer Prize in Journalism

JACQUELYN MITCHARD–Orange Prize finalist, Editor-in-chief Merrit Books

ALEX SHOUMATOFF–Contributing editor, Vanity Fair & staff writer, New Yorker

JANE SMILEY–Pulitzer Prize in Fiction

SUSAN WHEELER–National Book Award finalist in Poetry



BARRY GREEN–Principal Bassist for the Cincinnati Symphony

MARINA PACOWSKI–Pianist and vocal coach at the Music Conservatory Maurice Ravel in Bayonne, France






Pulitzer Prize winner in Poetry

Rae Armantrout was born in Vallejo, California, in 1947, and grew up in San Diego. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied with Denise Levertov, and a master’s degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University.

She has published numerous books of poetry, including Just Saying (Wesleyan University Press, 2013); Money Shot (2011); Versed (2009), which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010; Next Life (2007), selected by the New York Times as one of the most notable books of 2007; Up to Speed (2004), a finalist for the PEN Center USA Award in Poetry; Veil: New and Selected Poems (2001), also a finalist for the PEN Center USA Award; The Pretext (2001); Made To Seem (1995); and The Invention of Hunger (1979).

Part of the first generation of Language poets on the West Coast, her work has been praised for syntax that borders on everyday speech while grappling with questions of deception and distortion in both language and consciousness. About her poems, Robert Creeley has described “a quiet and enabling signature,” adding, “I don’t think there’s another poet writing who is so consummate in authority and yet so generous to her readers and company alike.”

In the preface to her selected poems, Veil, Ron Silliman describes her work as: “the literature of the anti-lyric, those poems that at first glance appear contained and perhaps even simple, but which upon the slightest examination rapidly provoke a sort of vertigo effect as element after element begins to spin wildly toward more radical…possibilities.”

Armantrout’s poetry has been widely anthologized, appearing in Language Poetries, (New Directions), In The American Tree, (National Poetry Foundation), Postmodern American Poetry (Norton), Poems for the Millennium, Vol. 2 (University of California), American Women Poets of the 21st Century (Wesleyan), and several editions of Best American Poetry. She is also the author of a prose memoir, True, which was published by Atelos in 1998.

She has taught writing for almost twenty years at the University of California, San Diego.


nikky-finneyNIKKY FINNEY

National Book Award Winner in Poetry

Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina, within listening
distance of the sea. A child of activists, she came of age during the civil rights and Black Arts Movements. At Talladega College, nurtured by Hale Woodruff’s Amistad murals, Finney began to understand the powerful synergy between art and history. Finney has authored four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011); The World Is Round (2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985). The John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Southern Letters and Literature at the University of South Carolina, Finney also authored Heartwood (1997) edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and co- founded the Affrilachian Poets. Finney’s fourth book of poetry, Head Off & Split was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for poetry.

Learn more about Nikky on her website.

“Finney’s wondrous acceptance speech is an acknowledgement to being alive while being inextricably bound to the past. It is now appropriately included in the new edition ofHead Off & Split. Like the speech, the book is a manifold act of acknowledgement. ‘If my name is ever called out, I promised my girl-poet self, so too would I call out theirs.’ The history we begin with is rooted in acknowledgement, in witness, and, as Finney shows us, in collaboration. Her poems are duets and choruses. We hear the italicized voices of Rosa Parks, Mayree Monroe, Robert F. Williams—even the titles are peopled acknowledgements: ‘Shaker: Wilma Rudolph Appears While Riding the Althea Gibson Highway Home,’ ‘Dancing with Strom,’ ‘Alice Butler,’ ‘The Condoleezza Suite.’ The poems braid the immediacy of the weather channel, the NBC Nightly News, Discover Magazine, politics, and catastrophes to the enduring struggle against forces “devoted to quelling freedom and insurgency, imagination, all hope.” In short, all that is breathtaking in this poet’s acceptance speech is breathtaking in her poems.”

