On 1/27-28/18, environmental writers Joe Wilkins and Sean Prentiss visited UA Little Rock’s English department. The Cooper Honors Program sponsored the visit and events, organized by the Visiting Writer Series. The writers met with students in Prof. Heather Hummel’s Cooper Honors Seminar course (“Environmental Literature and Writing”), and gave a public reading with discussion. Many of the class members also joined Hummel, Prentiss, and Wilkins on a hike of Pinnacle Mountain the morning before the public reading.
On Friday afternoon, Prentiss and Wilkins read to a packed room of students and guests. They each read pieces from several works, including poems (both), a novel (Wilkins), and an essay (Prentiss). They discussed the importance of place in their own writing and in the craft of writing in general. They noted that all writing has a situation and a place, although some writers weave the physical landscape and elements into their works more explicitly and more intimately. Wilkins spoke of the specific kind of attention we pay to the world around us when we are in nature (as opposed to in human-made spaces that are built to serve our ends). Together they co-authored the textbook Environmental and Nature Writing: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury Press: 2017). They are pictured here with Prof. Hummel.