Nature's Narratives: Writing Outdoors in India

Stephen Alter

Nature's Narratives: Writing Outdoors in India

12 February 2016 05:00PM

With over 15 books to his name, including Becoming a Mountain: Himalayan Journeys in Search of the Sacred and the Sublime, Stephen Alter was Writer-in-Residence at MIT for ten years and is one of India’s foremost nature writers. He spoke about his personal experiences as a nature writer in India and how he discovers most of his subjects outdoors.  

Stories about nature have been part of Indian literature from as far back as the Rig Veda. Whether it was the poetry of Kalidasa or memoirs of the Emperor Jehangir, India’s jungles, mountains and coastlines have provided inspiration, metaphors and lore for millennia. British India thrived on tales of the wild by authors like Kipling and Corbett. As Independence arrived, naturalists such as M. Krishnan and Salim Ali wove a message of conservation into their accounts of birds and mammals. 

This event was held in association with Sanctuary Magazine and Himalayan Club. 

About Stephen Alter

Stephen Alter is the author of more than 15 books and much of his writing focuses on the Himalayas. The Secret Sanctuary (Puffin, 2015) is his most recent novel for younger readers. Alter was writer-in-residence at MIT for ten years. He is founding director of the Mussoorie Writers’ Mountain Festival. Among the honors he has received are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Program, the East West Centre in Hawaii, and the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture. He is this year’s recipient of the Kekoo Naoroji Book Award for Himalayan Literature.

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