Chris Woodside is a writer and editor who lives in the lower Connecticut River Valley and explores the higher country of New England. She writes about the intersection of ordinary American life and nature. Her topics are backcountry adventure, the environment and the American way of life.
Her new book is out—Arcade Publishing has produced a biography many years in the making, Libertarians on the Prairie. 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.
Libertarians on the Prairie News and Events:
All are invited to Chris's book launch party at the historic Hyland House in Guilford, Connecticut, Tuesday, October 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. Thanks to the Hyland House, Breakwater Books, and Jenifer McShane for organizing this event! Books will be for sale and refreshments that Laura Ingalls Wilder herself would have loved will be served.
Chris will be a guest on the Colin McEnroe Show on Connecticut Public Radio on October 19.
Mary Pilon interviews Chris in this Longreads piece on Melissa Gilbert, politics, and the Little House phenomenon.
Neil J. Young recommends Libertarians on the Prairie in Episode 51 of the Past Present Podcast.
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 and worked with established writers. 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. Learn more about her approach to editing wilderness essays in this favorite blog interview (by Sandy Stott) here.
She edits Connecticut Woodlands magazine for the Connecticut Forest & Park Association, the venerable trail-maintaining and conservation nonprofit.
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.