Waterston Desert Writing Prize
Michael Kula – 2019 Finalist
Michael Kula’s submission, “A Track Alone in the Sand,” will complete fieldwork in northern Sudan along the Sahara/Nubian desert to develop a creative nonfiction account of the bicycle travels of Kazimierz Nowak from 1931 to 1936 across the deserts of Africa, as seen through environmental, historical, and cultural lenses. Kula has an eclectic background which includes coursework in six foreign languages. His current position is in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, Tacoma, where he is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing.
His writing has focused on both creative nonfiction and historical fiction, and for it he has received awards from the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and the US National Parks Service, which selected him as Writer-in-Residence for the Homestead National Monument. Kula has published more than a dozen essays and short stories, as well as a novel, The Good Doctor, which was released by a publisher that specializes in books that are “rooted in the land” and seek to “capture the physical places we inhabit.” His own desert experiences include travels in the Oregon high desert and the deserts of Utah and Arizona, and for his proposed project he conducted fieldwork in the Namib and the Kalahari deserts of southern Africa.