In this literary retreat, students work intensively to generate new writing in the enchanting, historically rich setting where so many writers—from Dante to E. M. Forster—have found literary inspiration. Students participate in daily workshops and craft seminars and attend a lively series of readings, lectures, and special events. Writing and reading assignments are designed to encourage serious study as well as immersion in the local landscape—for example, students might visit the Galleria degli Uffizi and write ekphrastic poems, conduct literary research in Villa la Pietra's library, or take an afternoon trip to Fiesole, a memorable locale in E.M. Forster's "Room with a View," for a lesson on fictional settings. On weekends, students have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of their literary predecessors: they might walk along the Arno River, view the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo, or stroll through the Boboli gardens.
Writers in Florence students focus on either poetry or fiction. Coursework consists of alternating afternoons of craft seminars and writing workshops, as well as daily literary colloquia events, including readings, lectures and tours. The schedule includes time for writing, reading, and exploring Florence, and the program culminates in a celebratory reading showcasing student work.
Students have the opportunity to work closely with two accomplished faculty members—one in the context of the writing workshop, and another in the context of the craft seminar.
La Pietra is NYU's academic center for study abroad in Florence. Donated to the University by Sir Harold Acton, this 15th-century, 57-acre estate is graced by five villas, formal gardens, olive groves, and a priceless art collection. The estate is situated just outside the city center of Florence, a 20-minute walk or a 10-minute bus ride away.
All students participating in the program are required to live in NYU-provided housing. Students reside on the estate grounds in Villa Natalia which is air-conditioned and includes a cafeteria, a computer lab, a student lounge, a small gym, and a laundry facility. The greater La Pietra facilities include multimedia-equipped classrooms, a screening room, two computer labs, a reference library, and a second cafeteria with terrace.
Housing rates are inclusive of breakfast and dinner daily in the Villa Natalia cafeteria. Students are responsible for their own lunches, snacks, and other non-program meal expenditures. Lunches are available for purchase on-campus at the Villa Natalia cafeteria.
Please see a slideshow of Villa La Pietra gardens and estate here.
Students register for one of the following courses:
Workshops provide students with guidance on the art of revision, as well as with experience giving and receiving feedback. Each student submits a final portfolio of writing at the end of the program. In the craft seminars—literature courses taught by writers for writers—students study great works of literature in order to learn how to create their own. Emphasis is on close reading and the basic elements of craft. A special colloquia of literary readings, lectures and events complements students' work in the classroom.
Tuesdays - Fridays
3:00pm - 5:30pm: Alternating days of workshops and craft seminars.
Morning and/or evenings TBD: Literary colloquia events.
Sample Syllabi - Writers in Florence Fiction
Sample Syllabi - Writers in Florence: Poetry
Chris Kraus (fiction faculty) is the author of four novels, most recently Summer of Hate, and two books of art and cultural criticism. Described by the New York Observer as "the art world's favorite novelist," a conference on her writing was held this year in London at Royal College of Art. Spanish and German translations of her novels I Love Dick, Torpor and Summer of Hate are forthcoming in 2014. During the 1980s she worked at the St. Marks Poetry Project and studied acting with Ruth Maleczech. She is a co-editor of Semiotexte, a contributing editor to Los Angeles Review of Books, and Professor of Writing at European Graduate School.
Dorothea Lasky (poetry faculty) is the author of ROME (Liveright/W.W. Norton, 2014), as well as Thunderbird, Black Life, and AWE, all out from Wave Books. She is a co-editor of Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry (McSweeney's, 2013) and has authored many chapbooks, including Poetry is Not a Project (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010). Her poems have appeared in numerous places, including The Paris Review and POETRY. She holds a doctorate in creativity and education from the University of Pennsylvania and has been educated at Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Washington University. She is an Assistant Professor of Poetry at Columbia University's School of the Arts, is a co-founder of the Ashbery Home School, served as a 2013 Bagley Wright Lecturer in Poetry, and co-directs Writers in Florence with Jessica Flynn. She lives in Brooklyn and can be found online at dorothealasky.tumblr.com.
Jonathan Lethem (fiction faculty) is the author of nine novels, including Motherless Brooklyn (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award), The Fortress of Solitude, You Don’t Love Me Yet, Chronic City, and most recently, Dissident Gardens. He is also the author of numerous collections, including Men and Cartoons, The Disappointment Artist, and The Wall of the Sky, Wall of the Eye. A New York Times bestselling author and recipient of a MacArthur fellowship, Lethem has published his stories and essays in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Rolling Stone, Esquire, and The New York Times, among others. He lives in California. Visit Lethem’s website at jonathanlethem.com.
Eileen Myles (poetry faculty) is the author of numerous books including Snowflake/different streets (poetry, 2012), Inferno (a poet’s novel) (2010), Sorry, Tree (poetry, 2007), Tow w/ artist Larry C. Collins (2005), Skies (2001), on my way (2001), Cool for You (novel, 2000), School of Fish (1997), Maxfield Parrish (1995), Not Me (1991), and Chelsea Girls (stories, 1994). In 1995, with Liz Kotz, she edited The New Fuck You/adventures in lesbian reading. From 1984 through 1986 Myles was Artistic Director of St. Mark's Poetry Project. In 2004 she wrote the libretto for the opera, Hell, composed by Michael Webster and performed on both coasts and in Tijuana in 2004 and in 2006. She is a Professor Emeritus of writing & literature at UC San Diego where she taught from 2002 to 2007. She contributes to a wide number of publications including Art Forum, Parkett, The Believer, Vice,Cabinet, The Nation, TimeOut, Book Forum and AnOther Magazine. She received an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital art writers' grant for “Iceland.” The Poetry Society of American awarded her the Shelley Prize in 2010. She’s a 2012 Guggenheim fellow. She lives in New York.
The following additional expenses should also be considered when budgeting for the Writers in Florence program. Please note that these are only general estimates. Interested students are encouraged to conduct their own research.
Round-Trip Flight from New York: $1,740.00 - $1,900.00
Short Taxi Ride: $11.00 - $15.00
Bus Ride: $1.50
Inexpensive Lunch: $6.00 - $14.00
Inexpensive Dinner: $9.00 - $21.00
Prepaid Cell Phone: $15.00 - $30.00
Sim Card: $5.00 - $10.00
Hostel: $15.00 - $40.00
Hotel: $45.00 - $150.00
Tourist Attractions: $10.00 - $15.00, admission