Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers' Conference
The Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference is an annual, week-long writers’ conference, based on the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference model, that’s designed to hone the skills of people interested in producing literary writing about the environment and the natural world. The conference is co-sponsored by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Orion magazine, and Middlebury College’s Environmental Studies Program.
2014 DATES AND LOCATION
Monday, June 9 – Sunday, June 15, 2014. The conference will take place at the Bread Loaf Campus of Middlebury College in Ripton, Vermont.
The conference will incorporate the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference model of small, focused workshops coupled with specialized classes focusing on the craft of writing. Workshops will be limited to ten participants so that each manuscript will receive individual, focused attention and critique. Established editors, literary agents, and publishers will attend the conference and give presentations on placing work in magazines and navigating the environmental book publishing world.
This week-long conference of workshops, classes, lectures, readings, and discussions is for writers who want to improve their writing about the environment; for writers who seek to become better advocates for the environment through their writing; for poets who are drawn to writing about the natural world; for teachers and scholars who wish to write for a more general readership; and for environmental professionals who want to bring better writing skills to bear on their work. For those who are interested in learning more about environmental and nature writing but who do not wish to workshop their writing, there is also an auditing option available.
2014 FACULTY AND GUESTS
Acclaimed nature and environmental writers Rick Bass, Jane Brox, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Camille Dungy, Maurice Manning, and Alan Weisman will constitute the faculty in this inaugural year of the conference. Conference faculty include two finalists for the National Book Critic Circle’s Award, one finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, an American Book Award winner, and the winner of the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Their articles and poems have appeared in the foremost environmental, literary, and general publications, including The Atlantic Monthly, Mother Jones, Audubon, Norton Book of Nature Writing, Best American Essays, The New Yorker, Orion, Shenandoah, Poetry, and American Poetry Review.
In addition to their literary accomplishments, each faculty member has been specifically chosen for their skill at guiding developing writers.
CONFERENCE SETTING AND ACCOMMODATIONS
The conference will take place at the Bread Loaf campus of Middlebury College, nestled in the Green Mountains and under the shadow of Bread Loaf Mountain. Writers will be inspired by the breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains, the hundreds of miles of trails surrounding the campus, the imposing original Bread Loaf Inn, and the stillness of the surrounding forest. The influence of Robert Frost and his love of nature is still felt at Bread Loaf, in part because Middlebury College owns and maintains the Robert Frost Farm as a national historic site near the Bread Loaf campus. Participants will be housed in historic buildings on the Bread Loaf campus, which provide simple but comfortable lodging. Meals are catered by Middlebury College Dining Services, which incorporates locally-sourced food from over fifty Vermont companies into its menus and is ranked in the top 20 college dining services by Princeton Review. The Bread Loaf campus has Wi-Fi access available in virtually all common rooms and most private rooms. The campus has a fully equipped computer lab with printers and the cozy Davidson Memorial Library, a reference and literature library. Please note that cell phones generally do not work at the Bread Loaf campus.
Conference participants desiring to stay off-campus must do so at their own expense. A list of hotels and other accommodations can be found at the Addison County Chamber of Commerce site.
The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference is the oldest writers' conference in America. Since 1926 it has convened in mid-August at the Bread Loaf campus of Middlebury College. Envisioned by Robert Frost, the Conference has featured eminent writers such as Willa Cather, Toni Morrison, Wallace Stegner, Eudora Welty, John Irving, Natasha Trethewey, Terry Tempest Williams, Barry Lopez, Julia Alvarez, William Kittredge, Scott Russell Sanders, and Luis Alberto Urrea. The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference has a long legacy of commitment to the environment, dating back to early naturalist Joseph Battell who created the original Bread Loaf site as a mountain retreat in 1866.
Founded in 1982, Orion is the foremost magazine for the publication of the highest quality creative nonfiction, fiction, narrative journalism, and poetry dedicated to nature and the environment. Through writing and art that explore the connection between nature and culture, Orion inspires new thinking about how humanity might live on Earth justly, sustainably, and joyously. Orion was a finalist for the National Magazine Award in 2010 and 2013. From 2005-2013, Orion co-sponsored the week-long Wildbranch Writing Workshop, dedicated to writing about nature and the environment and this new conference builds on the successful tradition established by Wildbranch.