– Terrance Hayes, author of Lighthead, winner of the 2010 National Book Award

Watch Nikky’s 2011 National Book Award acceptance speech.

“Beginning with the sweepingly inclusive and powerful ‘Red Velvet,’ a Middle Passage poem for our times, Nikky Finney takes the reader to a wonderfully alive world where the musical possibilities of language overflow with surprise and innovation. Finney has an ear to go along with the wildness of her imagination, which sweeps through history like a pair of wings. Her carefully modulated free verse is always purposeful in its desire to move the reader in a way that allows us to imitate access to necessary observations about ourselves. These poems, in other words, have the power to save us.”

– Bruce Weigl, author of What Saves Us


Find Nikky’s books, including new editions of Rice & The World is Round, here.



Paul Harding (born 1967) is an American musician and author, best known for his debut novel Tinkers(2009), which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2010 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize among other honors. Harding was drummer in the band Cold Water Flat throughout its existence from 1990 to 1996.

Harding grew up on the north shore of Boston in the town of Wenham, Massachusetts. As a youth he spent a lot of time “knocking about in the woods” which he attributes to his love of nature. His grandfather fixed clocks and he apprenticed under him, an experience that found its way into his novel Tinkers. Harding has a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has taught writing at Harvard University and the University of Iowa.

After graduating from UMass, he spent time touring with his band Cold Water Flat in the US and Europe. He had always been a heavy reader and recalls reading Carlos Fuentes‘ Terra Nostra and thinking “this is what I want to do”. In that book Harding “saw the entire world, all of history”. When he next had time off from touring with the band he signed up for a summer writing class at Skidmore College in New York. His teacher was Marilynne Robinson and through her he learned about the Iowa Writers’ Workshop writing program. There he studied with Barry Unsworth, Elizabeth McCracken and later Robinson. At some point he realized some of the people he admired most were “profoundly religious” and so he spent years reading theology, and was “deeply” influenced by Karl Barthand John Calvin. He considers himself a “self-taught modern New England transcendentalist“.

Musically, he admires jazz drummers and considers Coltrane‘s drummer, Elvin Jones, the greatest Harding lives near Boston with his wife and two sons.

Harding’s second novel, Enon (2013), concerns characters from his first novel, Tinkers, looking at the lives of George Crosby’s grandson, Charlie Crosby, and his daughter Kate.

Pulitzer Prize winner in Journalism


Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Edward Humes has written thirteen narrative nonfiction books, ranging from the true-crime bestseller Mississippi Mud to the critically acclaimed enviro-chronicle Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash, to the PEN Award-winning No Matter How Loud I Shout, a narrative account of life and death inside Los Angeles Juvenile Court.

His latest book will be published in October 2013, a biography entitle, A Man His Mountain: The Everyman Who Created Kendall-Jackson and Became America’s Greatest Wine Entrepreneur.

Humes has taught for the graduate program in literary nonfiction at the University of Oregon; in the University of California-Irvine’s literary journalism department; and at Chapman University, where he taught feature writing. He has written for a number of print and online publications, including the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Readers Digest, the Oxfor American, Glamour and Sierra. His narrative account of a troubled shelter for foster children for Los Angeles Magazine, “The Forgotten,” received the Casey Medal for Public Service.

Humes’s books rely on narrative story-telling and immersion journalism to bring the feel and style of a novel to nonfiction, and his work has covered a broad range of subjects that include justice, crime, historical nonfiction, the environment, science, medicine and biography. For Baby ER, he spent a year as a author in residence at a leading neonatal intensive care unit. For School of Dreams, he joined the Class of 2001 at a California high school that had moved from worst to first–in both grades and stress. Monkey Girl spins the tale of a later-day Scopes Trial that tore apart a Pennsylvania community on questions of science and faith. Eco Barons and Over Here were Humes’s first forays into biographical narrative: Eco Barons tells the intertwined stories of a band of dreamers, schemers and billionaires working to save the planet from environmental destruction; Over Here is a anecdotal history of the World War II GI Bill, using the lives of a some of the extraordinary men and women who helped transform post-war America with the opportunities that unique legislation once offered.

