Nature Writing MFA names new director

Author Laura Prittchett

Nature Writing MFA names new director

Carley Clegg
Photo by Oct 14, 2019

Western’s Nature Writing graduate program has named Colorado author Laura Pritchett, Ph.D., its new director.

Pritchett brings a writing background rooted in the natural world, specifically the American West. She has written five literary novels, two nonfiction books and has experience working as an editor on a variety of projects. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Sun, Salon and High Country News, and she has earned a variety of literary accolades, including the prestigious PEN USA Award for Fiction and the Milkweed National Fiction Prize.

Western’s innovative Nature Writing program encourages students to utilize creative writing in an effort to engage with environmental issues through an ethically alert curriculum. It is founded on the core belief that creative work can be used as an agent of change.

Pritchett is excited to help build a practical, hands-on program aimed at tackling the issues of today’s world.

“Nature writing is needed now. The field has and will continue to evolve and our students will be leading the way,” Pritchett said.

It is a sentiment that Graduate Program in Creative Writing Director Tyson Hausdoerffer, Ph.D., echoes.

“With Laura Pritchett at the head of Nature Writing, Western can be sure the program will be a fantastic success. I am confident that it will soon be known as the best, most cutting-edge nature writing or environmental writing program in the Western U.S.,” Hausdoerffer said.

In addition to Pritchett, the department welcomed new faculty members Ana Maria Spagna, Amy Irvine and Molly Murfee.

Western’s Nature Writing MFA is a two-year, low residency program. Students are able to live and learn anywhere and complete course curriculum online, while attending three summer intensive on-campus sessions. During their annual summer sessions, students have the opportunity to explore the landscape unique to the Gunnison Valley, destined to inspire creativity among students.

“This is not a program meant to be confined within the walls of academia,” Pritchett said. “We will be out rafting, hiking, flying and engaging with contemporary publications, organizations and topics in this ever-evolving field.”