Dating from 1965, the Middlebury College Environmental Studies Program is the oldest undergraduate environmental studies program in the United States and one of the College's largest majors. The Environmental Studies Program brings together a community of scholars and students engaged in the study of the human relationship to the environment. Students choose from foci across the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Ten core faculty members and forty affiliated faculty colleagues from 24 departments on campus together offer an interdisciplinary major and minor in which students learn to observe, explore, listen, analyze, question, discuss, and pursue answers through creative work, research, and problem-solving.
APPLICATION AND ACCEPTANCE
Applications to the Conference will be accepted between November 2013 and April 1st, 2014. Acceptance is based on the strength and promise of the writing sample and the degree to which the applicant and his or her work will benefit from the conference.
Acceptances will be made on a rolling basis and applicants will be notified whether they have been admitted approximately four to six weeks after they apply. With rolling admissions, those who apply early increase their chances of acceptance; therefore, we encourage you to apply early.
Applicants will submit a manuscript of current work: up to 4,000 words of fiction or nonfiction, or up to 8 pages of poetry. Applicants should send their strongest unpublished work.
• The applicant's name and a page number must appear on each sheet of the manuscript. (For example: Smith, p.1.)
• Prose manuscripts must be double-spaced with 12 pt. font and margins of at least 1.25". The total word count should be noted at the top of the first page. Applicants may include one or more stories as long as the overall total number of pages is within the 4,000-word limit. Please include a short note to let readers know if the piece is a short story, an excerpt from a novel or non-fiction. Manuscripts excerpted from a longer project should include a one-page synopsis placed at the back of the piece.
• Poetry manuscripts should have 12 pt. font and can be either single- or double-spaced. A poem can exceed one page, as long as the complete manuscript submission is within the ten-page limit. Please do not squeeze more than one poem to a page.
• Please do not send children's or young adult literature, co-authored work, or self-help literature.
[The April 1 application deadline for the 2014 session has passed, and the online application is no longer available.]
General contributor--$1,995 (tuition, $1,400; room and board, $595)
Auditor--$1,695 (auditors attend the conference without a manuscript; tuition $1,100; room and board, $595)
There is a $15.00 application fee. A $200.00 deposit to hold your spot within the conference is due within two weeks of notification of acceptance. Click here to read the cancellation policy and refund schedule for the Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference for 2014.
The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference is making available a limited number of $300.00 grants-in-aid to participants accepted into the Environmental Writers’ Conference. In addition, there will be at least one full scholarship offered. The intent of the grants and scholarship is not only to support promising emerging writers but to broaden the community of nature and environmental writers to ensure that nature and environmental writing as a genre represents the relationship between people and nature regardless of race, ethnicity, geography, or socioeconomic standing.
To apply for this financial aid, fill out the conference application first and then complete the short grant/scholarship application. The two applications must be submitted at the same time (one just after the other). Unfortunately, it will not be possible to consider a grant/scholarship application submitted at a later time.
MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE STUDENT APPLICATIONS AND SCHOLARSHIPS
Middlebury College student scholarship applications are accepted online and must be submitted by March 1, 2014. These scholarships are available for current students of Middlebury College. The scholarships are awarded based on the quality of work submitted. Middlebury College student scholarships cover tuition, room, and board at the Conference ($1,995).
For this particular scholarship, we also require a completed recommendation form. You will need to ask a Middlebury College creative writing or environmental studies instructor to complete the form and send it in. (The instructor can fill in the form or simply answer the questions in the body of an email--more details are noted on the form.)
Notification letters for Middlebury College student applicants will be sent via e-mail in early April 2014.
Michael Collier, Director, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference [click for bio]
H. Emerson Blake, Editor-in-Chief, Orion [click for bio]
Nan Jenks-Jay, Dean of Environmental Affairs & Senior Lecturer, Environmental Studies, Middlebury College [click for bio]
Dan Brayton, Environmental Studies Liaison [click for bio]
TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION
The Bread Loaf campus is a 20-minute drive from Middlebury in the Green Mountains. The GPS location found in most Internet map tools is 4229 Route 125, Ripton, Vermont 05766
The nearest airport is located in Burlington, VT (BVT), about an hour and twenty minutes from the Bread Loaf Campus.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Please email the Bread Loaf Orion Conference Assistant at: