Scaling the Dark Mountain: Poems from the cliff face

A workshop with poet & Mountaineer Sophie McKeand

Date: Saturday, 16th January 2016
Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm
Location: Anglesey, Cymru/Wales


‘When the cities lie at the monster’s feet, there are left the mountains.’

How can we create meaning in our lives and art in a society unwilling or unable to avert the coming ecological catastrophe? Can connecting with our community alleviate this profound sense of loss and grief, offering purpose and a deep rootedness? Working as a community poet is my response to Dark Mountain’s position, and our day will be spent exploring the Art of Community along with using pieces from various Dark Mountain anthologies as inspiration.

Workshop at the Ucheldre Literary Society, Saturday 16th January 2016.

10am – 4pm. £15/£10 students and concessions.

Ucheldre Centre, Millbank, Holyhead, Anglesey LL65 1TE, Cymru/Wales.

Tel: 01407 763361

Sophie McKeand is a freelance writer and workshop facilitator from Y Gogledd Cymru. She regularly works with organisations such as Literature Wales, Arts Council Wales, Oriel Wrecsam and Age Cymru, and is particularly interested in working with marginalised groups. The psyche is a powerful tool for transformation, and the creation of art is something Sophie believes plays a crucial role in the evolution of communities.

Sophie worked as part of the core Dark Mountain team from 2012 to summer 2015 and remains a committed Mountaineer. She was longlisted for the Poetry Society‘s National Poetry Competition in 2014 and her writing can be found in publications such as Poetry Wales, Dark Mountain, Earthlines and Tears in the Fence. Sophie has performed at festivals and events such as Wenlock Poetry Festival, Green Man, Wilderness, Dinefwr and the Gelynion/Enemies Project (curated by Poetry Wales), as well as being writer/producer on various projects for National Theatre Wales TEAM.

“Sophie writes poems in which strange, old, true things are forced into contact with the present. They twist and turn and you never get quite what you expect from them, which is what gives them their power… some of the most interesting poems I’ve read in a long while. Genuinely original.” Paul Kingsnorth

“An allusive, restless sensibility turned outwards to the world; her words have heft, they grasp their way out of poetry into landscape.” Jay Griffiths

Shadows in the Wild

A six-day expedition into the wilds of Spain

Date: 18th — 24th April 2016
Location: Alta Garroxta National Park, Spanish Pyrenees


In spring 2016, we’re running this unique collaboration with wilderness experts Way of Nature in the mountains of the Spanish Pyrenees. It’s a chance to escape from the pressures of modern life and spend some time considering the world as a whole, our place in it, and where we are all going now.

Led by Dark Mountain co-founder Paul Kingsnorth and the team from Way of Nature, we will guide a journey into wilderness of many kinds. We will first hike to a high mountain base in a place between civilisation and the wild. We will make a safe home from which to prepare for a quest into the dark. And from there, we will venture off on adventures that look to truth, to grief and to hope within our souls. We will consider, and seek to address, the challenges of living in an age of mass extinction and climate change:

How do we deal with the grief of ecological crisis?
How can we still be useful in the world?
What can we do and what can we not do?
What lies beyond both false hope and false hopelessness?

Way of Nature will support this intellectual journey by providing tools to reconnect with ourselves and with nature and to open up to all of our senses and our hearts.  Throughout, we will be supported by the incredible power and beauty of this part of the world. And at the heart of the journey we will go out on a 24 hour ‘solo’ – a personal expedition to a special place in the wild.

On our return we hope to bring back new friendships, new sources of stillness and strength, new ways of finding balance and purpose, and a sense that from the darkness there is light.

We will set out into the shadows as a group of twenty explorers. We would love to see diversity in thinking, creating and doing. We can’t wait to see what we might experience and do together.


Shadows in the Wild will take place in the Alta Garrotxa Nature Park. The Alta Garrotxa mountain range flows from the wide plains of the Costa Brava and rises up towards the High Pyrenees. It’s an old land, rich in a culture and history moulded by Greek, Roman, and Arab peoples. Here, the Sant Aniol valley is carved deep into limestone cliffs by a clear mountain stream – a place of great natural beauty and power. Our base will be at one of the highest points of the Alta Garrotxa, looking back towards humanity. Solos and activities will take place deeper in the valley and the mountains.

We may be able to support a small number of people with limited mobility in arriving and departing to/from base camp but not on some of the longer hikes. Please contact us for more information on this.


