Tim Cahill: ‘Literate Outdoor Writing’ Isn’t Done Yet

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  06.29.10 | 9:18 AM ET

In the San Jose Mercury News, World Hum contributor Peter Delevett interviews Tim Cahill about the origins of Outside magazine, risk and fear on assignment, and the state of outdoor writing in America today. Money quote:

Here was the main idea behind Outside: We were tasked to come up with an outdoor magazine, and three of us spent about six months reading every magazine there was. And they were all service-oriented: they’d tell you how to paddle a canoe the right way. Our concept was that there’s a great strain in American literature of outdoor writing, from James Fenimore Cooper through Herman Melville through Mark Twain through Hemingway and Faulkner, and that we could continue that strain of literate outdoor writing. And at first, in 1976, we were made fun of, because it was thought by a lot of the critics, “Literate people don’t go outdoors.”

Well, once again that great strain in literature has been subsumed, this time by technology. I think it always will come back; just in what form and how is the question.

Cahill’s “Road Fever” appeared in our list of the 100 Most Celebrated Travel Books of All Time. He also offered his thoughts on creating “literature adventure stories” in this video.


Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.


1 Comment for Tim Cahill: ‘Literate Outdoor Writing’ Isn’t Done Yet

Hike Alabama 08.03.10 | 3:51 AM ET

Very cool blog keep up the rockin work!

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