This week, a writerly round-up related to geography, working spaces, and literary retreats, with an emphasis on the idyllic.

We begin in Sirenland, an exclusive annual writers’ retreat founded by American author Dani Shapiro and conducted in the absurdly photogenic seaside village of Positano, Italy.  From a profile by Maria Shollenbarger in The Financial Times:

Dani Shapiro is the author of two remarkable memoirs, Slow Motion and Devotion.

Slow Motion is the story of a twenty-three year old woman’s late awakening to adult responsibilities. When her parents have a terrible car wreck in New Jersey, Shapiro is at a health spa in southern California, a jaunt paid for by her lover, a married man twice her age. Shapiro emerges from her alcohol and drug addled life to discover that the blessing is next to the wound.

Devotion is a “spiritual detective story,” a personal exploration  of varieties of seeking and different kinds of devotion — among them, motherhood and daughterhood. With its appropriation of wisdom gleaned from spiritual resources as diverse as Shapiro’s Orthodox Jewish upbringing to yoga shalas and Buddhist meditation retreats, Devotion tracks the dialectical movements from fear to human faith. For her readers, Dani Shapiro’s spiritual journey home is uniquely hers and yet somehow universal in the way it opens a space to let our own lives speak.