Travel Writing Classes

TRAVEL WRITING CLASSES IN RIOJA, SPAIN

Travel Writing Classes in May 21 – 27 in Rioja, Spain with The Writer’s Workshop – (nick@thewritersworkshop.net)

Travel, Food and Wine Writing class in Rioja

Protected by mountains, the Rioja region produces some of the best wine and produce in the world, making it an ideal destination for the Travel, Food and Wine Writing Classes.

TRAVEL WRITING CLASSES – Travel writing, Food writing and Wine writing are some of the most appealing genres of nonfiction, calling on all of an author’s skills—dramatic scenes, character sketches, concrete detail, point of view, scene by scene construction—to compose compelling, engaging travel narratives. This six-day intensive class will introduce you to essential techniques of travel, food and wine writing and give you expert, insider advice about how to submit and publish finished travel stories.

In addition to learning these skills, you’ll dine at outstanding restaurants, visit some of the world’s best wineries, and explore fascinating historic sights during the travel writing classes. You’ll enjoy exclusive behind- the-scenes tours unavailable to the general public. Best of all, you’ll receive up-to-date story ideas from local industry experts that you can turn into finished travel, food and wine stories by the end of the class and submit to newspapers and magazines for publication. And now, I will personally edit and recommend your stories to a well-known food and beverage magazine for likely publication.

Travel, Food and Wine Writing Classes in San Sebastian

San Sebastian, one of the top dining destinations in the world, making it an irresistible spot to visit during the Travel, Food and Wine Writing Classes.

The six-day travel writing class will take place in Haro, a lovely wine town in the Rioja region of northern Spain and a center of the region’s cultural and epicurean life since before Roman times. The cost will be $2600 per person, including accommodations and most meals. (Single supplement, $500 per person) Plane fare, transit to and from Haro and some meals extra (see itinerary below).

To enroll, please send me a non-refundable deposit of $800 to 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109. Enrollment is limited to 10. For more information, contact me at nick@thewritersworkshop.net or 206-284-7121. The balance for the class will be due April 1st. After that date, there will be no refunds except in the case of medical emergency. See details below.

For more on San Sebastián, where we’ll visit as part of the class. take a look at this video: St. Sebastián.

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Travel Writing Classes – Available Online Anytime, Anywhere

INTRODUCTION TO TRAVEL WRITING CLASS – The romance of travel writing is easy to understand. Who wouldn’t like to go on an all-expense paid trip to a Hawaiian resort? How about traveling the Whiskey Trail through the American South, visiting the best micro distilleries? Or what about a food and wine tour of Argentina? These are all trips I have turned down recently, mostly from lack of time. Would you like to go in my place? Sign up for the travel writing class you’ll learn the techniques of travel writing which can lead to getting invited on these trips.

Travel writing is one of the most exciting genres of nonfiction, calling on all of an author’s skills—dramatic scenes, character sketches, concrete detail, point of view, scene by scene construction. Through readings, written assignments and individual critiques, students in the travel writing course will gain a practical grasp of these techniques. These travel writing classes will discuss where to market work. Six assignments including a 1,500- to 2,500-word travel story and its revision. $500.

2017 Travel, Food and Wine Writing Classes in Rioja, Spain

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE

This course will give you an intensive introduction to the art and practice of travel writing, allow you to experience the incredible richness of the local wine and cuisine scene, and provide time to explore this amazing place. Tentative itinerary:

SUNDAY – 8:30 p.m. – Welcoming dinner at Los Augostinos Restaurant in Haro, Spain. Sample Rioja wines and regional specialties such as roast lamb, white asparagus, carne asada and grilled scallops with saffron cream sauce as you get to know the other course participants.

Marta Echavarri of CVNE winery showing off the barrel room, designed by Gustave Eiffel, who also designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Marta Echavarri of CVNE winery showing off the barrel room, designed by Gustave Eiffel, who also designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

MONDAY – 9 a.m. to noon – Introduction to the travel writing course, discussion of travel writing, genres of travel writing (article, essay, profile, etc.), story ideas. Noon to 2 p.m. – Lunch – 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Tour of Haro. – Dinner at local restaurant featuring local specialties like lamb, beef and grilled shrimp. (Breakfast and dinner provided.)

