PRESS RELEASE – Gary Ferguson


Aspen, CO (September 4, 2015)Aspen Words is bringing renowned wilderness author and teacher Gary Ferguson to the Roaring Fork Valley for an evening reading and one-day writing workshop this month. Gary Ferguson’s latest book, The Carry Home (2014), chronicles his journey to five remote, wild locations to scatter his wife’s ashes following her death in a tragic canoeing accident in northern Ontario. He will read and discuss the book at the Third Street Center in Carbondale at 6:30pm on September 18, and will teach a workshop for writers of all levels and genres the following day. The events are held in partnership with Wilderness Workshop, a Carbondale-based conservation non-profit devoted to protecting public lands.

All of Ferguson’s writing arises out of personal experiences in wilderness. He trekked 500 miles through Yellowstone to write Walking Down the Wild and spent a season in the field at a wilderness therapy program for Shouting at the Sky. He trekked 250 miles on foot for Hawk’s Rest and covered the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park for The Yellowstone Wolves. In The Carry Home, Ferguson weaves his own healing process into a celebration of the American wilderness.

“Besides my community,” says Ferguson, “what really helped me get through that dark time were things I’d come to know from having spent thirty years in wilderness.” 

He will sign copies of his book following the lecture and reading on the 18th.

The following day, Aspen Words invites writers to join Ferguson for a generative workshop exploring, through the craft of writing, the things that challenge or inspire them. He will guide and push participants to move beyond the confessional diary, to reach for words, sentences, and paragraphs that have the power to connect with and transform others. A veteran writing instructor, Gary Ferguson has taught at Aspen Summer Words, and was a Visiting Writer at the University of Montana and the University of Iowa. He is currently a member of the National Geographic Lecture Series and is on the faculty of the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. The workshop will be co-facilitated by social and cultural psychologist Mary Clare, PhD.

To conclude their visit to the Valley, Ferguson and Clare will host a separate workshop on transitioning through grief at the Council on Arts & Humanities LaunchPad on Sunday, September 20. Clare and Ferguson describe the workshop as a mix of powerful therapeutic prompts and storytelling, all directed at using the inner wisdom we already possess.  

“We’ve been very aware of the losses people of the Roaring Fork Valley have faced in recent months,” says Dr. Clare. “Whether from lives of bold adventure, from illness, or even from suicide, we all know that, over a lifetime loss is inevitable. Still, in this valley you’re uniquely situated in the beauty and strength of the land. Land that can be such a healing companion as you move through times of difficult change.”  

To schedule an interview or to request a review copy of The Carry Home, please contact Mary Bisbee-Beek at


Public Reading + Talk
Friday, September 18 | 6:30-7:30pm
Doors at 6pm
Calaway Room at the Third Street Center
520 South Third Street, Carbondale, CO
Fee: $10
Available for purchase in advance at or at the door.

Writing Workshop
Saturday, September 19 | 9am-3pm
Calaway Room at the Third Street Center
520 South Third Street, Carbondale, CO
Fee: $150 (includes Friday night event)
Optional hike with Gary Ferguson to follow the workshop.
Register at

The Nature of Grief Workshop
Sunday, September 20 | 9am-3pm
LaunchPad, Council on Arts & Humanities, Main Room
76 S. 4th Street, Carbondale, CO
Fee: $150
This event is not hosted by Aspen Words. Visit for details and registration.

Any questions can be directed to: 

Caroline Tory
Program Associate of Marketing & Communications
Aspen Words | The Aspen Institute
Phone: 970-925-3122 ext 3#

Aspen Words (formerly the Aspen Writers’ Foundation) was founded in Aspen in 1976 as a cutting edge poetry conference and literary magazine. Today Aspen Words (AW) is one of the nation’s leading literary centers and a stage for the world’s most prominent authors. AW programs employ literature as a tool for provoking thought, broadening perspectives, fostering connections, inspiring creativity, and giving voice. Since 2009, AW has partnered with the Aspen Institute, underscoring the highest humanistic ideals of Aspen founder Walter Paepcke: to better understand human challenges by cultivating one’s inner life through the exchange of words, stories, and ideas. AW’s stated mission is “encouraging writers, inspiring readers, and connecting people through the power of stories.”

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has an international network of partners.