Press Release – Submission Deadline Approaches for Waterston Desert Writing Prize

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Contact: Heidi Hagemeier, director of communications and visitor experience, 541-382-4754 ext. 166,

Submission Deadline Approaches for the Waterston Desert Writing Prize

BEND, OR — Calling all writers! Submissions for the 10th annual Waterston Desert Writing Prize close May 1, 2024. This prestigious award, a program of the High Desert Museum, celebrates proposals for outstanding literary nonfiction dedicated to the literal and figurative exploration of desert landscapes.

This year’s winner will receive a $3,000 cash award and be recognized with a reception and reading at the Museum in Bend, Oregon on September 26, 2024. Tickets are available now at The winner and finalists will be selected by the 2024 guest judge Sam Waterston – renowned actor and brother of Prize founder Ellen Waterston.

Known for his work in theater, television and film, Sam Waterston gained stardom portraying DA  Jack McCoy on the NBC crime series Law & Order (1994–2010, 2022–), for which he has received a Screen Actors Guild AwardGolden Globe Award and Emmy Award. Waterston will announce the 2024 winner and address attendees during the Waterston Desert Writing Prize ceremonies either on video or in person alongside the 2024 Prize winner and the 2024 keynote speaker, Tucker Malarkey, who will attend in person.

Nationally bestselling author of the critically acclaimed and national bestselling novels An Obvious Enchantment and Resurrection, Malarkey’s first major work of nonfiction, Stronghold, describes one man’s journey to save salmon habitat in the U.S. and Russia. Stronghold was an editor’s pick for The New York TimesNational Book ReviewOutside and Forbes. With a career that began at The Washington Post, Malarkey’s love of human culture and wilderness have since taken her all over the world.

The Prize was established in 2014, inspired by author and poet Ellen Waterston’s love of the High Desert — a region that has been her muse for more than 40 years. The Waterston Desert Writing Prize celebrates writers whose nonfiction book proposal reflects a similar connection to a desert, recognizing the vital role deserts play in ecosystems and the human narrative.

Emerging, mid-career and established nonfiction writers who illustrate artistic excellence, sensitivity to place and desert literacy with the desert as both subject and setting are invited to apply. The award supports literary nonfiction writers who are completing, proposing or considering the creation of a book-length manuscript. It is recommended that the writing sample submitted is part of the proposed project or closely represents it in content and style.

To learn more about the Waterston Desert Writing Prize and how to submit an entry, visit The Prize is possible with support from The Source Weekly. Submissions will be accepted through May 1, 2024.


THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence and was a 2021 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.