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EGL 82 W — Writing the Wild: Nature and Outdoor Writing

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Online course (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 25—Dec 8
Drop Deadline: Sep 28
Units: 3
Tuition: $880
Instructor(s): Brendan Jones
Limit: 17
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 20. Update: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 9/28 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 10/3 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Fall
Date(s)
Sep 25—Dec 8
10 weeks
Drop By
Sep 28
3 Units
Fees
$880
Instructor(s):
Brendan Jones
Limit
17
Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 20. Update: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 9/28 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 10/3 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Nature and the natural world have inspired much of the most insightful writing about American life, from Henry David Thoreau to Cheryl Strayed. Our finest voices have gone to find themselves in the natural world, or sought refuge there, or grappled for clarity about the messy life they separated themselves from.

This course is for writers interested in the reflective and explorative possibilities of the natural world. A great essay can find as much meaning from an hour in the garden as from a hike up K2. Through readings by John Muir, Edward Abbey, Cheryl Strayed, Cormac McCarthy, Terry Tempest Williams, and Wallace Stegner, we will consider fundamental questions of writing about nature: What is the connection between our “normal” life and our life in the outdoors? Is nature sacred? We will examine the role writing about nature plays in engaging environmental, social, and political issues, and then turn to our own work, learning techniques to connect a reader’s senses to the world of the wild. Then, we will workshop a longer piece with the goal of creating a deeply layered, original piece of polished prose, informed by the tradition of writing about nature. Finally, we will survey publications interested in conservation, adventure travel, and essays on the natural world.

Brendan Jones, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Brendan Jones’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Smithsonian, Ploughshares, Narrative, Popular Woodworking, The Huffington Post, and Saveur, and on NPR. He has received grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation and the MacDowell Colony. His first novel, The Alaskan Laundry, was published in 2016. He received an MA from Oxford.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Robert Finch and John Elder, The Norton Book of Nature Writing (ISBN 978-0393978162)
(Required) Robert Macfarlane, The Wild Places (ISBN 978-0143113935)
(Required) Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (ISBN 978-0307592736)
(Required) Nancy Lord, Fishcamp Life on an Alaskan Shore (ISBN 978-1582430706)
(Required) Pam Houston, A Little More About Me (ISBN 978-0393343465)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)