The 10th 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.

Directed by Megan Mayhew Bergman, the conference is cosponsored by the Middlebury College Environmental Studies Program and the Franklin Environmental Center.


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 2023 Session

This year’s conference will take place at the Bread Loaf Campus of Middlebury College in Ripton, Vermont from Friday, June 2 to Thursday, June 8, 2023. Find out more about dates and fees.

Our faculty are acclaimed nature and environmental writers including poets Jennifer Chang and Joseph O. Legaspi; fiction writers Ramona Ausubel and Ladee Hubbard; and nonfiction writers Carolyn Finney, Pam Houston, J. Drew Lanham, and Nathaniel Rich. 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 $2,655 awards will be given. Find out more about financial aid.

Though it’s possible for a former financial aid winner to apply again in a subsequent year, please note that the admissions board gives preference to first-time financial aid applicants.


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:

  • “The community we built in the workshop was fantastic. We were able to dig in deeply in terms of content, and our workshop leader did a masterful job of helping us consider structure and craft. The lectures were a great blend of ethical considerations, craft issues, and helped tease out exactly what it means to be an environmental writer.”

    Chelsey Hillyer
    Jefferson City, MO

  • “I’m leaving Bread Loaf with a renewed sense of purpose in my creative project and a better understanding of how my work is situated within the broader view of environmental writing. Thanks to everyone there—peers, workshop leaders, and administrators—for the enriching experience. I absorbed so much during my time on the mountain.” 

    Sarah Wolfson
    Montreal, QC

  • “I was deeply inspired by the community connections. And I enjoyed the shared campus that included the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference and Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference together. I loved the intersection of place-based writing and translation.”

    Polly Kertis
    Litchfield, CT

  • “This was the best workshop I’ve ever been part of! Our workshop leader was such an inclusive, smart, compassionate facilitator - and the others in my group were incredible. Care and attention were truly given to each participant’s work. I’ve never felt so inspired to continue writing. Thank you for this beautiful, powerful, experience. I will never forget it!”

    Candace Nadon
    Durango, CO