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Writers for the Wild

with David Gessner and Craig Childs

Reserve Your Spot

Zapata Ranch

May 7 - 12, 2023

Join writers David Gessner and Craig Childs for a week of hiking, natural history, generative writing about the natural world, and deep evening discussions about nature and where our warming world is heading. 

The Program

We will start each day with a generative writing exercise and discussion. Writers of all stripes are welcome, from beginners to published authors, but also scientists, environmentalists or anyone else concerned with the fate of our threatened world. The idea is to dig deep and begin to work on what is most important to you. This will be less a traditional workshop than a prod to thinking creatively about your own work and life. What do you want to do with yourself during your brief time on planet Earth?

"First be a good animal," said Ralph Waldo Emerson. Exactly, though for us it will be second. Having exercised our minds, it is time for our bodies. Daily activities will include mountain hikes, natural history walks, horseback riding, birdwatching, and, for the brave, Wim Hoff-style cold dips and breathing/mediation sessions. 

In the evening (cocktail hour) we will hold informal salon-style discussions about a wide-ranging series of issues from writing to climate change to the challenge of being a good animal in a virtual world to whatever the hell else we all feel like talking about. This can include readings from books that we love. A few brave folks may even be willing to read their own writing.

Then we will sleep well.

About David Gessner

David is the author of thirteen books that blend a love of nature, humor, memoir, and environmentalism, including the New York Times bestselling, All the Wild That Remains, Return of the Osprey, Sick of Nature and Leave It As It Is: A Journey Through Theodore Roosevelt’s American Wilderness.  

Gessner is a professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he is also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the literary magazine, Ecotone. His own magazine publications include pieces in the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Sierra, Audubon, Orion, and many other magazines, and his prizes include a Pushcart Prize and the John Burroughs Award for Best Nature Essay for his essay “Learning to Surf.” He has also won the Association for Study of Literature and the Environment’s award for best book of creative writing, and the Reed Award for Best Book on the Southern Environment. In 2017 he hosted the National Geographic Explorer show, "The Call of the Wild."   

He is married to the novelist Nina de Gramont, whose latest book is The Christie Affair. 

About Craig Childs

Craig writes about cultural history, science, climate, nature, and the visceral experience of living on Earth. With more than a dozen published books, his subjects range from water in deserts to pre-Columbian migrations across the Southwest. His narrative nonfiction and journalism have appeared in The Atlantic, Men’s Journal, The Sun, The New York Times, NPR, Radiolab, and he is a contributing editor at Adventure Journal. He’s won the Orion Book Award, the Colorado Book Award, the Galen Rowell Art of Adventure Award, and three times he has won the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award. Born in Arizona, Craig now lives in the high desert between the Utah border and Telluride, Colorado. 


$3250 includes lodging, meals, and all activities. Tax and gratuity not included.

Reserve your spot

Zapata Ranch

Set back in a shady cotton woodgrove beneath the majestic 14,000-foot peaks of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains lies the historic Zapata Ranch headquarters and lodge, which was established in the late 1800’s. Elk, mule deer, migratory birds, eagles, and black bear also call this area home. The rooms are beautifully furnished and have an elegant southwestern decor that gives them the feel of home. All rooms have individual tiled bathrooms and views that are private, peaceful, and beautiful in any season.

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