Waterston – Taylor Perse

Waterston Desert Writing Prize

Taylor Perse – 2023 Finalist

Taylor Perse is pleased to be a 2023 Waterston Prize Finalist, recognized for the project “Return to the Oregon Desert” a collaboration undertaken alongside writer and photographer Bob Keefer. Originally from the scenic Willamette Valley, Taylor has also sought diverse experiences and perspectives, fostering a deep connection with different landscapes and cultures. This exploration has taken her from living in the rolling hills of rural Spain to living near jungles of Central America.

Taylor spent several years as a journalist for Eugene Weekly, a weekly paper based out of Lane County, Oregon. She wrote a variety of stories and topics including investigative journalism, news stories, and features on the Oregon desert. During her years as a journalist she has won awards for her writing from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Raised amid the greenery of western part of Oregon, Taylor developed a profound connection with her home state at a young age, and has spent much time hiking, horseback riding, and camping. An advanced Spanish speaker and fueled by a passion for exploration, she has traversed the landscapes, uncovering the unique cultural pockets hidden within Oregon’s diverse regions.

Taylor’s dedication to unraveling the mystery and complexity of Oregon’s high desert defines her unique contribution to the cultural narrative. At the core of “Return to the Oregon Desert” is the mission to challenge stereotypes and present Oregon’s high desert as more than a tourist destination. Through their work, Taylor and Bob aim to showcase the region’s significance in shaping the cultural tapestry of the state. With a nod to ranch life, one-room schoolhouses, burgeoning art scenes, and the nuanced culture wars, “Return to the Oregon Desert” is a sincere effort to share the love for this untouched realm with a broader audience.