His writing career began in newspapers, leading in 1989 to his Pulitzer Prize for specialized reporting for coverage of the military, which that year included dispatches from Panama; a narrative account of the unjust execution of a World War II army private and his nephew’s quest for exoneration; and a yearlong investigation of fatal military helicopter crashes linked to flawed night-vision devices. The latter revealed a Pentagon cover-up of the cause of more than sixty crashes and 120 deaths, leading to a congressional investigation and life-saving reforms.

Selected Reviews

“Reminiscent of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood….Reads as smoothly as a finely crafted suspense novel.” Chicago Tribune on Mississippi Mud

“Gripping…An important episode in the country’s ongoing struggle to reconcile faith, science, and culture. Humes’s book is a compelling account of that struggle.” Washington Post on Monkey Girl

“A finely etched, powerfully upsetting portrait.” New York Times on No Matter How Loud I Shout

“This is the same seamless, honest and also lyrical writing that earned Humes a Pulitzer Prize.” Los Angeles Times on Mean Justice

“Unlike most dirty books, this one is novel and fresh on every page. You will be amazed.” Bill McKibben, on Garbology

“Told with the drama and beauty of a novel…Humes succeeds where many would have failed because he is working out of the best American tradition of nonfiction narrative, of literary journalism, by paying homage to practitioners of the craft such as John McPhee, Joan Didion, Richard Rhodes and Tom Wolfe.” Los Angeles Times, on No Matter How Loud I Shout

Radio Interview: Edward Humes on Garbology on Fresh Air with Terry Gross, National Public Radio, April 26, 2012.


TV Interview: “Turning Trash to Treasure,” CNN – The Road to Rio, April 19, 2012.

Article, Slideshow, Video: “Inside America’s Largest Landfill,” CNN, April 26, 2012.

Slate, The Afterword, with June Thomas: America’s Love Affair with Garbage, May 24, 2012.

AOL TV: Edward Humes in You’ve Got…. 90 seconds on Garbology, June 2012.

Review: “Edward Humes Enjoys Digging Through Rubbish,” Los Angeles Times, April 17, 2012.

“Blood and Oil,” by Edward Humes, Sierra Magazine article on why the US military is making renewable power and sustainability part of their 21st century defense strategy, July/August 2011.

“The Ranch at the End of the World,” NPR column by Edward Humes, March 2009.

“The Many Lives of Jerry Brown,” California Lawyer profile by Edward Humes, Oct. 2008.

“Where the Wild Things Are… Still,” Sierra Magazine article on the controversial Tejon Ranch conservancy (part of the Eco Barons story), by Edward Humes. Jan/Feb 2010.

“Earth Day Analysis: How Waste Hurts the Economy,” by Edward Humes,Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012.



Orange Prize Finalist

Editor-in-chef for Merrit Books

Jacquelyn Mitchard has written nine novels for adults, including several New York Times bestsellers and several that have enjoyed critical acclaim, recently winning Great Britain’s People Are Talking prize and, in 2002, named to the short list for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. She has written seven novels for Young Adults as well, and five children’s books, a memoir, Mother Less Child and a collection of essays, The Rest of Us: Dispatches from the Mother Ship. Her essays also have been published in newspapers and magazines worldwide, widely anthologized, and incorporated into school curricula. Her reportage on educational issues facing American Indian children won the Hampton and Maggie Awards for Public Service Journalism. Mitchard’s work as part of Shadow Show, the anthology of short stories honoring her mentor, Ray Bradbury, currently is nominated for the Bram Stoker, Shirley Jackson, and Audie Awards. She served on the Fiction jury for the 2003 National Book Awards, and her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, later adapted for a feature film by Michelle Pfeiffer. Mitchard is the editor in chief and co-creator of Merit Press, a new realistic YA Fiction imprint. A Chicago native, Mitchard grew up the daughter of a plumber and a hardware store clerk who met as rodeo riders. A member of the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa tribe, she is a Distinguished Fellow at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois. Mitchard taught Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction at Fairfield University and was the first Faculty Fellow at Southern New Hampshire University. Her upcoming YA novel, What We Lost in the Dark, will be published in January by Soho Teen. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband and their nine children.



