Write Now! in Syros
Beautifully restored 19th-century townhouse with sea views
  • Beautifully restored 19th-century townhouse with sea views
  • Elise Valmorbida teaches with Anne Aylor at
    Villa Maria in Hermoupolis, Syros, Greece
    Dates in 2018: to be confirmed
    Length of course: 7 days
    Level: Beginners to published writers

    Syros is in the beautiful Cyclades group of islands. Not to be confused with Skyros. It is a secret haven of culture, indulgence, and life beyond tourism. Hermoupolis is the city of Hermes—god of literature, writing and, er, cattle rustling. This 7-day retreat will give you the confidence to develop your writing and create new work. Sessions will be conducted in English and will include:
    • 6 (yes, six) days of workshops with two expert writing teachers
    • one-to-one tutorials in the afternoons
    • open mic nights
    • plenty of teacher contact time
    • delicious, fresh, healthy, local food
    • private accommodation or shared rooms

    [These 2017 prices are for guideline information only]:
    Cost for tuition and board: 1250 Euros
    Shared room: 1050 Euros per student
    To bring a non-participating friend/partner: 650 Euros

    WHO CAN COME?
    Short-story writers, creative non-fiction writers, playwrights and poets are welcome to hone their skills or use the week as a retreat.

    LEVEL
    The workshops will be open to anyone with a serious desire to write, from beginners to published writers. All sessions will be conducted in a friendly, constructive atmosphere which will help you develop, plan and expand your work.

    LOCATION
    In the heart of the historic town, Villa Maria is a 19th-century townhouse with marble bathrooms, antiques and newly restored interiors. The serene, inspirational surroundings offer time for writing, relaxation and recreation.

    ACCOMMODATION
    There are 2 single rooms, 2 double rooms suitable for one student or a couple, 2 studios suitable for one student or a couple, 1 large double room suitable for 2 students sharing, and 1 split-level studio suitable for 2 students sharing. Most bedrooms have en suite bathrooms. Additional nearby accommodation may be provided, depending on student numbers.

    ROOM CHOICE
    Rooms are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Pricing is standard across all accommodation, so it’s luck of the draw if you get a sea view or en-suite. If you share accommodation with another student, you each pay a little less. 

    TEACHING
    You'll be in the capable hands of two published writers who love teaching and do it well. There's more info about Elise on this website. To find out what students say about Anne, click here.

    FOOD
    Healthy eating for all tastes, with vegetarian options, freshly prepared by our excellent chef and host, Elisa Mavropoulou. Please provide us with information on any special dietary requirements when booking.

    SLIDE-SHOW
    We've made a short slide-show to give you a feel for your stay at Villa Maria and Hermopoulis. View it here!

    RECREATION
    Afternoons are free. You can write, book a tutorial, read, swim, relax, take a siesta or an inspiring walk through the old town.

    ACCESSIBILITY
    Hermopoulis is built on a steep hill facing the harbour. The walk from the ferry includes approximately 100 steps up to Villa Maria. Porters will carry your luggage up on arrival, and down on departure. Because access to the house is via pedestrian streets with steps, this retreat is not suitable with people with walking disabilities.

    DO YOU NEED A VISA?
    If you are a passport holder from a country outside the EU, you will need to check if a visa is necessary to enter Greece. Students are responsible for obtaining any visas, or other travel documents, necessary to enter the country. You are advised to travel with a passport which has a minimum of 6 months left before its expiry.

    HOW TO GET THERE BY AIR
    There are direct flights from Athens to Syros with Sky Express.

    HOW TO GET THERE BY SEA FROM ATHENS OR MYKONOS
    Click here to see ferry timetables for all islands. You can sail from Mykonos to Syros, or from Piraeus port to Syros. There are also ferries that sail from Rafina (not far from Athens airport) via Tinos island.

    TRANSPORT FROM ATHENS AIRPORT TO PIRAEUS
    • Bus: The X96 bus goes direct from Athens airport to Piraeus every 20-30 minutes. The journey takes about 1 hour and costs 6 Euros. 
    • Taxi: A taxi from the airport to Piraeus costs around 50 Euros and takes 30-45 minutes, depending on traffic. If several students are arriving around the same time in Athens, a taxi can be shared. Nearer the time, we will put students arriving on the same flight in touch with each other.

    ARRIVAL TIME
    Officially, it's 17.00 on Saturday. There will be no formal tuition on the Saturday evening when you arrive; it's a time to socialise and break the ice—with food and drink—before the first workshop starts on the Sunday.

    WHAT'S INCLUDED (AT A GLANCE)—more detailed info to come
    • 7 nights' accommodation
    • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners with table wine
    • course fee for workshops, tutorials and open mic nights

    NOT INCLUDED
    • ground/sea/air travel
    • personal travel insurance
    • DIY dinner on Wednesday and Fiesta Night Friday 

    LEAVING VILLA MARIA
    The course will end by 11.00 on the final Saturday morning so that the villa can be prepared for the next guests.
     
    TO BOOK 
    By post: Enrolment will be confirmed on receipt of your course fee. Please email to request the postal address. Online: A PayPal link and full Terms & Conditions will be available here once the 2018 course dates have been confirmed. You are advised to carry travel insurance. We strongly urge you not to book travel until the retreat, and your place on it, has been confirmed in writing. We cannot reimburse travel costs or other losses incurred by you in the event of cancellation by us or you. 
    © 2017 Elise Valmorbida