Waterston Desert Writing Prize Program {up to $3,000 Cash prize}


The Waterston Desert Writing Prize was founded in 2014 and is inspired by Ellen Waterston’s profound connection to the High Desert which served as her creative muse for over four decades.

Waterston Desert Writing Prize Program {up to $3,000 Cash prize}
Waterston Desert Writing Prize Program {up to $3,000 Cash prize}

This Program honours writers who share a similar bond with the desert, acknowledging the crucial role deserts play in both the natural world and human narratives.

In 2024, the Prize will award $3,000 in cash and host a reading and reception at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon, on September 26, 2024.

To be part of the competition, you need to apply.

All applications will be reviewed by the Waterston Desert Writing Prize Advisory Committee, with the winner and finalists chosen by the guest judge.

To mark its tenth anniversary, the 2024 guest judge will be actor and producer Sam Waterston, the original endowment funder.

The keynote speaker at the ceremony will be Tucker Malarkey, a bestselling author renowned for her work on conservation and wildlife preservation.

Benefits of the Waterston Desert Writing Prize Program 

  • The 2024 Prize includes a $3,000 cash award and a reading and reception at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon, on September 26, 2024.


  • The Prize is open to nonfiction writers who demonstrate artistic excellence, a deep connection to the desert, and a keen understanding of desert literacy, utilizing the desert as both subject and setting.
  • To apply, you should be working on or proposing a book-length manuscript in literary nonfiction, with the writing sample aligning closely with the proposed project in content and style.

How to apply

To apply, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Complete the online application form and submit it after January 2nd, 2024. Make sure that the form is the only place where your identifying information like your name, address, and email will appear.

Step 2 : Upload ONE Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF file containing the following:

Biographical Statement

A one-page, double-spaced document detailing your educational, professional, and writing experience, along with how the Prize will support your work and your commitment to desert literature.

Proposal Title and Description

A one-page, double-spaced document including the project’s title, a brief project description, desert locations involved, and how the project contributes to desert literature.

Writing Sample

1 to 10 double-spaced pages showcasing your writing skills and connection to the desert.

Note: Budget information is not required.

Step 3: You need to submit all materials via Submittable by the deadline of 11:59 pm on Wednesday, May 1, 2024.

Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

To get more information, click here: https://highdesertmuseum.org/waterston-prize. If you have questions to ask, Email waterston@highdesertmuseum.org for help.


Fully Funded Scholarships for International Students in Canada

 Iris Prize 2024 (Up to $15,000 Grant Available) | How to Apply

J.P. Morgan Jumpstart Internship Program | How to Apply Now

 Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists (Up to $30,000 Available) | How to Apply!

Leaders of Tomorrow Digital Exchange Program | Apply Now!