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Nature Writing and Western Press Books to Produce Inaugural Book

Creative writing students working in classroom

Western Colorado University’s Nature Writing concentration in the Graduate Program in Creative Writing (GPCW) is set to release its first book-length publication through Western Press books. The announcement of the first title is to come this summer.

Western’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing (GPCW)

The program itself is unique: only a few graduate programs in the country are dedicated to environmental writing, and Western leads the way with a collaboration with a well-established press. In their new arrangement, one manuscript written by a current or former student in the program will be published annually by Western Press Books, with the first to be announced this summer.

Steve Coughlin, Ph.D., leads the undergraduate program, and is the lead editor of Western Press Books, a consortium of universities whose books are distributed by the University Press of Colorado. In partnership with the other Acquisitions Editors, the first book will be chosen this summer and published in approximately one year.

Highlighting New Voices

Coughlin notes he conceived this idea while considering Western Press Books’ audience expansion and impactful discussions within nature writing.

“What’s so exciting about this partnership is it allows Western Press Books to be a leader among presses of the Mountain West,” said Coughlin. “It will invite new and diverse voices into conversations relating to current environmental concerns.”

An Exciting Endeavor

“This is an unprecedented and thrilling endeavor,” said Laura Pritchett, Ph.D. and director of the MFA in Nature Writing Program. “I know of no other MFA program which offers its students an opportunity like this. Certainly, we work with all students to ready their manuscripts for submission to an agent or to a press—that is a fundamental part of our program—but this collaboration takes our commitment to professionalization to another level. Not only is this a magnificent opportunity for our students, it’s also the right thing for Planet Earth! We need more books that add to the contemporary environmental and land-ethic conversation.”

One of the guiding philosophies of the press is to explore the diversity of human relationships with place and environmental concerns. According to its mission statement, “Western Press Books strives to enhance the complexity of conversations and diversity of voices within the field of nature writing.”

Creating Connections Between Programs

GPCW Director Tyson Hausdoerffer praised the collaboration between undergraduate and graduate programs at Western.

“One of my top priorities as director has been to create stronger ties between the GPCW and other programs at Western,” said Hausdoerffer. “Professor Coughlin and Director Pritchett have been the leaders in this effort, and this latest collaboration of theirs is a stunning example of the great things that can happen for students when programs work together. I simply can’t wait to get my hands on the first book that comes out of this!”

Western Press Books will consider manuscripts of nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and hybrid works, including experimental works written by current or former MFA-Nature Writing students.

Mission Statement of Western Press Books

Western Press Books strives to enhance the complexity of conversations and diversity of voices within the field of nature writing. Housed in Western Colorado University’s undergraduate Creative Writing program and distributed through the University Press of Colorado, Western Press Books publishes books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction—including hybrid and experimental works—focused on contemporary issues within nature writing. In partnership with Western Colorado University’s Nature Writing MFA concentration, each year Western Press Books selects for publication a book-length manuscript written by either a current student or graduate of the Nature Writing MFA concentration.

Graduate Program in Creative Writing

Want to pursue your love of writing as a college major and career? Discover Western’s award-winning Graduate Program in Creative Writing.



Author Credit: Rebecca DeLuccia

Photo Credit: Taylor Cull

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