Waterston – Kimberly Meyer

Waterston Desert Writing Prize

Kimberly Meyer – 2016 Finalist

Finalist Kimberly Meyer’s submission, “Sewage Pilgrimage,” is an account of her journey as she retraced the pilgrimage of a Dominican priest, Felix Fabri, who had traveled to the Holy Land and Mount Sinai in 1483. For almost two months, Meyer followed the priest’s path, eventually crossing from Israel into the wilderness of the Sinai Desert. Meyer discovered that 12 million gallons of raw sewage a day pour out of Jerusalem into the Kidron River that traverses both Israel and the Palestinian Territories, making this cultural and spiritual treasure a wasteland, held hostage to the political impasse between its leaders.

Meyer completed her PhD in 2008, and began teaching in a Great Books program at the Honors College at the University of Houston. Funded by a Houston Arts Alliance Established Artist Grant, she retraced Fabri’s path with her eldest daughter the summer after the Arab Spring. Those intertwined pilgrimages—his and ours—became the basis for The Book of Wanderings, written in part during a month-long Full Residency Fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center, and published in 2015 by Little, Brown.