Waterston Desert Writing Prize
Leath Tonino – 2020 Finalist
Leath Tonino’s submission, “Nooks and Crannies: Mapping the (Unmappable) Waterpocket Fold with Prose Vignettes.” is a documentation of his outdoor encounters in this iconic location. For 15 years, Tonino has been exploring Utah’s Waterpocket Fold, the sandstone that forms the spine of Capitol Reef National Park. Tonino says, “The version of desert literacy that I hope to advance has less to do with knowing what a place is and more to do with a distinct style of engagement, i.e. how to be with our not-knowing, with the fact that we simply can’t reduce the Fold to one interpretation or understanding.”
Tonino is a full-time freelance writer who sold his earliest magazine stories while still an undergraduate at Colorado College where he studied philosophy and ecology. He has made some 50 backcountry trips on the Colorado Plateau, in the Mojave Desert, and across the Great Basin. HIs creative nonfiction (150 pieces and counting) has appeared in Outside, Men’s Journal, Orion, The Sun, High Country News, Sierra, The Progressive, and Adventure Journal. Tonino also is the author of a forthcoming book of nature poems (Green Writers Press, 2020) and two essay collections published by Trinity University Press.