Visit Vietnam with River River

Humans in the Environment: a writing and research residency

January 1 – 9, 2019

Information session July 1 at 3 p.m., 95 1/2 Main, Nyack, New York

Join writers and scientists in the forest of the central highlands of Vietnam for writing workshops, presentations, and explorations toward transformative ecological thought. 

River River Writers Circle is proud to present this residency opportunity in collaboration with researchers in climate science at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. We welcome participants in all disciplines and at all stages of their writing careers.

Writers will join in discussions comparing and contrasting scientific methods with aesthetic methods of inquiry, will present short talks on environmental writing and landscape-oriented literature, and will gain insight into writing about travel experiences.  We will spend a few days in the inspirational central highlands landscape of Bidoup Nui Ba National Park, near Dalat, Vietnam. Bookending the trip will be our arrival in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), where we will take excursions to museums and other sites along with our generative writing workshops, and at the end of the residency two days in Dalat, exploring the cultural heritage of this former French colonial hill station and surrounding region.

Program details
Contribute to scholarship fundraiser to send two students on residency

About the facilitators:

A. Anupama (Anu for short) visited Vietnam in December 2017, and is excited to bring other writers to experience the spirit of this remarkable place. She is an Indian-American poet, essayist, translator, and critic. A graduate of the MFA in Writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, she teaches creative writing at Ramapo College and Writopia Lab. Her writing has appeared in Fourteen Hills, Monkeybicycle, Waxwing, Drunken Boat, CutBank, The Tulane Review, Numéro Cinq and other publications. She organized an overseas residency in Slovenia and started running writers’ events in the lower Hudson valley in 2014, leading to the founding of River River Writers Circle in 2015. More about her on her website

Benjamin Woodard is a fiction writer, literary critic, and English professor, and was a Senior Editor at Numéro Cinq Magazine. His book reviews regularly appear in Publishers Weekly, Kenyon Review Online, and journals nationwide. He is currently Editor-in-chief at Atlas + Alice: a magazine of intersections. Find him at or @woodardwriter.

Dr. Brendan M. Buckley is a research professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. “I have spent the past several years focused on dendrochronology in the Asian tropics, particularly mainland Southeast Asia.  This work resulted in two long records from north Thailand and north Vietnam, showing that periods of decadal drought occurred during the past five centuries and often coincided with societal turmoil.  Most recently, we developed a near-millennial aged tree ring chronology from southern Vietnam, at 12 degrees north latitude, from the rare cypress Fokienia hodginsii.  This record was used to reconstruct the hydroclimate for the region going back 750 years, and highlighted periods of multi-decadal drought that coincided with the collapse of Angkor. I am currently focused on understanding in far greater detail the physiological and ecological aspects of tree growth in response to climate.  There is much exciting work yet to be done, and along with my colleagues from around the world, I plan to be addressing these important questions for a long time to come.”