Contributing editor; Vanity Fair, Outside and Conde Nast Traveler:

Staff Writer, New Yorker

In l986 he started writing for newly resurrected Vanity Fair with a piece on the Murder of Dian Fosseythat was made into the movie, “Gorillas in the Mist,” and the magazine has been his main outlet ever since. He has written dozens of memorable pieces in the ten thousand word range for them, a few even policy-changing like his seminal “The Silent Killing of Tibet” and his exposee of the illegal logging of the ancient redwoods in the Bohemian Grove Club. His most three pieces, “Agony and Ivory,” “Positively 44th Street,” and “The Last of Eden,” will give an idea of his wide range of subject matter and writing style, and the genres of literary journalism he is going to be teaching and talking about. Environmental writing, nature writing, ethnography, travelogue, science writing, family history, memoir, advocacy journalism, writing to effect positive change. He will impart tips of the trade that may spell the difference between getting published or not, and on how to interview celebrities and hostile subjects.

Shoumatoff has published ten books : Florida Ramble (Postcards from Florida in its most recent edition), Westchester : Portrait of a County, The Rivers Amazon, Russian Blood, The Capital of Hope, In Southern Light, The Mountain of Names, African Madness, The World is Burning, and Legends of the American Desert : Sojourns in the Great Southwest. The last one was glowingly front-paged by the New York Times book review and both Time magazine and the New York Post’s number two non-fiction book of the year. He is at present 600 pages into his autobiography, Suitcase on the Loose, and writing a book about his recent trip into the rainforest of Borneo with a boyhood friend he’d been out of contact with for 55 years.

He is also coming out with a docuseries, Suitcase on the Loose, the first episode of which was just shot among the last Penan hunter-gatherers in Sarawak. The mission of the show is the same as what he writes about and of the Web site he started in 2001, Dispatchesfromthevanishingworld.com, now read by people from 90 countries a month, to make people realize the endless fascination of what is out there and the rapidity with which the planet’s biocultural diversity is being destroyed. All the big carnivores and the last hunter-gatherers on every continent are in their endgame, not to mention the songsbirds, bees, frogs, freshwater clams, and many other forms of life. This is what Shoumatoff’s career has mainly been devoted to, and will be from here on out : getting the word out, doing what he can to stem the damage, getting people to value and care about our vulnerable and precious fellow beings. He has put his literary chops at the service of the planet, and is now transitioning to the audiovisual. How we can make the Big Shift to a more empathetic civilization will be a big topic in his workshops and lectures.

“one of our greatest storytellers”– Graydon Carter, editor Vanity Fair magazine

“one of the great prose stylists of this or any other century”– Michael Hogan, Huffington Post

“Shoumatoff is a genuine citizen of the world, at home with people everywhere, and his example serves as an inspiration to all who cherish the ties that unite humankind… In my opinion, he ranks among the very best nature writers of our or any other time”– Timothy Ferris, science writer

“I never realized anybody could write about Westchester with so much love.”– William Shawn, editor The New Yorker


5932_1222863048532_4702384_nJANE SMILEY

Pulitzer Prize Winner

F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature

Born in Los Angeles, California , Smiley grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and graduated from John Burroughs School. She obtained an BA in literature at Vassar College (1971), then earned an MA at the University of Iowa (1975), Moughs .F.A. (1976) andPh.D. from the University of Iowa. While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar. From 1981 to 1996 she was a professor of English at Iowa State University, teaching undergraduate and graduate creative writing workshops, and continuing to teach there even after relocating to California.