TUESDAY – 9 a.m. to noon. – Lecture and discussion of scenes, scene by scene construction, dramatic outlines. Noon to 2 p.m. – Lunch – 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Free time – 4 to 6 p.m. Tour of CVNE winery, whose Imperial won Wine Spectator’s 2013 Best wine in world. (Breakfast provided)

WEDNESDAY – 8:30 a.m. leave to visit to San Sebastián. – 10 a.m. Walking tour of San Sebastián, covering history, culture and gastronomy. – 1 p.m. Lunch at outstanding local restaurant serving local specialties such as grilled octopus, sea bass, pigeon and piquillo peppers. – 3 p.m. till 7:30 p.m. Free time in San Sebastian, a fascinating city of world-class shopping, meat, fish and vegetable markets and beautiful beaches. – 7:30 p.m. Tapas tour of old town San Sebastián. – 9 p.m. Return to Haro. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.)

Delicious tapas, one of the many Spanish dishes we'll enjoy during the Travel, Food and Wine Writing Class

Tapas, one of the many delicious Spanish dishes we’ll enjoy during the Travel, Food and Wine Writing Class.

THURSDAY – 9 a.m. Plot and characterization – 10 a.m. – noon – Draft story. Noon to 2 p.m. – Lunch. – 2 p.m. – Optional walk along the Camino de Santiago, leaving from Haro. (Breakfast provided.)

FRIDAY – 9 a.m. to noon – Write, workshop stories – Noon to 2 p.m. – Lunch – 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Discuss publication, writing query letters, course evaluation. – 8 p.m. – Class celebration at local restaurant specializing in roast lamb, beef and white asparagus. (Breakfast and dinner provided.)

SATURDAY – Check out of the hotel, alas!

Participants in the 2015 Travel, Food and Wine Writing Class celebrate graduation.

Participants in the 2015 Travel, Food and Wine Writing Class celebrate graduation.

THE PLACE – La Rioja is Spain’s premier wine region, a land of astonishing beauty and rich geographic diversity, producing some of the finest wines in the world. Mountains to the north and south protect it from cold and wind, creating an ideal micro climate for growing grapes, figs, pears, highly-prized white asparagus as well as pasturing cattle and sheep that make for delicious carne asada and succulent roast lamb.

The quality of the produce inspires an extraordinary culinary culture, not only in Rioja itself, but in nearby San Sebastián to the north, one of the most exciting dining destinations in the world, boasting Michelin Three Star restaurants like Arzak, a wide array of lively, outstanding tapas bars and an astonishing variety of seafood including sweet gambas and fantastical creations with all kinds of fish.

The famous Camino de Santiago bisects the region and serves as a spiritual magnet for the thousands of pilgrims who complete the 500-mile trek every year. Over the centuries, the route has played an important role in the Spain’s history, bringing in new art, ideas and customs, making this an important cultural destination for wine, art, architecture and the Spanish language itself.

Taste some amazing tapas during the Travel, Food and Wine Writing class.

Taste some amazing tapas during the Travel, Food and Wine Writing class.

We will experience the richness of La Rioja during my upcoming 2017 Travel, Food and Wine Writing Class in Haro, Spain.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Double-occupancy rooms at lovely hotel in Haro, Spain. Single rooms available with a $500 supplement.

TO ENROLL

Please send me a non-refundable deposit of $800 to 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109, USA. Enrollment is limited to 10. Spouses, partners or friends can attend the events and meals but not the class for $1800, with a $800 deposit. For more information, contact me at nick@thewritersworkshop.net or 206-284-7121. Please sign up early; the class likely will fill quickly.

THE INSTRUCTOR

Nick O'Connell, founder of The Writer's Workshop, walking the Camino de Santiago outside Haro, Spain.

Nick O’Connell, founder of The Writer’s Workshop, walking the Camino de Santiago outside Haro, Spain.

