The 8th annual Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference is a week-long session designed to hone the skills of people interested in producing literary writing about the environment and the natural world. 

The conference is cosponsored by the Middlebury College Environmental Studies Program and the Franklin Environmental Center.

Overview

The conference, based on the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference model, incorporates small, focused workshops coupled with specialized classes centered on the craft of writing. Workshops are limited to ten participants so that each manuscript receives individual attention and critique. All participants also meet individually with their workshop leader to amplify and refine what is said in the workshop itself. The manuscript packet of student writing is available to each workshop group in the weeks leading up to the session in order to allow time to read and prepare.

Established editors, literary agents, and publishers give presentations on placing work in magazines and navigating the environmental book publishing world and also meet with participants individually and in small groups.

Participants include writers of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction whose work engages with or advocates for nature and the environment as well as environmental professionals, journalists, and teachers, who would like to explore and strengthen their writing in a literary context. For those who would like to learn more about environmental and nature writing who do not wish to receive feedback on their own work, an auditor option is available.

The 2021 Session

This year’s conference will take place at the Bread Loaf Campus of Middlebury College in Ripton, Vermont from Thursday, June 3 to Wednesday, June 9. Find out more about dates and fees.

Our faculty are acclaimed nature and environmental writers including poets Dan Chiasson and Amber Flora Thomas; fiction writers Jennine Capó Crucet and Claire Vaye Watkins; and nonfiction writers Kazim Ali, Ted Genoways, J. Drew Lanham, and Emily Raboteau. In addition to their literary accomplishments, each faculty member has been specifically chosen for their skill at guiding developing writers. Find out more about faculty and guests.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is limited, but thanks to support from the Katharine Bakeless Nason Endowment, the Michael Collier Endowment, and Middlebury College, several $500, $750 $1,000, and $2,515 awards will be given. Find out more about financial aid.

Apply

Applicants choose to apply as a contributor with a manuscript to a Fiction, Poetry, or Nonfiction Workshop. Applicants can also choose to apply as auditors. See Application and Acceptance Information.

What Past Participants Say:

  • “My practice of writing has evolved from a sideline hobby to a primary activity in my life because of conversations, feedback and inspiration at Bread Loaf. I better understand how to build the infrastructure of my work.”
    Christie Green
    Santa Fe, New Mexico

  • “John Elder was an excellent workshop leader, providing a format for critiquing each other’s work productively with a particular emphasis on dealing with structural issues in our pieces.”  
    Anna Blair
    United Kingdom

  • “As both a creative writer and literature scholar, I so much appreciated how there was a theoretical element to this conference, and the lectures were among my very most favorite parts of the entire experience.”
    Lucien Darjeun Meadows
    Fort Collins, CO

  • “Ross Gay set the tone for a both rigorous and delightful workshop experience for everyone. I was very impressed by the quality of the work submitted for consideration, as well as the level of comments and discussions.”
    Sarah Audsley
    Franconia, NH