Standard price: £745
Voluntary high income or paid by work: £1,195
Low income: £395*

*We are able to offer four low income places on Shadows in the Wild. To apply, please contact us with a description of why you would like to come and be part of the journey.

Registration Deadline: 21st January 2016


To book please email and we will send you a Welcome Pack and Registration form.

Dark Mountain at the Wordsworth Trust

Date: Saturday, 30th November 2013
Time: 2:30am - 3:30pm
Location: Jerwood Centre, Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, Cumbria


The Wordsworth Trust, guardians of Dove Cottage, the home of Wordsworth, Coleridge and the Romantics in the heart of the English Lake District, has invited the Dark Mountain Project to run a short event on the afternoon of the 30th November. Paul Kingsnorth, Em Strang and Nick Hunt will introduce the work of Dark Mountain and read work from some of our books.

There are more details on the Trust’s website.


(Un)Natural Narratives

Date: Saturday, 15th February 2014
Time: 4pm - 5.30pm
Location: Standpoint Gallery, 45 Coronet Street, London N1 6HD

Grizedale web

As part of a month-long exhibition at this London gallery, Dark Mountain co-founder Paul Kingsnorth will be giving a talk and  chairing a discussion with the exhibited artists and the audience about our relationship to the rest of nature, biophilia, collapse, art and the role of the creator in an age of ecocide. Find out more here.

Dark Mountain poets at Wenlock

Date: Saturday, 26th April 2014
Time: 3 - 3.45pm
Location: Old Chapel House, Sheinton Street, Much Wenlock, Shropshire, TF13 6HT


Dark Mountain will be showcasing some of its poetry – and poets – at this year’s Wenlock Poetry Festival. Dark Mountain editor Nick Hunt will curate a session of readings from our books, and discussion of our work with other Dark Mountain-published poets. Find out more here.

Carrying The Fire

Discussions, talks, music and rolling conversation around the fire

Date: 16th — 18th May 2014
Time: 6am - 6pm daily
Location: Wiston Lodge, Lanarkshire, Scotland


For the third year, this Dark Mountain-inspired event returns to Wiston Lodge. Expect a weekend of writers, thinkers, performers and others, offering discussions, talks and music around the fire. An intimate festival of ideas, poetry, music, and performance, exploring the connections between the arts, ecology and cultural resilience.

Find out more, see the programme, and book your tickets, here.

New Stories at the cliff edge

A five-day Dark Mountain primer at Schumacher College

Date: 23rd — 27th June 2014
Location: Schumacher College, Dartington, Totnes, Devon. TQ9 6EA


This is a new five-day course at Schumacher College, led by Dark Mountain co-founders Dougald Hine and Paul Kingsnorth.

Over the course of this week, we invite you to join us in a process of prising apart the stories we grew up taking for granted – stories of inevitable ‘progress’, human centrality, technological and economic inevitability – and assembling new ones, capable of making sense of the world in which we find ourselves. During the five days of the course we will work together to understand the roots of our current situation.

This is a course for writers, artists, thinkers, doers – anyone who wants to rekindle their own creative relationship with a rapidly-changing world, and draw on radical ways of understanding our current situation. We will draw on poetry, history, philosophy and science as we seek to understand how our cultural stories have led us to the edge of a cliff, and we will use workshops, talks, discussions, exercises and expeditions beyond the classroom to help you see the beginnings of new stories to feed into your own life and work.

This is a chance to go deeper into the territory explored during the Uncivilisation festivals which Dark Mountain has run over the past four years, which have drawn together thinkers, writers, performers and activists from all over the world. Join us as we dig beneath our civilisation’s assumptions – and perhaps our own.

You can find out more, and book a place, here.

Stealing Fire from the Gods

Date: Thursday, 30th October 2014
Time: 6pm to 8pm
Location: Impact Hub Islington, London


The Prophets of Rock and Wave

Date: 14th — 16th November 2014
Location: Dartmoor, Devon, England



For the third year, we’re offering this popular writing and wilderness retreat, on the wilds of Dartmoor.

Whilst promising the Earth, civilisation divorces us from it. But the stories our civilisation tells about itself are now unravelling. The intensity of that unravelling propels us into even greater disconnection from the wild. The Dark Mountain Project and the Westcountry School of Myth and Story are collaborating for this unique writing, myth-making and wilderness workshop in the winter of 2014. It will pose a simple question: can we stand outside the wires and lights of modern living and, however briefly, re-forge a visceral engagement with the intelligence of the wild? Can we look at the human story, as it were, from outside?

