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Who We Are

Launched in 2017 by Martha Cooley and Antonio Romani, Lunigiana Literary Retreats is inspired by these author-translators’ personal experiences of traversal—from New York City to Italy, and from one language to another.

Lunigiana is the “unknown Tuscany”—a beautiful valley at the region’s northern tip, near the Mediterranean Sea. For centuries, all manner of travelers and seekers  have crisscrossed this hilly, verdant, river-laced realm. In keeping with Lunigiana’s role as a nexus of people and ideas, Lunigiana Literary Retreats offers writing workshops, reading-and-touring experiences, and diverse literary and artistic encounters and collaborations.

A medieval hilltop village, Castiglione del Terziere, and an adjacent inn, L’Annunziata—a restored sixteenth-century convent—are our physical anchors. Castiglione del Terziere’s castle is a repository of rare books and manuscripts, and the inn is an elegantly rustic haven for work and rest.   

We are near the cities of Parma, Lucca, and Pisa as well as the marble quarries of Carrara, the Gulf of the Poets and Cinque Terre, and the beaches of Versilia.  

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Martha Cooley is the author of two novels, The Archivist, a national bestseller published in eleven foreign markets, and Thirty-Three Swoons, also published in Italy. Guesswork, a memoir-in-essays focusing on a year spent in Lunigiana, was published in 2017. Martha’s short fiction, essays, and co-translations have appeared in numerous literary magazines. Her story “Mercedes Benz” was an O. Henry prize winner for 2017. Her co-translation (with Antonio Romani) of Antonio Tabucchi’s Time Ages in a Hurry appeared in 2015. She is a Professor of English at Adelphi University and taught for 15 years in the Bennington Writing Seminars.

Antonio Romani is an essayist and translator whose writings and co-translations have appeared in A Public Space, AGNI, The Common, Tin House, and other literary journals. His essay on Elena Ferrante was a Notable in Best American Essays 2016. His co-translation (with Martha Cooley) of Antonio Tabucchi’s Time Ages in a Hurry appeared in 2015. Since 2014, he has led a “What’s Italian?” reading group at The Center for Fiction (NYC).

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Sheridan Hay’s first novel, The Secret of Lost Things, was a Booksense Pick, a Barnes & Noble Discover selection, shortlisted for the Border’s Original Voices Fiction Prize, and nominated for the International Impac Award. A San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and a New York Times Editor’s Choice, the novel has been translated into ten languages.  Sheridan worked for many years in publishing and has led reading groups at the Center for Fiction (NYC) for ten years. She is working on a novel that takes place in Italy.