Waterston Desert Writing Prize
Diana Woodcock – 2018 Finalist
Diana Woodcock’s submission, “The Gobi Desert and its Muslim Inhabitants,” will articulate the story of the Gobi Desert and the Hui—how centuries ago Arab Silk Road traders passed through it en route to the Orient, bringing Islam with them. Her work will capture and juxtapose the calming silence and stark, though comforting, nature of desert places while also exploring and documenting the devastating damage being done as chemical factories disgorge black plumes of smoke into clear desert air.
For nearly eight years, she lived in Tibet, Macau, and on the Thai-Cambodian border teaching and working with refugees. Since 2004, she has been teaching creative writing, environmental literature and composition at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. She is the author of three full-length collections of poetry: Tread Softly, Under the Spell of a Persian Nightingale; and Swaying on the Elephant’s Shoulders, and seven chapbooks. Woodcock’s work has also appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Woodcock is based in Midlothian, Virginia.