Over a weekend spent in remote farm buildings, around fires and on the moors, we will explore what it means to un-civilise our writing and our selves. We will seek the place beyond the solitary intellect, where rather than dreaming we get dreamt. We will look to the creation of stories, poems, narratives and worldviews that are startling in their freshness, by walking beyond the usual dustbowls of the civilised world. Weather patterns, stone circles and deep pools of water will serve as teachers. Bring your dancing shoes. And waterproofs.

The course is led by Martin Shaw, Director of the Westcountry School of Myth and Story, and Paul Kingsnorth, Director of the Dark Mountain project. The weekend will combine writing workshops and exercises with moorland walks and fireside explorations. It will be active, outdoors and full of surprises. There will be no wifi connection or urban comforts.

The cost for the weekend is £200, including breakfast, evening meals and board. Numbers are limited to 25. No experience necessary – just enthusiasm. To reserve your place or find out more, email

Book Launch

For Issue 6 and the fifth anniversary edition of our Manifesto

Date: Wednesday, 3rd December 2014
Time: 6.45pm
Location: Free Word Centre, London


As Dark Mountain turns five years old, you are invited to join us for the launch of our sixth book, ‘The Rising of the Waters’ – and the launch of a new edition of the manifesto that got the whole thing started. From that first call for ‘uncivilised’ writing and art, the project has grown into a cultural movement which the New York Times recently described as ‘changing the environmental conversation in Britain and the rest of Europe’. At its heart are the Dark Mountain books, beautiful biannual hardback collections of stories and essays, poems, conversations and images. The latest issue brings you drowned cities and dragon-summoners, the future of farming and the mythworld of an Amazonian tribe, new visions arising from the wreckage of the old.

Featuring readings from contributors, acoustic music from Evi Vine and an introduction by Dark Mountain co-founder Dougald Hine.

The event is free, but you will need to book a place through the Free Word website:

Scaling the Dark Mountain – writing rooted in time & place

a Dark Mountain writing workshop

Date: Saturday, 13th December 2014
Time: 1pm - 3pm
Location: Oriel Wrecsam, Wales

winter woods photo

Writing new stories for the age of endings. ‘When the cities lie at the monster’s feet, there are left the mountains.’

The latest issue of Dark Mountain will be our springboard into the imagination. No writing experience is necessary – just bring an open, inquisitive mind and a sense of adventure. These sessions are perfect for engaging with your creativity, either as a seasoned writer, a curious beginner, or for people working in other artforms interested in trying something new.

Facilitated by Dark Mountain’s Sophie McKeand: To book please contact Oriel Wrecsam: T: 01978 292093. E: 1pm – 3pm. £10/£7 concessions.

This workshop is part of a series of divergent creative workshops commissioned by Oriel Wrecsam and supported by Arts Council Wales. They will run on the second Saturday of each month at Oriel Wrecsam, from1pm – 3pm, starting on 11th October. Contact Sophie for more details: e: t: 01978 363264

Shorelines Arts Festival

A Dark Mountain conversation in the west of Ireland

Date: Sunday, 20th September 2015
Time: 6.30pm - 7.30pm
Location: An Gairdin Ecology Centre, Portumna, County Galway, Ireland


Dark Mountain co-founder Paul Kingsnorth is in conversation with eco-poet Grace Wells at this Irish arts and literature festival, about Dark Mountain and its work. See the Shorelines website for more details.

Marmaduke Dando album launch

Date: Wednesday, 14th October 2015
Time: 7.30pm
Location: Power Lunches Arts Cafe, Kingsland Road, Dalston, London


Dark Mountain crooner Marmaduke Dando invites you to the London launch of his new album, Where the Wasteland Ends. Songs from the Bard of Disempire’s latest offering, plus some classics, and a support act, all for a measly £5.

If you are on Facebook, this page will give you some more details.

Dark Mountain 8 book launch

An evening of readings, music and conversation

Date: Thursday, 15th October 2015
Time: 7.30pm - 10.30pm
Location: Iklectik Art Lab, London


Please note: this is a free event, but due to limited space you will need to book a place through Eventbrite.

To celebrate the publication of Dark Mountain issue eight, on this very day, the DM team will be gathering in this London venue for an evening of music, readings, conversation and general merriment. Expect readings from contributors to the book – a special issue on our relationship with tools and technology –  music from Marmaduke Dando and In Gowan Ring,  and plenty of time for conversation, book buying and ordering at the bar.