My introduction to the moveable feast that is Europe began during a junior year abroad program in Nantes, France. On weekends and holidays, I criss-crossed the continent with my rail pass, visiting Florence to see the Michaelangelo’s David and indulge in a bottle of Chianti with Bistecca Alla Fiorentina. The next weekend I’d board the night train to Madrid to gawk at Goya’s black paintings and drink way too much sangria. Then I’d return to Nantes to enjoy oysters with a bottle of Muscadet and the occasional splurge on a leg of lamb with a good Bordeaux. In completing my studies in French at Amherst College, I saturated myself in the continent’s language, literature, art and history. I returned to Italy, France, Spain and Germany many times since then, traveling all over the continent to savor its food, wine and culture.
This in-depth knowledge of Europe quickly led to writing about it. Today, I contribute to Newsweek, Gourmet, Condé Nast Traveler, Saveur, Food and Wine, The Wine Spectator, Outside, GO, National Geographic Adventure, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commonweal, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Westways, Sierra, and other publications. I’ve written the following books, The Storms of Denali: A Novel (2012), On Sacred Ground: The Spirit of Place in Pacific Northwest Literature (2003), At the Field’s End: Interviews with 22 Pacific Northwest Writers (1998), Contemporary Ecofiction, (1996), Beyond Risk: Conversations with Climbers (1993).

nick-with-flowers

Nick O’Connell, founder of The Writer’s Workshop, and leader of the Travel, Food and Wine Writing class.

In addition to working as a freelance travel writer, I moonlight as a winemaker, making a Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah under the Les Copains label. At one time I contemplated a career as a winemaker, but shelved the idea because I enjoyed writing and teaching too much. After completing my MFA in fiction writing and PhD in Literature at the University of Washington, I went on to create the university’s year-long program in Narrative Nonfiction in 1993, one of the first such programs in the country. After teaching in that program for a number of years, I founded www.thewritersworkshop.net, an online and on-campus writing program based in Seattle, Washington. This program allows me to indulge my passion for teaching small, personalized travel writing classes as well as introduce students to the incredibly rich history and culture of Rioja, one of the crown jewels of this beautiful continent. For more: nick@thewritersworkshop.net.

TO ENROLL

Please send me a non-refundable deposit of $800 to 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109, USA. Enrollment is limited to 10. Spouses, partners or friends can attend the events and meals but not the class for $1800, with a $800 deposit. For more information, contact me at nick@thewritersworkshop.net or 206-284-7121. Please sign up early; the class likely will fill quickly.

RECOMMENDED READING

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain. The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher, The Wine Region of Rioja by Ana Fabiano.

GETTING THERE:

There are many transportation options, bus, train and car. Here are some links to websites for more detail:

By bus: http://www.rome2rio.com/s/Madrid/Haro

By train: http://www.thetrainline-europe.com/train/madrid-puerta-de-atocha-to-haro~7100049~7100434

ABOUT THE TRAVEL WRITING CLASSES

The Writer’s Workshop’s Travel, Food and Wine Writing classes have explored some of the best wineries, restaurants and cultural destinations in the world. The travel writing classes grew out of a visit to St. Emilion in 2004, where the food, wine and culture of the Bordeaux wine region inspired me to launch the travel writing classes in 2005, visiting First Growth wineries Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour, Lafite Rothschild and Chateau d’Yquems as well as dining at outstanding restaurants like Le Lion d’Or and visiting historic sites like the grave of St. Emilion.

After running the travel writing classes for four years in St. Emilion, I branched out to Provence, choosing Vaison la Romaine, an idyllic destination in Provence, home of a spectacular weekly market, wineries like Vieux Telegraph and Chateau Beaucastel, amazing restaurants like Oustalet and important Roman ruins like Pont du Gard.

Downtown Haro, the capital of the Rioja region and a wonderful place to enjoy tapas.

Downtown Haro, the capital of the Rioja region and a wonderful place to enjoy tapas.

Provence’s proximity to Italy inspired a visit to Tuscany where I discovered Montalcino, a wonderful town which became a destination in year?, allowing me to introduce students to the pleasures of Tuscany, visiting wineries like Biondi Santi, restaurants and taking in fantastic cultural destinations like Pienza, the world’s first planned city, an architectural jewel box of a town.

Now for the first year ever, I will visit Rioja, Spain, an equally captivating destination, with outstanding cuisine, wine and important cultural and historic significance.

