Travel Writing Classes


May 19 – 25, 2024

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.

The Writer's Workshop Travel Writing Class will take place in Burgundy in 2024. Photo of Chateau-Rully and Vineyard.
The Writer’s Workshop Travel Writing Class will take place in Burgundy in 2024. Photo of Chateau Rully and Vineyard.

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.


SUNDAY – 7:30 p.m. – Welcoming dinner at local restaurant. Sample Burgundy wines and regional specialties like poached eggs in white wine sauce, grilled sea bass, beef bourguignon or snails with garlic, butter and parsley.

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 Beaune.

7:30 p.m. – Dinner at local restaurant. (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.

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 tour of Hospices de Beaune, a medieval hospital with flamboyant Gothic architecture and polychrome roofs making it of one of France’s most recognized historic monuments.

WEDNESDAY – 9 a.m. – 10:30 class.

10:30 – noon – visit Beaune’s wonderful market.

Noon – 2 p.m. lunch.

5 p.m. visit and tasting at local winery.

7:30 p.m. – Dinner at local restaurant. (Breakfast, lunch, dinner provided.)

THURSDAY – 9 a.m. Dramatic outlines – 10 a.m. – noon – Draft story.

Noon to 2 p.m. – Lunch. – 2 p.m. – Optional walk through surrounding countryside.  (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, reading of student stories. – 7:30 p.m. – Class celebration at the local restaurant .  (Breakfast and dinner provided.)

SATURDAY – Check out of the hotel, alas!

We'll sample the delicious cuisine of Burgundy as part of the Writer's Workshop's 2024 Travel, Food and Wine Writing classes.
We’ll sample the delicious cuisine of Burgundy as part of the Writer’s Workshop’s 2024 Travel, Food and Wine Writing classes.



Nick O'Connell, founder of The Writer's Workshop, leads the Travel, Food and Wine Writing Class.
Nick O’Connell, founder of The Writer’s Workshop, leads the Travel, Food and Wine Writing Class.

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).

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 The Writer’s Workshop, 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, contact Nick.


We'll visit the landmark Hospices de Beaune as part of the Writer's Workshop's Travel Writing Classes.
We’ll visit the landmark Hospices de Beaune as part of the Writer’s Workshop’s 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.

We'll visit Beaune's Notre Dame cathedral as part of the Writer's Workshop's Travel Writing Classes.
We’ll visit Beaune’s Notre Dame cathedral as part of the Writer’s Workshop’s Travel Writing Classes.

Provence’s proximity to Italy inspired a visit to Tuscany where I discovered Montalcino, a wonderful town which became a destination in 2009, 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.

The class is planned in Burgundy, France in May 2024, a captivating destination, with authentic Burgundian cuisine, outstanding wine and important cultural and historical landmarks.


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, restaurateurs, 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 surroundings. Some have likened it to a summer camp for adults.

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.

Beaune is the capital of the world-renowned Burgundy wine region and the site of the Writer's Workshop's 2024 Travel Writing Class.
Beaune is the capital of the world renowned Burgundy wine region and the site of the Writer’s Workshop’s 2024 Travel Writing Class.