Fall 2018 EVST Writing Courses: Applications Due August 15th

July 12, 2018

Fall 2018 EVST Writing Courses: Applications Due August 15th

Writing about the Environment (EVST 224 / ENGL 241)

Th 1:30-3:20

Professor: Alan Burdick

Writing about the Environment is an exploration of the ways in which the environment and the natural world can be channeled for literary expression. Students will read and discuss essays, reportage, and book length works by scientists and non-scientists alike. They will also learn about how to create narrative tension while also conveying complex — and sometimes highly technical — information; the role of the first person in this type of writing; and where the human environment ends and the non-human one begins.

This course is limited to 12 students. Applications for Fall 2018 are due by noon on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. Please email applications directly to alan.burdick@gmail.com. Your application should include a paragraph or two about yourself, your writing experience, and your interest taking in this class. If you can, also include a not-too-long sample of your nonfiction (and nonacademic) writing.

Alan Burdick is a staff writer and former senior editor at The New Yorker and a frequent contributor to Elements, the magazine’s science-and-tech blog. He worked previously as an editor at the Times Magazine, Discover, and OnEarth, and as a writer and producer at the American Museum of Natural History. He has written for Harpers and GQ, and is the author, most recently, of “Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation.” His first nonfiction book, “Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion” (FSG 2005) was a National Book Award finalist and won the Overseas Press Club Award for environmental reporting. His magazine writing has appeared in a wide array of publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, GQ, Discover, Natural History, and Outside.

Writing the World (FES 750)

T 2:30-5:20pm

Professor: Verlyn Klinkenborg

Writing the World is a practical writing course meant to develop strong writing skills. The real subject, however, is perception and a writer’s authority—the relationship between what you notice in the world around you and what, culturally speaking, you’re allowed to notice. What you write during the semester will be driven entirely by your own interest and attention. How you write is the question at hand. You will explore the overlapping habitats of language—present and past—and the natural environment. And, to a lesser extent, the class will explore the character of persuasion in environmental themes. Every member of the class will write a piece every week, which will be read by the entire class. It makes no difference whether you’re a would-be journalist, scientist, environmental advocate or policy-maker. The goal is to rework your writing and sharpen your perceptions, both sensory and intellectual.

This course is limited to 15 graduate and undergraduate students. Applications for Fall 2018 are due by noon on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. Please email applications directly to verlyn.klinkenborg@yale.edu. Your application should include a paragraph describing your experience or interest in writing. EVST juniors are encouraged to apply to help prepare for their work as seniors.

Verlyn Klinkenborg is a former member of the editorial board of The New York Times.  He has published articles in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Esquire, National Geographic and Mother Jones magazines. He has written a series of editorial opinions in The New York Times; these are generally literary meditations on rural farm life.

Writing about Science & Environment (EVST 215 / MBB 459/ ENG 459)

T 9:25-11:15

Professor: Carl Zimmer

Writing about Science & Environment is an upper-level non-fiction writing seminar in which students will learn how to tell stories about science, medicine, and the environment for a broad public audience. Each year’s class is typically made up of students from a range of backgrounds: pre-med students who want to learn how to communicate effectively as doctors, aspiring journalists interested in reporting on science, fiction writers seeking to expand their range, environmental studies majors who want to prepare for careers in policy-making, and science majors who want to become scientists who can fully participate in public conversations about the place of science in society. For more information see Professor Zimmer’s website.

This course is limited to 12 students, and admission is by application only. Applications for Fall 2018 are due by noon on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. Please email applications directly to carl@carlzimmer.com. Your application should include the following:

  • Your name, year, major, and email address. 
  • A note in which you briefly describe your background and explain why you’d like to take the course. Include the writing courses, if any, that you’ve already taken, and publications you’ve written for. Also indicate which other writing courses, if any, you’re applying to for Fall 2018. 
  • One or two pieces of nonacademic, nonfiction writing. (No fiction or scientific papers, please.) Indicate the course or publication (including url) for which you wrote each sample. Unpublished work that you didn’t write for a class is also acceptable; please note if this is the case on your piece. Your writing samples should total 5-15 pages double spaced and why you want to use them. Samples should demonstrate strengths in some of the skills this kind of writing calls for, such as engaging style, a strong narrative, and deep reporting skills.

If you have any questions about whether this is the right class for you, please email Professor Zimmer. If you’d like to talk to a former student about their experience, contact Sonia Wang or Erin Wang. Admitted students will be notified within a week after the application deadline. Be prepared to respond promptly to an offer for a spot in the class, so that Professor Zimmer can fill any open spaces with students on the wait-list.

Carl Zimmer is a columnist for the New York Times. He is also the author of 13 books and hundreds of articles for magazines including National Geographic, The Atlantic, and Scientific American. His most recent book, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh:The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity traces the history of heredity, both as a scientific question and a cultural touchstone. Publisher’s Weekly calls it “a magnificent work.”  His journalism has earned awards from the National Academies and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Zimmer has taught science writing at Yale to both undergraduates and graduates since 2008.