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Mountain and Wilderness Writing

Mountain and Wilderness Writing

Six writers develop their projects with the help of two faculty editors

From climbing Himalayan peaks to scaling the big walls of Yosemite, participants have canoed across Canada, surfed down the coast of the Baja, cycled the Silk Road, almost perished on Mt. McKinley, and kayaked around Greenland. Their stories share themes of both isolation and comradeship, close encounters with death, and the joy of experiencing rare, remote and often threatened landscapes. In many projects the focus is as much on the transformative inner journey as it is on the physical accomplishment involved.

Since the program began in 2005, participating writers have won several international book awards, notably the Grand Prize at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, the Boardman Tasker Prize in the UK and the Kekoo Naoroji Award in India.

What Does the Program Offer?

Six writers develop their projects with the help of two faculty editors: Marni Jackson, the award-winning journalist, author and editor and Tony Whittome, for many years an Editorial Director of Random House UK. The program provides writers with space in The Banff Centre’s Leighton Artists’ Colony studios, set in a wooded setting adjacent to the campus.  Twice weekly workshop sessions provide useful discussion and encouragement, while writers enjoy the beauty, peace and inspiration of the spectacular Banff National Park setting. Plus, you’ll have access to the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, the premier event for mountain and wilderness writers and enthusiasts!

Who Should Apply?

Mountain and Wilderness Writing is designed for emerging and established writers seeking a period of dedicated time to work on a project, in any genre, that explores mountain narratives, wilderness adventures and environmental writing. All genres— fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essay, history, biography or memoir – are encouraged to apply.

This program has welcomed participants from all over the world. Authors who have taken part in the Mountain and Wilderness Writing program have included award-winning UK climber Andy Kirkpatrick, Himalayan climber and author Freddie Wilkinson, Alpinist editor and writer Katie Ives, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Jon Turk, Piolet d’Or winner Steve Swenson, British poet Helen Mort, author, guide and adventurer Maria Coffey, multiple book-award winner Bernadette McDonald and Canadian climbing icon Barry Blanchard.

Program Dates: October 28 – November 18, 2016
Application Deadline: June 29, 2016

For more information or to apply online visit