Intimate Nonfiction: Writing from the Inside Out

“Over the course of writing 25 books and hundreds of essays, I have come to understand that it’s our deepest relationships – be they with other people, with powerful landscapes, or with ourselves – that ultimately offer the best chance to create truly authentic writing.” – Gary Ferguson

Fishtrap’s Yearlong Writing Program will be among the most intimate and creative experiences of your writing life. Working within a small, nurturing community of other committed writers, you’ll gain an unprecedented opportunity not only to hone your craft, but more fundamentally, to build powerful new techniques for tapping into the essential qualities of your own life experiences. The work will be exhilarating, and at times, challenging. Even frustrating. That’s the nature of what we do as writers. But the result will be to both expand and strengthen your voice – that ineffable quality that makes you a unique storyteller, like no other in the world. Yearlong participants meet together for a week of writing and conversation at both the 2018 and 2019 Summer Fishtrap Gatherings in the inspiring setting of Wallowa Lake and one additional winter weekend during the year. Gary Ferguson will provide each student with tailored exercises and monthly feedback on his or her writing. He will also we’ll also engage the Yearlong cohort in sharing their insights with one another through a limited amount of work shopping, where each of us will read and discuss short selections from their own work; through online “community exercises,” and finally through conversations, to offer powerful insights into the art of creative nonfiction.

“What I look for as a writer, what I celebrate – and what I’ll be cultivating with you – is the power of story. Tales of people finding their voices. Of life outside the box. And always, stories about the tracks that beauty, community, and mystery leave in the human heart.” – Gary Ferguson

Gary Ferguson

Gary Ferguson has written for a variety of national publications, including Vanity Fair, Orion and the Los Angeles Times, and is the author of twenty-five books on nature and science. His memoir, The Carry Home: Lessons from the American Wilderness, which was described by the Los Angeles Times as “gorgeous, with beauty on every page.” was selected as the Sigurd Olson Nature Book of the Year. Hawks Rest: A Season in the Remote Heart of Yellowstone (National Geographic Adventure Press), was the first nonfiction work in history to win both the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for Nonfiction. Last spring Gary’s lead essay for Orion Magazine – “A Deeper Boom” – was selected by the American Society of Journalists and Authors as the Best Essay of 2016.

Over the past thirty years Gary has taught at writers workshops and conferences across the country. He also recently concluded ten years as a faculty member of the renowned Rainier Writing Workshop Masters of Fine Arts Program at Pacific Lutheran University.