When you write your self in nature, you locate your place within the ecosystems you inhabit and discover an ecological kinship connecting you to the web of life’s embrace
Located at the juncture of memoir and nature writing, an ecobiography is a lifewriting text that places the writer’s identity and experiences within the context of the natural world, positioning the writer within an ecosystem or web of integrated, interdependent organisms. The text generally encompasses more than a single encounter with nature (e.g., “How I Climbed Mt. Everest”), instead reflecting the influences of the natural world upon the writer’s personal development or life stages. This integration in the environment may be within an urban, rural, or wilderness setting and may challenge the dichotomy betweens humans and nature. Ecobiography often creates new structures to portray this relationship through non-linear narration, juxtaposition of plot and place, or synthesis of memoir and nature writing techniques.
If you’re interested in learning more about ecobiography, contact Kayann Short, author of the award-winning A Bushel’s Worth: An Ecobiography (Torrey House Press), for writing workshops, retreats, and consultation. Her recent essay in the environmental-literary magazine, The Hopper, “Food for Bears,” examines the impact of climate crisis on the food system for bears and humans along Colorado’s Front Range.