Author Janisse Ray leads retreat, speaks to trail group

The Wilderness Society will host a three-day nature writer’s intensive with author Janisse Ray at The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center from Sept. 29-Oct. 2.

The workshop is for writers committed to communicating the importance of place — where you live, where you hike, where your drinking water comes from — and what matters about its present and future state.

Participants will spend their time engaged in both dialogue and writing exercises in a spectacular natural setting with one of the south’s most eloquent voices on this subject.

Janisse Ray is the award winning author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, of which the New York Times said, “the South has found its Rachel Carson.”

The retreat is located near Highlands and borders the Overflow Wilderness Study Area. Included in the workshop agenda will be hikes into Overflow as well as evenings with special guests such as regional authors Thomas Rain Crowe, John Lane, and Barbara Duncan.

Early registration fee for this workshop is $450 per person, and includes three nights of double-occupancy lodging as well as all meals and workshop materials.

Jill Gottesman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 828.587.9453.


This year’s annual N.C. Bartram Trail Society meeting features Janisse Ray, award-winning author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Albert Carlton Library in Cashiers. The BTS membership meeting (including trail updates and board elections) will precede the lecture, from 6 p.m. until 6:45 p.m.

Any one is welcome to attend.

Janisse Ray is author of three books of literary nonfiction. Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, a memoir about growing up on a junkyard in the ruined longleaf pine ecosystem of the Southeast, was published by Milkweed Editions in 1999. Besides being a plea to protect and restore the glorious pine flatwoods of the South, the book looks hard at family, mental illness, poverty, and fundamentalist religion.

Farmer, writer and activist Wendell Berry called the book “well done and deeply moving.”

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