Nature and ecology writing workshops at UPEI

Photo by Okanagan College Speakers Series
Don Gayton has the eye of a scientist and the soul of a poet.
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Contact Person: Sheila Kerry, Media Relations and Communications Officer
Department: Integrated Communications
Phone: (902) 566-0760
Posted on Thursday, 6 February 2014

Don Gayton, ecologist and award-winning nature and science writer, is writer-in-residence at UPEI during the week of February 3–8. He is being hosted by the English Department and Environmental Studies Program, with funding from The Canada Council for the Arts.

He will give a public reading from his recent writings on Thursday, February 6, at 7:30 pm in the Confederation Centre Public Library. A reception will follow the reading, which is co-hosted by the Library.

Gayton will also give two writing workshops open to the general public on Saturday, February 8, in the UPEI Faculty Lounge, Main Building:

NATURE WRITING: Where do we go from here? (10:00 am–12:00 pm)
Nature writing traces back to Thoreau, the classical Greek writers and even beyond, but now it stands at a historic crossroads. Contemplation and oneness with nature are hallmarks of the genre, a mindset now at odds with our deepening environmental crises. Does nature writing now become a literature of protest, or of despair? In this interactive workshop, we will explore future directions for nature writers.

Writers have often turned to science for ideas and metaphors. The young science of ecology has increasing relevance to literature. Ecology embraces ambiguity, multiple states of being, and reciprocity between humans and nature. The practice of ecological restoration incorporates spirituality with science. Gayton will open up some of the concepts and paradoxes of ecology as new material for writers of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Workshop fees are $25 for one workshop or $35 for both, and $15 or $25 for students and PEI Writers’ Guild members. For further information about his workshops and reading, and to register for workshops, contact the English Department: 566-0389 or

Stuart McLean, radio broadcaster, humourist, and author says “Don Gayton has the eye of a scientist and the soul of a poet.” Gayton writes in his website, “As a reader, fiction has always been my first love, followed closely by scientific journals. So as a writer, I like to threaten the fortified boundaries of non-fiction, shouting and waving my arms. More and more I gravitate to story as our primal form of communication.” He also writes “Science is the undiscovered country of the literary imagination.”

Gayton is the recipient of the US National Outdoor Book Award, the Canadian Science Writers Award, and the Peace Corps Travel Book Award. His books include The Wheatgrass Mechanism, Interwoven Wild, Okanagan Odyssey, and Man Facing West. His articles have appeared in Canadian Geographic, Equinox, Journal of Ecosystems and Management, among others. He is currently working on a historical novel set in the Pacific Northwest, and lives in he Okanagan Valley, where he tends his Yippe Calle Vineyard.

For information:
Dr. Richard Lemm
Winter’s Tales Author Reading Series
(902) 566-0389,