Level 1: Narrative Nature Writing (Starts May 5)

ABOUT

Are you passionate about the outdoors? Would you like to channel your love for nature into expressive prose? Does the beauty and complexity of the natural world capture your imagination?

If you have also wanted to advocate for environmental conservation through the written word, this signature course with New York Times bestselling author Kathryn Aalto provides beginning writers with clear and inspiring instruction to transform thoughts, feelings, and experiences into compelling prose.

You will become a more confident nature writer who can identify and implement the eight pillars of great narrative nonfiction to elevate your own storytelling skills in ways that can change the world.

This is a live online course with nature enthusiasts from around the world.

 

DATES

  • 4:00 to 6:30 PM BST
  • Every other Sunday
  • May 5/19, June 2/16, July 7/21 and 14/28
  • Live via Zoom

TUITION

DESCRIPTION

This Narrative Nature Writing course provides a strong foundation in the art of narrative nonfiction. Transform the way you reach audiences by learning engaging storytelling skills like narrative presence, narrative arc, character development, dialogue/monologue, setting, language, voice, and telescoping from the personal to the universal.

Kathryn’s carefully curated curriculum includes lectures, discussions, writing workshops, in-class exercises, and at-home assignments. Through reading, writing, and discussing, you will learn to how to create scenes and then build up to essays, culminating in a portfolio of your own nature writing that reflects your unique voice.

Each class follows a lecture, discussion, and workshop format with reflective writing exercises sprinkled throughout the 2.5 hour courses. Though classes are structured, Kathryn takes cues from students about their needs and intuitively shortens or lengthens the structure of the course based on the needs of students. There is a 10-minute tea break mid-way through each class.

Kathryn’s students have won numerous awards including the £10,000 Nature Chronicles Prize and the Bradt New Travel Writer of the Year. They have been short-listed for literary awards including the Fish Memoir Prize. Her students have been published by university presses, book trusts, popular magazines, and literary journals.

Recognising that publication need not be the sole aim, Kathryn equally centers the act of writing as an expression of well-being: writing invites us to lead more reflective lives and be ‘in conversation’ with our minds, bodies, and spirits. Cultivating the artist alongside the art, students keep reflective journals to chronicle their creative intentions and cultivate optimal mindsets.

 

ITINERARY

Writing can often be a solitary pursuit, but all of Kathryn’s writing courses are characterised by a warm fellowship and positive accountability that keep you comfortably supported and focused on your writing goals. Each session you gather with your classmates, learning from and teaching each other while gaining a new set of friends who share your writing aspirations and growth mindset.

Kathryn’s teaching philosophy is focused on encouraging a uniquely personal exploration of writing. At its core, she believes teaching is about responding to each student, whether they are an emerging writer or writing beyond the level of content mastery. She cultivates a mindful and supportive learning environment that fosters personal expression, critical thinking, and artistic growth in the literary arts. Strongly influenced by the Harkness method founded at the Phillips Exeter Academy where her three children were educated, Kathryn provides a democratic learning space that emphasizes the art of conversation and active listening. 

Kathryn is a passionate practitioner and teacher of narrative nonfiction.  For more than twenty-five years, she has taught writing and literature courses at colleges and universities including Western Washington University, Everett Community College, and Plymouth University, and has given guest lectures at Cambridge University, Vanderbilt University, Cornell University, and more. She has a global mentoring practice, guides students in a vibrant online writing school, and leads in-person retreats, courses, and workshops in the United States and United Kingdom.

She is a judge for The Nature Chronicles Prize, an international bi-annual award for nature writing in the English language. She is represented by Peter McGuigan at Ultra Literary in New York City. As a public speaker, she has given hundreds of talks at distinguished speakers’ series and is represented by Chartwell Speakers in New York City.

TEACHERS & SPEAKERS

TESTIMONIALS

“Kathryn teaches with a deep care about the individual student and is very clever about bringing out their voices and passions. She also has an unparalleled knowledge of nature and landscape writing that gives a real gravitas and authority on the subject, a knowledge that she wears lightly without intimidating students, which is a huge strength.” — James Rebanks, author of The Shepherd’s Life and English Pastoral 

“I learnt so much from taking Kathryn’s Memoir and Life Writing course. Although I had published a lot of academic work, I was struggling making the transition to writing in a more personal vein and lacking in confidence. I found in Kathryn a superbly knowledgeable and lucid teacher. Through the lectures and class discussion, I learnt how to implement narrative nonfiction techniques and, in just a few weeks, saw my writing become much more engaging and evocative. I also benefited from being part of a supportive and friendly learning community, and building relationships that I expect to last far beyond the duration of the course. Finally, I really appreciated Kathryn’s warmth and positivity, both in the virtual classroom and in her individual feedback. She was an attentive and sympathetic reader of my work, giving clear guidance for improvement while simultaneously building my confidence. The course enabled me to see new possibilities in my writing and I am keen to work with Kathryn again as I continue to develop.” — David, Leeds, England

“After six months of working with Kathryn–which is a bit like entering the space of a handwritten letter, what with her sharp aesthetic sense, far-ranging intelligence, wit, and curiosity–I’ve made tangible progress on an unwieldy, long-form project I was struggling to articulate. I came to her Memoir and Life Writing class for accountability, and came away having experienced the kind of support, writing insight, and real feeling of friendship that can be difficult to find in a workshop environment. Kathryn fostered a warm, charming atmosphere in class (a real feat online), allowing for life-long connections to develop among our group of writers. She cares about the arc of her student’s writing lives–a form of attention that encourages artistic growth and positive risk-taking. She not only brought her years of writing and publishing experience to class and to our bi-monthly writing assignments (her personal feedback, often handwritten, is invaluable), she also brought her unique perspective. Writer-gardener-historians are, I think, particularly adept at imagining the possibilities for a piece, no matter your subject. Kathryn pushed me to dig deeper, moving my writing in new directions. No matter where one is in their writing life, working with Kathryn will be an experience of profound joy, insight, and artistic deepening.“ — Veronica, Portland, Oregon