Write! in Vietnam: a fieldwork residency
Join writers and scientists in 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 and sustainability 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. Some highlights include scientific fieldwork demonstrations, expert discussions of rare conifers, a night hike, visit to a cloud forest, bonfire and traditional dance at a K’Ho village, and more.
Bookending the trip will be our arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, 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.
Pre-travel orientation and writing session at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in the tree ring lab with scientific researcher Dr. Brendan Buckley.
Participants will prepare 25-minute presentations in advance of the residency on environmental writing, eco-poetics, or other landscape-related literary topics. These talks will be presented during our trip.
Your facilitators will send a list of suggested readings with the residency packet. We will discuss these works in fiction, non-fiction and poetry during our time in Vietnam.
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.
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.”