Free tickets are available through Eventbrite – and you’ll find details of how to get to the venue on that page.

Carrying the Fire: Samhain

A weekend of stories and mystery in the wilds of Rannoch Moor

Date: 30th October — 1st November 2015
Time: 18.21pm
Location: Loch Ossian Hostel, Rannoch Moor


Time, the deer, is in the woods…

On Rannoch Moor in the Scottish Highlands, this October, at the turning point of the Celtic year, we invite you to join us for a weekend of performance, storytelling and participation.

The moment we step off the train at Corrour Station, we’ll be immersed in a celebration of the physical and cultural ecology of the moor, and our place within it. We’ll be delving into story, stillness and mystery.

Rannoch Moor in autumn, when the midges have gone and the deer-grass turns red, is a stunning, magical place. We’ll be staying at the Loch Ossian Hostel in the heart of the moor; a fine, remote base: simple, off-grid and cosy. We’ll have the place to ourselves. We’ll eat good, hearty food. We’ll sleep deep and rise early; and over the course of the weekend, we’ll listen in to the moor, slip under its skin, unearth a few of its stories and sing them back to the night.

There’s a train leaving Glasgow Queen Street at 18.21 on Friday, 30th October. We’ll be on it, heading north. We’ll be carrying fire. Will you come with us?

There are just 16 places available for this special event. For more information, or to book one for yourself, visit this website.

A Dark Mountain Conversation with Ansuman Biswas

Hosted by Dark Mountain co-founder Dougald Hine

Date: Friday, 6th November 2015
Time: 17:30-19:30
Location: Uppsala, Sweden


In a collaboration with Uppsala University’s Centre for Environment and Development Studies (CEMUS) and Riksteatern, we invite you to a conversation between the artist Ansuman Biswas and Dark Mountain co-founder Dougald Hine.

The shadow of climate change brings our ways of living into question. Against this backdrop, a series of international guests join us to initiate conversations that start with a performance, a story or an intervention that unsettles our assumptions about the world.

Our November guest is Ansuman Biswas, an artist whose work crosses boundaries between science, art and religion. From directing Shakespeare and translating the poetry of Tagore to collaborating with neuroscientists in Arizona, touring with Björk, running workshops on democracy in a Burmese monastery and spending 40 days locked in the tower of a Manchester museum.

In conversation with Dougald, Ansuman will discuss how we ground our thinking about ecological crisis within kinds of knowledge that have been overlooked or undervalued by the dominant culture.

Uppsala Stadsteater – 6 November 2015 – 17:30-19:30

Tickets are free but places are limited – register at the CEMUS website

The Village & The Forest

A night with the Dark Mountain Workshop & Ansuman Biswas

Date: Monday, 9th November 2015
Time: 18:00 - 21:00
Location: Stockholm, Sweden


The Village & The Forest is a meeting point on the boundary between worlds. A place where we ask each other to slow down, to resist the rush to action or to answers, to let our eyes adjust to the dark, until maybe we start to catch sight of the faint possibilities lurking out there, beyond the edge of the world as we have known it.

Dark Mountain co-founder Dougald Hine has been working with Riksteatern, Sweden’s national theatre, to create the Dark Mountain Workshop – a gang of artists from within and beyond the stage arts in Sweden gathers around the kinds of questions that Dark Mountain frames.

This is an underworld journey, a search for a new cultural language, capable of reframing the largest questions that the world is facing.

The Village & The Forest is where we open up these conversations and explorations to anyone who wants to join us. This is not the familiar space of performance or debate, but something more intimate and informal, a chance to meet the members of the workshop and our collaborators, and spend time.

Each month, the group is joined by an international guest artist who takes the floor for part of the evening. In November, our guest is Ansuman Biswas, an artist whose work crosses boundaries between science, art and religion. From directing Shakespeare and translating the poetry of Tagore to living with wandering minstrels in India, touring with Björk, running workshops on democracy in a Burmese monastery and spending forty days locked in the tower of a Manchester museum.

With Ansuman’s help, we’ll explore the body as underworld, the reality of our vulnerability as fleshy creatures and the ways in which our cultures have faced or avoided this reality.

Kägelbanan, Stockholm – Monday 9 November 2015 – 18.00-21.00

Tickets cost 80kr and are available through the Södra Teatern website.