Nature Writing: Grounding Yourself in Place

* Ask about available bursaries if you are a climate activist, advocate for environmental justice, work in nature conservation, or are a regenerative farmer. Email kathryn@kathrynaalto.com for a discount code before enrolling.

You are a passionate hiker, walker, gardener, adventurer, traveller. You have a collection of nature writing books and have wondered, I’d love to try my hand at nature writing. But you don’t know where to begin or how a live, on-line nature writing class works.

In Nature Writing: Grounding Yourself in Place, you will be joined by aspiring writers from around the world. Together we will read, write, and talk about classic to contemporary nature writing with a focus on the personal essay. Our reading inspiration includes two essay collections, one book, and one poetry collection.

  • The Land of Little Rain by Mary Austin
  • Trophic Cascade by Camille Dungy
  • Findings by Kathleen Jamie
  • The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane

“Kathryn’s workshops are absolute troves of clear, thoughtfully presented material. She seamlessly blends engaging and foundational readings, compelling lecture, and meaningful workshopping. What I was most blown away by, though, was her fierce dedication to each participant’s journey – meeting each one of us where we were and guiding us further along in our writing path. From handwritten feedback to answering questions after hours, Katy really went above and beyond to ensure our growth and success.” – Kimberly, Atlanta, Georgia

Perhaps you would like to capture a mountain ascent, a mystical journey downstream, tiny stories in your garden. Perhaps you want to hone your voice to write about loss of biodiversity. Whatever your background and whatever your aims, this nature writing course provides the tools and time, space and support, to write about the natural world.

Our eight sessions flow between topical lectures, discussions of readings, and writing workshops, which provide supportive opportunities to hear how your work lands on others. Lectures provide historical context of nature writing, explore a range of contemporary topics, and teach particular writing skills. Discussions are based on assigned readings. Workshops are invaluable opportunities to give and receive critiques on writing. Classes are interspersed with reflective writing exercises to help you pre-write and dive deep into questions. You will learn ways to develop ideas through mind-mapping, journaling, and outlining. Kathryn supplements sessions by occasionally reading from her own work and discussing the approaches and techniques she uses.  You will leave the course understanding a range of approaches to integrate into your narrative nonfiction: scene creation, narrative arc, descriptive writing, and telescoping from the personal to the universal. Capturing the interplay between your inner and outer landscapes will also be vital.

Classes meet every two weeks. Our class atmosphere is positive, engaging, and inclusive with respectful. We work together to bring out our best writing and help each other to grow. Whether your aim is publication or personal journal, your writing journey is respected and supported. We read a wide selection of poetry, essays, and books.

LEARNING AIMS

  • Learn to identify and practice techniques of narrative nonfiction for nature writing
  • Read and discuss classic to contemporary nature writing
  • Discover and express your own writing voice and subject matter
  • Develop a portfolio of your own essays over four months
  • Benefit from the practices, insights, and experiences of a professional writer
  • Enjoy detailed feedback on writing, a supportive network, and small group workshops
  • Learn how to write query letters to submit your work

TUITION & TIME

  • £495
  • 2-4:30 PM GMT every other Saturday
  • Dates: Mar 26, Apr 9/23, May 7/21, June 11/18/25
  • Eight 2.5 hour sessions, individual feedback on all writing
  • Limited to 14 people

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

My teaching philosophy is focused on encouraging a uniquely personal exploration of narrative nonfiction. At its core, I believe teaching is about responding to each student, whether they are emerging writers or writing beyond the level of content mastery. I create a supportive learning environment that fosters creative expression, critical thinking, and individual artistic growth.

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

I am a passionate practitioner and teacher of narrative nonfiction.  For more than twenty-five years, I have taught writing and literature courses at colleges and universities including Western Washington University, Everett Community College, and Plymouth University. I have a global mentoring practice, thriving online writing courses, and lead in-person retreats, courses, and workshops throughout the United States and Britain.

LINKS TO EXPLORE