Chris Woodside is a writer and editor who lives in the lower Connecticut River Valley. She writes about the intersection of ordinary American life and nature. Her topics are backcountry adventure, the environment and the American way of life.
Arcade Publishing will bring out her first biography, Libertarians on the Prairie, on September 6. Chris takes apart a myth that the settlement of the frontier in the 1880s was mainly a courageous story of individualism. Laura wrote the Little House books with her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, a mover in the libertarian movement, and the books emphasized the values of independence and economic freedom.
Book Events: Come hear Chris read from Libertarians on the Prairie at the Avid Reader at Tower in Sacramento, California, Friday, September 23 at 6 p.m.
Chris was born in Philadelphia at the tail end of the baby boom, fourth of five children. The family moved to Princeton, New Jersey when she was four. She grew up in the public schools of her hometown, and studied American civilization at the University of Pennsylvania. There she also devoted untold hours to the Daily Pennsylvanian. That training led her to newspapers large and small for 18 years. She has been self-employed, writing magazine articles and books, since 2000.
Chris is the editor of Appalachia journal, the mountaineering publication with the literary bent published since 1876 by the Appalachian Mountain Club. She has helped give a start to emerging writers like Blair Braverman, Sally Manikian, Bethany Taylor, John Gioia, and Michael Wejchert. She also has edited the work of established writers including Doug Mayer of Cartalk (a devoted mountain runner), groundbreaking climber Laura Waterman, Thoreau scholar Will Howarth, and novelist Kristen Laine. Chris's own stories in Appalachia, include a profile of the Episcopal priest who first climbed Denali, a portrait of Appalachian Trail thru-hiker guru Warren Doyle, and a personal essay on her 1987 AT thru-hike with her husband and two friends. Read that story here.
She edits Connecticut Woodlands, for the Connecticut Forest & Park Association, the venerable trail-maintaining and conservation nonprofit.
She has written for The New York Times (on the coast and landscape of Connecticut, and hiking with her young daughters. Her other outlets include Audubon, Popular Mechanics Online, the Washington Post, the Hartford Courant, and many more.
Chris lives in a yellow house built in 1880. She always dreamed of living in a little yellow house. For more on Chris's life and its influences on her writing, see the Woodside Field Guide.