Smiley published her first novel, Barn Blind, in 1980, and won a 1985 O. Henry Award for her short story “Lily”, which was published in The Atlantic Monthly. Her best-selling A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare‘s King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. It was adapted into a film of the same title in 1997. In 1995 she wrote her sole television script, produced for an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Her novella The Age of Grief was made into the 2002 film The Secret Lives of Dentists. Her essay “Feminism Meets the Free Market” was included in the 2006 anthology Mommy Wars by Washington Post writer Leslie Morgan Steiner.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel (2005), is a non-fiction meditation on the history and the nature of the novel, somewhat in the tradition of E. M. Forster‘s seminal Aspects of the Novel, that roams from eleventh century Japan’s Murasaki Shikibu‘s The Tale of Genji to 21st-century American women’s literature.

In 2001, Smiley was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters. She participates in the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in association with UCLA. Smiley chaired the judges’ panel for the prestigious Man Booker International Prize in 2009.


Susan_Wheeler___Ruby_Andrew_Wilkinson-330SUSAN WHEELER

National Book Award finalist in Poetry

Susan Wheeler grew up in Minnesota and New England. She is the author of several books of poetry and the novel Record Palace (Graywolf, 2005).

Her first collection, Bag ‘o’ Diamonds (University of Georgia Press, 1993), was chosen by James Tate to receive the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America.

Her other collections are Smokes (Four Way Books, 1998), Source Codes (Salt, 2001), Ledger (Iowa, 2005), and Assorted Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009), which includes poems from her first four books.

Her poems have appeared in eight editions of the The Best American Poetry series, as well as The Paris Review, New American Writing, Talisman, The New Yorker and many other journals.

About her work, John Ashbery writes: “Susan Wheeler’s narrative glamour finds occasions in unlikely places: hardware stores, Herodotus, Hollywood Squares, Flemish paintings, green stamps, and echoes of archaic and cyber speech. What at first seems cacophonous comes in the end to seem invested with a mournful dignity.”

Wheeler’s awards include the Witter Bynner Prize for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Wheeler has taught at the University of Iowa, NYU, Rutgers, and Columbia University, and is currently on the creative writing faculty at Princeton University. She has lived in the New York area for twenty years.

A Selected Bibliography


Bag ‘o’ Diamonds (University of Georgia Press, 1993)
Smokes (Four Way Books, 1998)
Source Codes (Salt, 2001)
Ledger (Iowa, 2005)
Assorted Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009)


Record Palace (Graywolf, 2005)




Marina Pacowski is a professor at the Music Conservatory Maurice Ravel Bayonne Cote Basque (France) where she teaches piano accompaniment and vocal coaching. She studied piano successively with Ada Labeque, Alain Motard and Bruno Rigutto. Then she specialize in accompaniment under the tutelage of Angeline Pondepayre with whom she studied at the conservatory of Rueil-Malmaison.

She obtained an unaniimous First Prize in accompaniment a Gold Medal in Composition and Music Analysis as well as the SACEM Prize in Composition. Marina came in first place in Belvedere International competition in Vienna, in the vocal coast category. She also came in first at the competiton organized by the Opera National du Rhin where she worked for a year as a pianist and vocal coach within the Jeune Voix du Rhin program.

As a vocal coach she collaborated with the following conductors. Friedrich Pleyer, with the Royal Opera of Wallonia in Belgium, Marc Tardue in the Colliseu of Oporto in Portugal, Dejan Savio with the Opera National du Rhin, Alexander Martin at the Filature de Mulhouse.

As a concert pianist she performed as the principal soloist in the Concerto for piano by Peo Cabalette, “La Chambre d’amour”, in the Kursal in San Sebastian, Spain; and in the Grand Theatre de Saint-Quentin, France. She was also invited by L’Ensemble Fa, for a concert at the Salle Gaveau; and she played first piano in the Camina Burana, conducted by Didier Benetti, with the Grand Choeur Orpheo Pamplones at the Atrium of Dax.

Marina is an eclectic artist, she performs solo recitals and performs n a jazz group as a singer.