Heather Durham is an essayist, nature writer, and naturalist with roots in New England and a home in the Pacific Northwest. She holds a Master of Science in Environmental Biology from Antioch New England University and a Master of Fine Arts from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts.
Heather lives in a sylvan river valley in the foothills of the Washington Cascades where she serves as an administrator at the Wilderness Awareness School and Assistant Editor for prose at Shark Reef Literary Magazine. The rest of the time you are likely to find her wandering the wilds toting binoculars and journal, or home at her writing desk staring out the window talking to the deer, the jays, and the occasional coyote.
Completed Manuscript: Outside This Skin, a Memoir in Essays
With the knowledge and observation skills of an ecologist and the introspection of a philosopher, Heather Durham immerses readers with all their senses in adventures, wanderings, and musings in wild places around the United States. She spars with boys and electric fences on a rural farm in Connecticut, spelunks in silver mine bat caves in New Hampshire, and chases herons on the Florida Gulf coast. She locks eyes with a rooftop cougar in Colorado, hides out with flamingos in urban Utah, traps and band hawks in Nevada, nibbles charred garter snake in Washington, and swims with otters in Oregon.
As a nomadic and often reclusive introvert, Durham grapples with discomfort among her own kind and struggles to find a sense of belonging both within and apart from human communities. It is ultimately her intimate bond with the natural world wherever she roams that offers both meaning and solace.
Though far-reaching in physical and conceptual terrain, Durham’s grounded, meditative attention to detail and reverence for nature is an invitation to all of us to take a deep breath, a step back, and look outside our own skins with new eyes.
Current Project: Wolf Tree
This personal essay collection in progress delves deeper into some of the same themes introduced in Outside This Skin, while focusing less on a personal journey and more on bigger questions regarding human consciousness, human as animal, and ecopsychology, all explored within a variety of lyric and traditional narratives.