College Storytelling

Writing, Filmmaking & Everything in Between

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17 assigned vacancy

A few things you should know before choosing this College

You’ll be joining people from all over the world in this College. In the last years we’ve had students from Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, France, Sweden, Israel, Nigeria and Russia, as well as Italy.

So the first thing you need when you enrol in Storytelling is a sound knowledge of English; this will be the language you use with your classmates and the language the lessons are given in. You will also write all your copy in English.

Other advantages include curiosity, a spirit of adventure and the ability to adapt – it’s not easy to move to the other side of the world to study for two years. We’ll help you of course, but you must be prepared to use your own resources too, to get by in situations such as renting accommodation and going shopping; these things may seem banal, but in a country like Italy where few people speak English (or speak it badly), it’s really not that simple.

Apart from this you don’t need to have any specific training or previous studies; you’ll be exploring lots of narrative pathways and forms of writing, and you might even discover a talent you never knew you had.

What you’ll be doing over the two years

You’ll work with international writers or Italian authors living abroad. You’ll get the sensation of being immersed in a vast landscape: you might have lessons with a Romanian writer one week, and the next you’ll be working with a story editor from the BBC or an American producer. You’ll follow a path with two main strands – narrative and cinema, but there will be many forays down side paths, especially during the first year: poetry, oral storytelling and body language, drama, documentary, essay writing, journalism, TV series and a focus on particular genres.

You’ll begin writing a lot from day one, even if at first you don’t know which direction you want to take. Don’t worry, it’s all part of the teaching strategy. During the second year some narrative areas will be dropped and others will be introduced – ab initio, or building on what you already know. This will be preparation for the Opening Doors project at the end of the two years. Practice will overtake theory, and in addition to working on your copy you’ll also learn how to analyse what your classmates write in order to sharpen your critical sensitivity and editing skills. There will be cinema and documentary workshops, for which the class will form a crew, a newsroom or a screenplay writing room, depending on the particular project you’re working on and helping each other with.

The teacher and the College coordinator will follow your stories very closely, even during the months when you’re not at Holden.

Each year is divided into three terms – from October to December you’ll be in Turin, from January to March you’ll do your classes online, and then we’ll meet up again in April through to June.

What you’ll be able to do by the time you leave

You’ll have an extremely varied final portfolio; it could contain a script for a short film, short stories, the start of a novel or the concept for a TV series, and you’ll have made at least one short fiction film or documentary on which you worked as a screenwriter, director or producer.

  • You’ll know how to edit a literary text;
  • You’ll have learned to write screenplays for films and TV, or theatrical dramas;
  • You’ll be able to work as a script editor for the cinema or the theatre, a copywriter, a content curator or web content editor;
  • You’ll have shot short films or documentaries;
  • for any project you start, you’ll know how to take it forward, and having worked with international professionals you’ll have a wide sphere of reference through the contacts you’ve cultivated over your two years here at the school.

Master 2018-2020

Stephen Amidon


Who is he?

Stephen Amidon was born in Chicago in 1959 and is a writer. Some describe him as John Cheever’s spiritual heir, and his name is often mentioned in the same breath as Tom Wolfe, Don DeLillo and John Updike. No need to panic or get stage fright though: he’s very nice and easy-going.


How did he get started?

After moving to London in 1987, he wrote reviews for The Literary Review. His fiction debut came in 1990, when the story Echolocation was included in the anthology Soho Square II, published by Bloomsbury (the very same publishing house that agreed to put out Harry Potter after it had been rejected by many others).


What has he written?

A lot of things: cultural articles, essays, stories and novels, including Human Capital, chosen by the Washington Post as one of the five best books of 2004. Paolo Virzì’s film adaptation won the David di Donatello 2014 and the Globi d’Oro award for best film and was chosen to represent Italy at the Oscars in 2015.


What else has he done?

Along with a group of Holden graduates, he created and wrote 6Bianca, a theatre series in six episodes produced by Holden and Turin’s Teatro Stabile.


His most recent project?

Writing the screenplay for The Leisure Seeker, featuring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland, in conjunction with Francesco Piccolo, Francesca Archibugi and Paolo Virzì. Helen Mirren was nominated for a Best Actress Award at the Golden Globes for her performance. Amidon’s latest novel, meanwhile, is The Real Justine, published in Italy by Mondadori in 2016.


On the subject of this novel, what is “the truth”?

The truth, according to Stephen, is that it is not easy to be young today. For this reason, he tends to behave like a teacher with young people, even when writing. His aim is to be a guide that helps them to understand the world and a compass that leads them to the truth.


Stephen collects Boston – Turin return tickets. What does he think of our city?

He really loves Turin; he says that it lets an American like him become invisible. What’s more, he lived in Venice for a semester at the age of 19, and thanks to the film Human Capital, he now knows Brianza like the back of his hand.


Where can I find out more about him?

This is his Facebook page, and here’s his website.

The Master in 2017-2019 program is Adam Gollner, a Canadian writer and journalist. He often writes about travel, food, and culture. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, The New Yorker Page-Turner, The New York Times, Smithsonian, and Lucky Peach. He is the former editor of Vice Magazine, and he still produces and hosts documentaries for Vice to this day. Some of the recent topics he’s pursued include a report on the ethics of seal meat, and Shroom Boom, a documentary set in the remote wilderness of Canada’s Northwest Territories about people who have dropped everything to try and strike it rich harvesting the mysterious morel mushroom – an ingredient coveted by high-end restaurants and top chefs around the world. Watch it hereAnd here’s his website.

Here’s a list of people who dropped by College Storytelling during the last school years: Alec Ash, Ferzan Ozpetek, Leila Guerriero, Andrew Speller, Dylan Stone, Suzy Gillett, Luke Schiller, Charles D’Ambrosio, Ben Lerner, Jonathan Lethem, Han Kang, Erica Jong, David GrossmanJeffery Deaver, Merritt Tierce, Naomi Alderman, Chris Bachelder, Harry Parker, Don DeLillo, Tom Drury, Vincent Raynaud, Akhil Sharma, Donald Antrim, Don Winslow, Philipp Meyer, Andrew Wylie, Emmanuel Carrère, Sam Lipsyte, Irvine Welsh.