Submissions for the 2017 Prize are Closed.

Thank you to everyone who submitted.

Winners and finalists will be announced later in April 2017.


2017 Waterston Desert Writing Prize

Award Reception and Ceremony

SaVe THe Date! wednesday, June 28, 2017

High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon

The winner and finalists of the 2017 Waterston Desert Writing Prize will be honored at a reception and ceremony Wednesday, June 28 at the High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon. This year's event will include "A Desert Conversation" with John Calderazzo and Kathleen Dean Moore.

New This Year! Writer and celebrated creative nonfiction teacher John Calderazzo will be a guest judge for the 2017 Prize, and will conduct a nature writing workshop on June 28. He is professor of English, Emeritus, at Colorado State University and a "Best CSU Teacher" whose writing workshops urge students to recognize and pursue the stories that float around us everywhere, all the time. His essays, poems, and stories have appeared in Audubon, Georgia Review, High Country News, North American Review, Orion, Witness, Best American Nature Writing and many other venues. His books include Writing from Scratch: Freelancing, a children's science book, a poetry chapbook, and Rising Fire: Volcanoes and Our Inner Lives. Calderazzo's students have won many Colorado Book Awards, an Oregon Book Award, and a Pulitzer in newspaper feature writing, and many others.


Kathleen Dean Moore is a writer, moral philosopher, and environmental thought-leader, devoted to an unrelenting defense of the future against those who would pillage and wreck the planet.

Kathleen Dean Moore.jpg

As a writer, Kathleen is best known for award-winning books of essays that celebrate and explore the meaning of the wet, wild world of rivers, islands, and tidal shores - Riverwalking, Holdfast, Pine Island Paradox, and Wild Comfort. But her growing alarm at the devastation of the natural world led her to focus her writing on the moral urgency of action against climate change and habitat destruction. Quitting her university position, Kathleen began to write in defense of the lovely, reeling world, including her new book, Great Tide Rising: Finding Clarity and Moral Courage to Confront Climate Change, which is a finalist for an Oregon Book Award. Her prior book, Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, gathered testimony from the world's moral leaders about our obligation to the future. Kathleen's first novel, Piano Tide, was published in 2017.

Her essays are widely published and anthologized, appearing in magazines such as High Country News, Orion, Discover, Audubon, Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, New York Times Magazine, Conservation Biology, and many others. Her writing has been honored by awards that include the Oregon Book Award, a Choice magazine Outstanding Book Award, and the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award.

A moral philosopher, Kathleen holds a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. For many years, she taught critical thinking and environmental ethics as Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University. While at OSU, she co-founded and for many years directed the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, where she now serves as Senior Fellow.

Two years ago, Moore left the University in order to write and speak full-time about the moral urgency of action to stop fossil fuels and the consequent global warming. She has addressed audiences ranging from 350.org activists to Nobel Conference scholars to Disneyworld executives and students all over the country.