Orion Writing Workshops 2020-2021

COVID-19 UPDATE (June 19, 2020):  All 2020 in-person Orion Writers’ Workshops have been cancelled. However, starting mid-July, we are offering a new, online creative nonfiction environmental writers’ workshop. Details below. Spots are limited.

Online Nonfiction Environmental Writers’ Workshop
July 18 – August 23, 2020
Apply by: July 1, 2020

This summer, Orion will host our first Online Nonfiction Environmental Writers’ Workshop. This unique opportunity lets you maintain social distance, while improving your writing skills from home. Connect with us for six weekend sessions with an experienced instructor and writer. Learn more about environmental writing, and renew, illuminate, and deepen your relationship with nature and place.

Conducted over Zoom and limited to twelve participants, the workshop will feature a combination of generative exercises, craft talks, and workshopping of student manuscripts. In addition to the six, three-hour sessions, you will have an opportunity to meet one-on-one with the instructor for a more detailed conversation about your work.

This workshop will be facilitated by writer, poet, and talented instructor, Chris Dombrowski (see details below). Additional recorded and remote material from editors and others will help you identify an audience for your article or book in the environmental publishing world.


The workshop will be divided into six consecutive 3-hour weekend sessions, July 18 through August 23. The first five will run on consecutive Saturday mornings, beginning on July 18, from 9am to 12pm EDT, while the sixth and final session will run from 2pm to 5pm EDT on Sunday, August 23.  Individual conferences with the instructor will be scheduled once the workshop begins.


This six-session creative nonfiction Zoom workshop is available for $500. Payment within five days of acceptance will guarantee your spot. Cancelations up until July 12 will result in a full refund. After that, refunds will be conditional on our ability to fill your spot before the course begins.


Please send a cover letter and a nonfiction writing sample of up to 1,500 words to the link below. With so few seats, we encourage you to apply as early as possible. Apply by July 1. Applicants will be notified whether they have been admitted by early July.

*The Application Window is Now Closed.*

About the Instructor: Chris Dombrowskis nonfiction debut, Body of Water: A Sage, A Seeker, and the World’s Most Alluring Fish (Milkweed Editions, 2016), was hailed in The New York Times Book Review; lauded as “finely wrought and profoundly life-affirming,” and drew comparisons to Gary Snyder and John McPhee in the Wall Street Journal. Chris is also the author three books of poems, By Cold WaterEarth Again, and Ragged Anthem. His essays and poems have appeared in over 100 publications and anthologies including Poetry, Orion, Outside, The Southern Review, The Sun, Michigan Quarterly Review, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Guernica, and Gulf Coast

For over two decades Chris has taught creative writing to various age groups, most recently as the William Kittredge Visiting Writer in Residence at the University of Montana. In addition, he has worked as a fly-fishing guide in Missoula, Montana, where he directs the Beargrass Writing Retreat, and makes his home with his loveably feral family. He is currently at work on a second book of nonfiction, tentatively titled The Nature of Wonder, forthcoming from Milkweed Editions. Learn more here.



Orion in the Wilderness
March 14-20, 2021
Cave Creek Canyon, Arizona

This unique Orion Environmental Writers’ Workshop will be offered during the winter in a remarkable wilderness area. Hone your writing skills with an exceptional faculty in a setting that can inspire nature writers to do their best work.

Orion’s partner for this extraordinary experience is the Omega Center for Sustainable Living, which offers workshops and conferences on environmental issues, regenerative thinking, and design, and is a key part of the Omega Institute, based in Rhinebeck, New York. The workshop is expected to fill; we recommend applying early.

The American Museum of Natural History Southwest Research Station sits in remote Cave Creek Canyon, surrounded by designated wilderness. This will be the site for the Orion in the Wilderness Writers’ Workshop. Known for its abundant bird life and network of hiking trails, this unspoiled area is worth the drive from the nearest airport (Tucson).

The workshop provides a unique opportunity to connect with Orion writers and editors. In addition to breakout sessions in creative nonfiction, fiction, or poetry, there will be faculty readings and lectures, student readings, presentations on local ecology and lore, and optional birding and hikes. Each participant receives individualized attention, feedback, and a focused meeting with a faculty member to discuss manuscripts or projects. Workshops will be limited to no more than twelve participants.


Tuition, meals, and lodging range from $1,100 to $1,900, depending on your choice of lodging. The gathering takes place in southeastern Arizona at the American Museum of Natural History Southwest Research Station in Cave Creek Canyon near Portal. For those who need it, a coach will bring participants from, and then back to, Tucson International Airport. The bus fee is not included.

Click here for specific information on tuition and schedule. 


2021 faculty is TBA. The 2020 faculty included: Sherwin Bitsui, Joe Wilkins, Joy Williams, and Gary Ferguson. 


Workshops will be offered in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. For prose, a writing sample of 1,500 words will be required; for poetry, a sample of up to six pages of poetry will be required. Please include a cover letter with your address, age, occupation, and reasons why you are interested in attending.

Acceptances will be made on a rolling basis and applicants will be notified whether they have been admitted within three weeks of applying. Stay tuned for specific details on apply for this workshop. 

*Please note that there are a variety of lodging options available at Cave Creek Canyon at different price points. Those who apply earlier will have more housing options. For more information, visit the Omega Institute workshop page.



Orion Environmental Writers’ Workshop
June 2021. Dates TBA
The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York

The Orion Environmental Writers’ Workshop is an annual week-long writing workshop for writers who want to improve their writing about nature and the environment. This is a unique opportunity for participants to connect with leading writers and editors, learn more about environmental writing, and renew, illuminate, and deepen their relationship with nature.

This renowned workshop is cosponsored by the Omega Center for Sustainable Living.

This program is for writers who want to learn how to write an Orion essay, short story, or poem; for writers who seek to become better advocates for the environment through their writing; for poets who are drawn to writing about nature and culture; 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.

The program will feature small writing workshops dedicated to poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as faculty readings and lectures, student readings, and presentations on publishing.


Travel: The Omega Institute is easily accessible. It is conveniently located in Rhinebeck, New York, with easy access to major airports and public transportation.

Meals: The Omega Institute offers local, organic, sustainable, nutrient-dense, artisanal, and whole-food meals, and are able to accommodate a variety of tastes, dietary needs, and food allergies.

More information on fees and tuition coming soon. 


The 2021 faculty is TBA. Workshops will be limited to twelve participants so that each participant will receive focused attention and feedback. All participants will meet individually with their workshop leader, as well, to discuss their manuscripts. Special guests will include literary agents, publishers, and editors, who will offer advice on book publishing, placing work in magazines and journals, and the environmental publishing world.


Workshops will be offered in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. For prose, a writing sample of 1,500 words will be required; for poetry, a sample of up to six pages of poetry will be required. Acceptances will be made on a rolling basis and applicants will be notified whether they have been admitted within three weeks of applying. Please note that a variety of housing options are available at the Omega Institute. Those who apply earlier will be able to choose their housing sooner. Some housing options may sell out faster than others. Stay tuned for more details on the 2021 Summer workshop. 


Questions related to Orion workshops? Contact us.