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Mountain and Wilderness Writing

Literary Arts
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Program Information

Writers sitting in a studio with open books.

Overview

Mountain and Wilderness Writing (MWW) is a three-week residency for nine writers working in any genre (fiction, nonfiction, journalism, or poetry), on mountain narratives, environmental journalism, stories of wilderness adventure, or projects with an environmental theme. 

The interior journey of exploration and the psychology of extreme endeavours are as much a focus as the physical accomplishments involved, and there is a strong emphasis on literary quality. 

Writers will enjoy dedicated, uninterrupted writing time in a spectacular mountain setting, and the communality of a small group of peers from around the world under the guidance of three experienced editors.  

This program overlaps with the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival, and guest artists of the MWW program (visiting authors, editors, or agents) offer further enrichment and inspiration. Many projects developed in the MWW program have gone on to publication, and several books by alumni have won international awards. 

What does the program offer?

Participants will work in the peace and isolation of Banff Centre’s Leighton Artists Studios and consult on an individual basis with three faculty editors: Marni Jackson, an award-winning journalist, author, and editor; Harley Rustad, an editor at The Walrus magazine and fellow of the Royal Geographical Society; and Tony Whittome, for many years an Editorial Director of Random House U.K.

Prior to the start of the residency, writers will submit 5,000 to 10,000 words from their projects. Intensive editing, both conceptual and detailed, of these or other passages forms the foundation of the program, although longer texts can be discussed.

During the program, participants will take part in twice-weekly, two-hour workshops under the guidance of the editors, where participants will critique and support each other’s work with detailed attention to texts of 20 pages or less per workshop.

Writers will also have access to the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival, which attracts accomplished filmmakers and authors from around the world. 

Who should apply?

Writers in all genres — fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essay, history, biography, and memoir — are encouraged to apply. We welcome all writers (emerging and established), from all backgrounds, as well as gender identities and expressions.

Faculty

What's Included

Single RoomRead MoreClose

Your program fee includes a single bedroom on the Banff Centre campus for the duration of your program.

Get connected with other artists on campus and focus on your projects in a creative environment while we take care of the day-to-day essentials.

Regular Meal PlanRead MoreClose

Using a credit-based system to dine on campus, our flexible meal plans allow you to select meals according to your own needs during your stay.

The Regular Flex meal plan includes $30 credit per day, equivalent to lunch and dinner in Vistas Dining Room.

Leighton Artists StudiosRead MoreClose

Write in the privacy of one of our specialized Leighton Artists Studios.

Showcase Your WorkRead MoreClose

This program offers opportunities to showcase your work-in-progress in [one of our performance venues / an open studios event in Glyde Hall].

Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book FestivalRead MoreClose

Participants have free access to the book-related festival events, which include readings, lectures, panel discussions, and book launches. Celebrating the world’s best mountain, environmental, and adventure stories, the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival offers inspiration and a chance to network with other writers, editors, publishers, and festival guests.

Plus, enjoy special artist rates for other ticketed performances or complimentary access to events happening on campus during the program.

Gym MembershipRead MoreClose

Your program fee includes free access to the swimming pool, climbing gym, and fitness suite as well as discounted rates for classes at the Sally Borden Fitness and Recreation Centre.

Paul D. Fleck Library and ArchivesRead MoreClose

Access a wide range of publications, books, music, and films in the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives, open six days a week.

Participant ResourcesRead MoreClose

Enrich your experience and get to know other artists on campus by taking advantage of the activities and support provided by our Participant Resources team.

Fees & Financial Assistance

Program fee (single room)*
$3 853.00
+GST

Application Fee: $65

*Financial Aid up to approximately 70% is available for this program. 

If you would like to be considered, please complete the Financial Aid section when uploading your supporting materials to Slideroom.

Help fund your experience at Banff Centre. View a compiled list of national and international opportunities here

How to Apply

Financial Assistance

Be sure to complete the Financial Aid section to be eligible for financial assistance.

Resume

A resume, C.V., or a short description of your previous writing activities i.e. include a list of publication credits if applicable, and previous writing programs or workshops taken.

Portfolio

  • Segment from the work-in-progress you will work on during the program (maximum 10 pages).
  • Samples of additional published or unpublished work (maximum 10 pages).

Project Proposal

A description, two pages in length, of the project you propose to work on.

Project Summary and Bio

Provide a 100-word artist biography and a 100-word summary of the proposed project. These summaries will be used as a narrative for administrative and public use.

Mountain and Wilderness Writing only accepts projects that are being written in English.  

Manuscript Development

Successful applicants will be asked to submit a draft or excerpt of their project before the program start date. The submission deadline and requirements will be sent directly by email, once successful applicants have confirmed their participation in the program.

Adjudication

Participants are selected by the faculty editors on the basis of their submitted material, its relevance to the program mandate, and the quality of the writing. 

All applicants will be notified of their status as soon as adjudication is complete.

Eligibility

Applicants will normally, but not necessarily, have published a body of work (in book-length form or substantial publication in magazines and/or anthologies) on some aspect of the mountain or wilderness experience. This can include fiction, memoir, biography, creative non-fiction, travel, adventure writing, or environmental journalism.

Project genres may include works of fiction, non-fiction, memoir, biography, or poetry on a topic in the area of mountain or wilderness culture.

All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee is 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. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Contact the Registrar

For questions on preparing your application, please contact the Office of the Registrar:

Toll Free Number (Canada + USA)
1.800.565.9989