Featured in Vanity Fair Italia:
"Chelsea Hodson and Giancarlo DiTrapano have created a workshop that follows
its own rules and is creating tomorrow’s literature.”

Featured in Departures Magazine:
A little disruption in routine can be helpful for unlocking new creative potential."

fall SESSION: october 12-19, 2019

Workshop IV: April 15-22, 2019
Workshop III: October 7-14, 2018
Workshop II: April 17-24, 2018
Workshop I: October 15-22, 2017


Apply here.


Giancarlo DiTrapano and Chelsea Hodson, photographed at Villa DiTrapano for  Vanity Fair Italia .

Giancarlo DiTrapano and Chelsea Hodson, photographed at Villa DiTrapano for Vanity Fair Italia.

Giancarlo DiTrapano is the editor of Tyrant Books and New York Tyrant. He has published and edited books by Atticus Lish, Marie Calloway, Scott McClanahan, Clancy Martin, Brian Evenson,  Eugene Marten, Blake Butler, Michael Kimball, Sam Michel, Ken Baumann, and others. He has written for Playboy, Vice, and other outlets. He taught fiction writing and editing at Catapult. He lives in Rome. 

Chelsea Hodson is the author of the essay collection Tonight I'm Someone Else, which The Washington Post called "a memorable first collection" and Kirkus Reviews called "a simultaneously bewildering and compelling body of work." She teaches at Bennington College, Kettle Pond Writers’ Conference, Catapult. She has been awarded fellowships from MacDowell Colony and PEN Center USA Emerging Voices.

Both Giancarlo and Chelsea share a love for work that is unflinching, visceral, and heartbreaking—this aesthetic informs everything about the workshop, from our manuscript response letters to our in-class discussions. When a student in our first workshop asked if three rounds of edits was a good rule to use before submitting to journals, we said it should be closer to a hundred rounds of edits. We believe in the workshop as a space where a piece of writing can be sufficiently interrogated, leaving the writer encouraged and excited to get back to work on the next draft. 

Mors Tua Vita Mea translates to "your death, my life"—a medieval Latin battle cry that indicates one's defeat is necessary for one's victory. This workshop is not a space for defeat, but a place where you are free to question or abandon your former writing practices in order for new ones to emerge.


Workshop meets for two hours every morning and each student (six total) will have the opportunity to workshop a manuscript up to 20 pages. Both Giancarlo DiTrapano and Chelsea Hodson will be present for each workshop meeting—fiction and nonfiction will be workshopped together. Each workshop will also involve a lesson from either Giancarlo or Chelsea—past lessons have included topics such as: how to write a great first sentence, how to use the physical body as a writing tool, and how to use constraints to battle writer's block and inspire new ideas.  

Before arriving in Italy, each student is expected to print, read, and mark up the other students' manuscripts and respond with a one-page letter to each student. These letters will guide our discussions.


Villa DiTrapano is a private gated residence located on sixteen acres in Sezze Romano, Latina, Italy. Originally built in the 17th century and in the DiTrapano family since 1932, the villa has been fully renovated and now operates as a luxury rental year-round. It has all the amenities you'll need: high-quality bedding and sheets, wireless internet, a fireplace, air conditioning, bathrobes, hair dryers, a coffeemaker, and a security system. Each student will have their own bedroom in the villa.

Giancarlo’s husband, Giuseppe, acts as our own personal chef at the villa, preparing delicious, authentic Italian dishes every day.

special accommodations

There is one bedroom at the villa with two twin beds (pictured below left). If you and a friend would like to rent this room together, let us know on your application. If you are both accepted, the cost of your stay will be reduced.

There is also a separate garden apartment located across the pool (green room pictured below). This apartment offers more privacy and has its own bathroom with a shower. For a small extra fee, you can reserve this apartment instead of a private bedroom in the villa. 


$2900 USD is the total cost for tuition, a private bedroom at Villa DiTrapano, all transportation (including to and from the airport and all field trips), breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. The cost of airfare to Rome is the responsibility of the student, as is any alcohol beyond the wine that we provide at the villa. If you are accepted, a nonrefundable deposit of $1000 will be due by August 8, and the remaining $1900 will be due by September 8.

A limited amount of financial aid is available to students in need—see application for more details, and feel free to contact us at morstuavitameaworkshop@gmail.com to discuss in further detail.


In the afternoons and evenings, our own personal tour guide and history expert (and also Giancarlo's husband) Giuseppe will join us as we embark on nearby excursions. Some of the activities from our previous workshops included: seeing the two thousand year old ruins and skeletons of Ercolano, eating a private four-course lunch at the top of a mountain in Roccagorga, swimming and drinking cocktails at the beach in Sperlonga, visiting the ancient Roman temples of Terracina, eating pizza and gelato in Naples, and more. This is the perfect trip for someone new to Italy, since all you have to do is get in the car and let Giancarlo drive you to the next tourist-free destination while Giuseppe tells you all about it. 


On days when we have extra spare time at the villa, Chelsea will lead optional writing exercises with prompts designed to help you generate new material. Over meals, we will also have group discussions about things like the publishing and business aspects of writing as a career. 

one-on-one MEETINGS

Each workshop participant will have the opportunity to have private meetings with Giancarlo and Chelsea to discuss their manuscripts in more detail, go over personalized reading lists, and think about next steps.