Mountain and Wilderness Writing

Program dates: October 30, 2015 - November 20, 2015

Application deadline: Extended to August 12, 2015

Off-site manuscript development: September 9, 2015 - October 22, 2015

Program Information

Faculty: Marni Jackson - , Tony Whittome - ,
Guest Faculty: Lori Lansens - ,

“Surrounded by a group of five other highly motivated writers and a couple of extremely helpful editors, I had a breakthrough and suddenly understood what the book’s deeper purpose had to be. I remember one evening in particular, madly jotting down scenes and turning points on a stack of index cards that, by the end of the night, were scattered all over my room and bed. It was one of those magical times when the entire project was in my head and the writing couldn’t keep up with the thoughts.”
—Karsten Heuer, program participant

About Mountain and Wilderness Writing

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

What does the program offer?

This three-week residential program is open to mountain narratives, wilderness adventures and environmental writing, with an emphasis on literary quality. All genres— fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essay, history, biography or memoir – are eligible, and the course is limited to six writers, who develop their projects with the help of two faculty editors.  Biweekly workshop sessions provide further feedback, while writers enjoy the beauty, peace and inspiration of the spectacular Banff National Park setting.

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.

This program has welcomed participants from all over the world. Authors who have taken part in the MWW 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. For more specifics, see the eligibility section.

Arrival and Departure Dates

Participants should plan to arrive in Banff on Thursday, October 29, 2015, and depart on Saturday, November 21, 2015. The program runs from Friday, October 30, 2015 to Friday, November 20, 2015.

Supported By

Kootenay Mountain Culture, Coast Mountain Culture

Want to extend your stay?

Self-directed Writing Residencies run year-round and provide the time and space for focused work. Extend your stay before or after this program by applying for a Self-directed Residency.


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All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee subject to applicable taxes. Non-refundable fees and deposits will be retained upon cancellation. Any other fees are refunded at the discretion of The Banff Centre.