Elk River Writers Workshop Schedule of Events

Chico Hot Springs
Sunday, Aug. 15 – Friday, Aug. 20, 2021

Day 1 – Sunday, Aug. 15

2-5 pm Check-in at Chico Convention Center
*All activities and meals will take place at the Chico Convention Center unless otherwise noted.
5:30-6 pm: Getting to Know You Happy Hour
6-8 pm: Welcome Dinner with Keynote Address
8:30-10 pm: Campfire Gathering

Day 2 – Monday, Aug. 16

Morning
7-8:45 am: Breakfast
7:15-7:30 am: Grounding Meditation with CMarie
9-Noon: Workshop (with snacks at break)
Noon-1 pm: Lunch
Noon-1 pm: Elk River Books Table Open

Afternoon
1-4 pm Ecology Hike with Doug Peacock and Jesse Logan

Explore the southern end of Paradise Valley with ecologist Jesse Logan and grizzly bear expert Doug Peacock, who will introduce participants to the changing ecology and human demands on this wild landscape. Learn how bears, wolves, bison, pronghorn, elk, and more navigated both the ancient and modern ecosystems here, and explore the paths trod by indigenous people. The effects of climate change will be featured prominently on this hike. Participants should be comfortable walking at least a mile at a stretch.

3-5 pm Horseback Riding

Experience the foothills of the Absaroka Mountains on a two-hour trail ride with Rockin’ HK Outfitters, round trip from the Chico Horse Barn. Or ride in a horse-drawn wagon up to the historic mining town of Old Chico.

1:30-2:15 pm Craft Talk: Sterling HolyWhiteMountain

Ask Me Anything. This is a chance to sit with a well-known and renowned writer and talk about anything pertaining to writing, publishing, the writer’s life. Bring any questions you might imagine about writing will be entertained at this discussion that promises to be both lively and informative.

Manuscript Reviews

Evening
Dinner on your own
7-8 pm: Panel Discussion

“Indigenity and Literature: Appropriation, Self Determination, and Art in Literature by and about Native People” with Beth Piatote, Adrian Jawort, Sterling HolyWhiteMountain, and Terese Mailhot.  Moderated by CMarie Fuhrman

8-9 pm: Elk River Books Table Open with Panelist Signings
8:30-10 pm: Campfire Readings

Day 3 – Tuesday, Aug. 17

Morning
7-8:45 am: Breakfast
7:15-7:30 am: Grounding Meditation with CMarie
9-Noon: Workshop (with snacks at break)
Noon-1 pm: Lunch
Noon-1 pm: Elk River Books Table Open

Afternoon
1:30-2:30 pm: Craft Talk with William Pitt Root

2:45-3:30 pm:  Craft Talk with Charles Finn, Editor of High Desert Journal

Bear is a Big Word: Some Thoughts on Writing About Animals” Charles Finn, author of Wild Delicate Seconds: 29 Wildlife Encounters, will discuss his approach to writing wildlife, those “Other Nations” as Henry Beston called them. Using examples from his book, as well as drawing upon renowned wildlife writers such as Doug Peacock, Rick Bass, Barry Lopez, Loren Eisley, and more, Charles will examine a writer’s responsibility when it comes to representing animals on the page, the dangers and appropriate uses of anthropomorphism, and what makes for good wildlife writing. Participants will be encouraged to voice their ideas of what good wildlife writing looks like, and techniques for successfully bringing animals fully alive in their own writing.

Manuscript Reviews

Evening
Dinner on your own
7-8 pm: Panel Discussion

“Publishing Your Outdoor and Place-Based Writing” with Charles Finn (High Desert Journal), Corinne Gaffner Garcia (Big Sky Journal), Christine Holbert (Lost Horse Press) Scott McMillion (Montana Quarterly). Moderated by Seabring Davis (author and former editor of Big Sky Journal and Western Art & Architecture).

8-9 pm: Elk River Book Table Open with Panelist Signings
8:30-10 pm: Campfire Gathering

Day 4 – Wednesday, Aug. 18

Morning
7-8:45 am: Breakfast
7:15-7:30 am: Grounding Meditation with CMarie
9-Noon: Workshop (with snacks at break)
Noon-1 pm: Lunch
Noon-1 pm: Elk River Books Table Open

Afternoon
1:30-4 pm: Paradise Valley Archaeology Tour with Tom James

Humans have lived in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for over 10,000 years. Though early people did live in the valley year-round, they often also followed the “green wave,” seasonally following game from the valleys to the mountains as various plant food sources ripened and withered with the seasons. From villages along the Yellowstone and bison jumps on terraces to high-elevation prayer beds, Paleolithic camps to historic mining towns, the Paradise Valley represents the full variety of historic and prehistoric Montana.

1:30-6 pm: Yellowstone River Float Trip

See Paradise Valley from the perspective of the Yellowstone River (the longest undammed river in the lower 48 states) on this scenic float with the Flying Pig Adventure Company. Students will return in time for 7 p.m. panel discussion.

1:30-2:30 pm: Craft talk with Gary Ferguson
“Writing the Wild”

This exercise-driven class begins with a close look at four essential elements of good nonfiction essay writing: tone, setting, transition, and the fine art of dramatic device. Next, we’ll undertake an intriguing exploration of how nature and landscape actually shape our perspectives — how they give rise to both what we say, and how we say it. It’s through such understanding that we gain the chance to anchor “voice,” thereby greatly increasing the power of our storytelling. By the end of our time together, then, participants will have gained important insights into both the basic workings of nonfiction, as well as how to nourish the nature-based themes that most inspire them.

2:45-3:45 pm: Craft Talk with Mary Clare
“Where Your Words Come From”

For writers, words are like paint or clay, like notes on the scale or the movement in dance. They are the essential elements of our art. They make possible the stories we tell. This craft session provides the opportunity to stop and consider the source of words – how the mechanisms of brain physiology, perception and communication are Nature itself. We’ll use writing prompts and conversation to explore the practical mystery of writer and writing as Nature speaking to Nature.

Manuscript reviews

Evening
Dinner on your own
7-8 pm: Panel Discussion

“Art and Climate Change” with Gary Ferguson, Doug Peacock, and Cathy Whitlock. Navigating the intersections of science, conservation, culture and art on a rapidly warming planet.

8-9 pm: Elk River Books Table Open with Panelist Signings
8:30-10 pm: Campfire Gathering

Day 5 – Thursday, Aug. 19

Morning
7-8:45 am: Breakfast
7:15-7:30 am: Grounding Meditation with CMarie
9-Noon: Workshop (with snacks at break)
Noon-1 pm: Lunch
Noon-1 pm: Elk River Books Table Open

Afternoon
Spa dates, soak, explore, drive to the park: The afternoon is yours

Manuscript Reviews

Evening
6-6:30 pm Gala Evening Cocktails, Silent Auction and Appetizers

6-9 pm: Auction Open

6:30-8 pm: Gala Reading Featuring Beth Piatote, J Drew Lanham, Rick Bass, Pamela Uschuk, and William Pitt Root

8 pm: Closing Remarks

8-10 pm: Live Music with Montana Rose

Dancing, bidding, and farewell cocktails

Day 6 – Friday, Aug. 20

Check out and depart