 

PARTICIPANTS IN THE TRAVEL WRITING CLASSES

Participants in the travel writing classes are a self-selected group, some of the most interesting, diverse and motivated students I’ve had the pleasure of teaching. Many work as chefs, sommeliers, public relations professionals, editors, authors as well as professionals in other fields such as medicine, law, teaching and engineering. Some have written books, others are new to writing, but all have appreciated the expert instruction and beautiful and welcoming destinations of the travel writing classes.

The class is ideal for those traveling with or without a friend or significant other. The self-selected nature allows participants to quickly bond, making friendships that have lasted a lifetime. Though  packed with activities, the schedule allows free time for writing, reflection, and the opportunity to explore the destination on your own. Here’s what some of the previous participants have written about my travel writing classes:

 

WHAT FORMER STUDENTS SAY ABOUT THE TRAVEL WRITING CLASS

You are the Domaine de la Mordorée rosé of writing teachers!

Julie Ramos writes from West Nyack, New York.

Best of all is Nick’s straight-forward advice, helpful information, down-to-earth nature, sense of humor and great taste. I love how we left the class with an article to send out!

Gabriella Rinelli shopping at one of the many wonderful vegetable markets in San Sebastian.

Gabriella Rinelli shopping at one of the many wonderful vegetable markets in San Sebastian.

– Jenine Abboushi writes from Beirut, Lebanon.

It’s a very pleasant way to energize your writing in a beautiful setting with congenial colleagues. I enjoyed it so much I came back a second time.

– Concha Alborg writes from Philadelphia, PA.

What an amazing week in the most beautiful place on earth! Learning the craft of food, wine and travel writing with your excellent insight and instruction was so helpful. Thank you for organizing the dinners, excursions and wine tastings.  I would recommend this travel writing adventure to anyone with a curiosity to learn what writing for this genre can entail.

– Michelle Morgando is a judge and chef from Las Vegas, Nevada.

I wanted to say thanks for an amazing travel writing trip! It keeps hitting me now just how special everything was, particularly meeting the winemakers…wow! Thanks so much for making the trip so memorable.

Anne Banas is the Executive Editor of Smarter Travel

The scallop shell, symbol of the Camino de Santiago, a portion of which we'll walk during the Travel, Food and Wine Writing Class.

The scallop shell, symbol of the Camino de Santiago, a portion of which we’ll walk during the Travel, Food and Wine Writing Class.

The Travel, Food and Wine Writing Class was so much fun that I find myself smiling whenever I think of it.  The small class size is ideal for a seminar and even better for the excursions to the wineries and restaurants.  Nick is extremely knowledge in all areas included in the seminar and is a marvelous host with a great sense of humor.  It is obvious why the small “garage” wineries and the venerable estates alike warmly welcome Nick and his entourage. While not a fan of group travel in general, this travel writing class could not have been better.  I highly recommend it to aspiring travel writers, Francophiles, and anyone who wants to enrich their appreciation of wine and food.

Kate Jackson is a writer from Missoula, Montana.

James and Marcus howled with laughter. Ann and Jack, heads crushed together, pored over photos. Nick gestured wildly, indicating precisely what it is about Bordeaux that speaks to his soul. Balash, the international party boy/philosopher, snatched and drained half empty glasses. Out of the corner of my eye I saw silver-haired Barbara tiptoe into the kitchen in search of more crème brûlé. I felt the kind of relaxing smile you feel at the end of a long day with people you know well. How did this selection of strangers become so at ease with each other?… http://www.thewritersworkshopreview.net/article.cgi?article_id

Erin Byrne is a writer from the Seattle area.

I can’t thank you enough for our week in Saint-Émilion. Rosemary and I had so much fun. I learned so much about travel, writing, food, wine and good teaching. I am so grateful.

Andy Hall is a freelance writer from Seattle, Washington.

I’m still smiling over our excellent St. Emilion travel writing adventure! Take care and thanks!

Kristin DeCook is a freelance writer from Chicago.

Thank you for such a wonderful week – you are a master!

Lauren Hirt is a freelance writer from Seattle, Washington.

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