Both as a writer and as editor of EarthLines magazine, it has become clear to me that writing about nature, place and the environment, and about the complex heart of our relationship with the rest of the natural world – ‘nature writing’ and ‘ecoliterature’ are inadequate labels, and yet no other satisfactory term really exists – is also associated with its own very specific challenges, pitfalls and opportunities. And yet there are very few serious and intensive opportunities to learn or hone the craft in the context of a one-to-one personal mentoring relationship.
And so I am now offering an online/ distance learning course in writing about nature, place and the environment. It will be aimed at writers who want to develop and add new dimensions to their practice, as well as educators and activists who want to bring additional depth and skill to their writing. As well as honing the craft and practice of writing, the course will also explore the inspirations for it. In this sense the course is aimed at taking us beyond traditional ‘nature writing’ and into a deeper exploration of the complexities of our relationship with the natural world.
You can join the course at any time after 1 July 2013, as this is a one-to-one course. Please note that the course is primarily aimed at writers of nonfiction prose, not fiction or poetry; although either fiction or poetry can be accommodated as a part of the written product, and feedback can be provided, no specific theory of either fiction or ecopoetics will be taught.
The course will be offered on a one-to-one basis i.e. participants will work closely with me for a period of six months to develop their writing. It is very much focused on mentoring individual writers as well as on teaching about the wider context of ecoliterature. The course will take the form of six study modules in specific areas of ecoliterature; a choice of modules will be offered for the last month of the course, and as far as is feasible I’ll tailor the course assignments to participants’ needs.
[Please note that I am also offering a course for those who are more interested in focusing on a blend of myth, story, archetype: a 'narrative ecopsychology' which is very much more focused on an individual's journey through life. Please visit this page for more information.]
We will cover the following subject areas, among others:
- What is ‘nature writing’, and what it is for?
- Developing the tools for successful nature writing; understanding the specific requirements of different forms of writing, from brief blog articles through long essays to a full-length book; outlets for nature writing, and resources
- Ecopsychology: understanding the roots of our connection, and the loss of our wild selves
- Place and belonging
- Ecosocial, political and ethical foundations of ecoliterature: writing as activism
- Environmental communication: ways of influencing
- Gender, ethnicity, class, age: the ways in which they influence our relationship to the natural world and how we write about it
- Re-storying the land and the wild: myth, story and archetype
The fee for the course will be £450 which includes course materials and reading list; detailed feedback on monthly writing assignments which will be tailored to explore a range of writing forms, styles, techniques and strategies; ongoing tuition by email, with the option for a telephone or Skype tutorial at the end of the course, and a detailed report at the end of the course summarising your progress, along with recommendations for the future. Normally 50% of the fee is payable upfront, and 50% on completion of the first module. However, if your financial circumstances are such that paying in installments is the only way you can afford to complete the course, then as long as payments begin before the course starts we can think about monthly payment options.
If you’re interested please do email me – sharon[at]reenchantingtheearth[dot]com – as there’ll be a limited number of places.