Nature Writing

This August, join The Reader Berlin for a stunning day out.

Fiction or non-fiction, every story has a setting. Evoking details of place, landscape, and nature helps to draw readers into your story. Drawing on the broad genre of nature writing, this workshop will hone your descriptive skills and attention to the natural world.

From sensuous memoirs to literary rambles through the countryside, nature writing has seen enormous growth in recent years. This course will look at both American and British traditions of nature writing—with texts from authors including Richard Mabey, Robin Wall-Kimmerer, Nan Shepherd, and Kyo Maclear— and will consider how to bring the natural world to life on the page.

We’ll tackle the landscape in three ways: gathering together outdoors, we’ll look at examples of scene-setting and natural history writing. A walk in the woods will hone your attention to the natural and cultural histories of the Grunewald. After a picnic lunch, you’ll create short works of nature writing based on the day’s walk or a setting of your choice, through guided writing exercises emphasising sensory immersion, vibrant description, and attention to the details of the landscape.

Beginners are welcome; you don’t need any experience of natural history to take this course and you don’t need to be a “nature writer”. Above all, we’ll be enjoying some fantastic writing, a walk in the woods, and sharing new skills for setting scenes in our writing.

To sign up, please email

*Please note this course will take place largely outdoors, rain or shine. Proper footwear and a raincoat are advised. Please bring a packed lunch and water for the day.

JESSICA J. LEE is a British-Canadian-Chinese author and environmental historian. Her first book, Turning, was published by Virago Books in 2017 and named among the best books of the year by both Canadian newspaper The National Post and German newspaper Die Zeit. It was named a Notable Book by the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Awards in the USA. Jessica has written for BBC Radio 4’s Short Cuts, The TLS, and Munchies, among others, and continues to publish academically in the environmental humanities. She has a PhD in Environmental History and Aesthetics and is Writer-in-Residence at the Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology in Berlin. She is currently writing her next book.

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