Writing Award Deadline Approaches | MyCentralOregon.com


Writers only have a few days a month to submit their work for the High Desert Museum’s 2022 Waterston Desert Writing Prize. Submissions will be accepted until Sunday, May 1 at 11:59 p.m.

The award honors literary non-fiction that exemplifies artistic excellence, sensitivity to place, and desert literacy with the desert as both subject and setting. The award supports non-fiction literary writers who complete a book-length manuscript focused on any desert region.

The price rose to $3,000 this year. The winner also receives a residency at PLAYA at Summer Lake, an arts and science residency campus located in Summer Lake, Oregon, and will be presented at a reception and awards ceremony at the Museum in Bend, Oregon. in September 2022.

Inspired by author and poet Ellen Waterston’s love of the high desert, a region that has been her muse for more than 30 years, the award recognizes the vital role that deserts worldwide play in the ecosystem and the human story. In 2020, the High Desert Museum, which has long hosted events for the Prize, adopted the program.

“With less than a month remaining in the submission window, we anticipate a wealth of challenging work,” said Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “The Waterston Desert Writing Prize submissions take us into the deserts all over the world.”

The 2021 Waterston Desert Writing Prize winner was Ceal Klingler (lookwhereyoulive.net) for “How we live with each other”. Klingler’s submission addressed how animals, plants and other organisms have created habitable places with each other at the hard limits of heat, cold, dehydration, floods and fires at the overlap. westernmost of the Mojave and Great Basin deserts.

The 2021 finalists were Charles Hood (workman.com/authors/charles-hood) for “Deserts After Dark” and Joe Wilkins for “Desert Reckoning” (joewilkins.org).

To learn more about the Waterston Desert Writing Prize and how to submit an entry, visit highdesertmuseum.org/waterston-prize.

The High Desert Museum is delighted to also announce the return of the Waterston Student Essay Competition, open to young writers from Crook, Deschutes, Harney, Jefferson and Lake counties. It is open to students in grades nine through twelfth, in public or private school, or home-schooled. Students may submit essays of 750 to 1,000 words of non-fiction prose to [email protected] through May 1, 2022. Submissions will be judged on originality, clarity of expression, accuracy, and their contribution to the understanding and appreciation of desert regions.

To learn more about the Waterston Student Essay Competition and how to submit an entry, visit highdesertmuseum.org/waterston-student-prize.


THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonders of North America’s high desert. The museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is an affiliate of the Smithsonian, was the 2019 recipient of the Charles Redd Award for Excellence in Exhibiting from the Western Museums Association and was a 2021 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. To learn more, visit highdesertmuseum.org and follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter.


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