Waterston Desert Writing Prize
Eli Beck – 2020 Finalist
Eli Beck’s submission, “Rude Awakenings,” will be an examination of wilderness therapy programs in the Four Corners region of New Mexico. He will weave in the fraught natural and political history of the landscapes that these young people find themselves in, and describe the ‘minimal impact’ these teenagers are taught in their interactions with the land. Beck says, “My hope in writing this book is to allow the unexamined habits of our culture to appear in full contrast against the backdrop of the desert, and to promote a message of reconciliation among our fractured landscapes, families and selves.”
Beck is an emerging writer and Utah native who has been published in the Canyon Echo Journal. Since graduating from Brown University in 2018 with a degree in Education Studies, he has been working in wilderness therapy as a field instructor in the high desert of eastern Utah. He spends a week at a time living with teens who were struggling at home, helping them to adapt and to look inside themselves.