Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference

Bread Loaf Writers' Conference

The Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference is an annual week-long writers’ conference, based on the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference model, that’s designed to hone the skills of people interested in producing literary writing about the environment and the natural world. The conference is cosponsored by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Orion magazine, and Middlebury College’s Environmental Studies Program.


Saturday, June 3 – Friday, June 9, 2017. The conference will take place at the Bread Loaf Campus of Middlebury College in Ripton, Vermont.

*The 2017 conference is now full. Please check back for information about next year’s conference and how to apply.*


The conference will incorporate the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference model of small, focused workshops coupled with specialized classes focusing on the craft of writing. Workshops will be limited to ten participants so that each manuscript will receive individual, focused attention and critique. All participants will also meet individually with their workshop leader to amplify and refine what was said in the workshop itself. Established editors, literary agents, and publishers will give presentations on placing work in magazines and navigating the environmental book publishing world.

This week-long conference of workshops, classes, lectures, readings, and discussions is for writers who want to improve their writing about the environment; for writers who seek to become better advocates for the environment through their writing; for poets who are drawn to writing about the natural world; for teachers and scholars who wish to write for a more general readership; and for environmental professionals who want to bring better writing skills to bear on their work. For those who are interested in learning more about environmental and nature writing but who do not wish to workshop their writing, there is also an auditing option available.


Bread Loaf Orion will feature eight workshops with ten participants in each group. Faculty will include acclaimed nature and environmental writers Megan Mayhew Bergman, Camille T. Dungy, John Elder, Ross Gay, Ted Genoways, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Joe Wilkins. In addition to their literary accomplishments, each faculty member has been specifically chosen for their skill at guiding developing writers. Guests will include Jack Shoemaker, Jennifer Acker, Katherine Rowland, and Paul Lucas.


Limited space is still available—applications will continue to be reviewed until the conference is full. Acceptance is based on the strength and promise of the writing sample and on the Admissions Board’s judgment that the applicant will benefit from the conference. The application cover letter is also considered. Workshops will be offered in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Acceptances will be made on a rolling basis and applicants will be notified whether they have been admitted approximately four to six weeks after they apply.

Bread Loaf uses the Submittable online application program. Applicants who already have a Submittable account in place will be asked to login; those new to Submittable will be prompted to set up a free account before accessing the application. There is a $15 application fee due at the time of submission.


The conference is making available a limited number of $300 grants-in-aid to participants accepted into the Environmental Writers’ Conference. In addition, there will be at least one full scholarship offered. The intent of the grants and scholarship is not only to support promising emerging writers but to broaden the community of nature and environmental writers to ensure that nature and environmental writing as a genre represents the relationship between people and nature regardless of race, ethnicity, geography, or socioeconomic standing.

Applicants for financial aid fill out the conference application first and then complete the grant and scholarship application. The two applications must be submitted at the same time (one just after the other). Unfortunately, it will not be possible to consider a financial aid application submitted at a later time.


There is a $15 application fee. A $300 deposit to hold your spot at the conference is due within two weeks of notification of acceptance, and the balance in fees will likely be due in April.

Participant—$2,140 (includes tuition, room, and board)

Auditor—$1,820 (includes tuition, room, and board)


Lodging: The conference, which runs concurrently with the Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference, will take place at the Bread Loaf campus of Middlebury College, nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont and under the shadow of Bread Loaf Mountain. Participants will be inspired by the breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains, the hundreds of miles of trails surrounding the campus, the remarkable original Bread Loaf Inn, and the stillness of the surrounding forest. Participants are housed in historic buildings on the campus which provide simple but comfortable lodging. All buildings are within walking distance of the center of the campus, but some are farther from that center than others. We ask those accepted if they plan to bring a car, so we can arrange accommodations suitably. For those who prefer off-campus housing, a list of hotels and other accommodations can be found at the Addison County Chamber of Commerce website.

Meals: Meals are catered by Middlebury College Dining Services, which incorporates locally-sourced food from over fifty Vermont companies into its menus and is ranked in the top 20 college dining services by Princeton Review. Meals are served in the dining room of the Inn and include a salad bar and veg­etarian and other options.

Library and Computer Room: The Davison Memorial Library on the Bread Loaf campus hosts a collection of literature, reference books, and a special reserve shelf featuring books by faculty and guests. The downstairs “Apple Cellar” is a fully equipped computer lab with printers. Wi-Fi access is available in all common areas and most participant housing. Please note that cell phones generally do not work on the Bread Loaf campus.

Travel: The Bread Loaf campus is located in Ripton, Vermont, about twenty minutes from Middlebury. The GPS location found in most Internet map tools is 4229 Route 125, Ripton, Vermont 05766.


See the Breadloaf website for more details: