Tara FitzGerald Wins Waterston Desert Writing Prize

Winning author and finalist to read at ceremony on June 28 at High Desert Museum.

What happens when a sea becomes a desert, and when a sea people therefore become a desert people? This is the question Waterston Desert Writing Prize winning author Tara FitzGerald considered in her submission No Water of Their Own. FitzGerald will receive her award and read from her work at the High Desert Museum on June 28 at 6:30pm, along with finalist Kenneth Garcia. The event is free and open to the public.

“The Museum is pleased to host this reception and award ceremony which exemplifies artistic excellence and sensitivity to place,” said Whitelaw. “The Aral Sea was once considered one of the four largest saline lakes in the world, but due to the diversion of two major rivers for agricultural needs, the basin’s water levels have drastically decreased with dramatic consequences.”

In FitzGerald’s submission, No Water of Their Own, she also proposes to explore what will happen to the desert formed on the desiccated sea bed if the sea does come back. Currently living in Brooklyn, NY, FitzGerald holds a BA in English Language and Literature from Oxford University. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in Guernica, Vela and The Common, among others. FitzGerald was based in Mexico City for six years as a freelance report, writing for publications including Monocle, Wallpaper, Esquire Latin America, Food and Wine and Departures Magazine. Prior to her work in Mexico, she was a staff writer for Reuters news agency, based in the United Kingdom, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.

Joining FitzGerald will be finalist Kenneth Garcia, South Bend, IN, for his submission, The House of Radiant Colors: A Memoir. Garcia’s submission describes his experience working for a mining exploration company in northeastern Nevada during his late teens, where he worked alongside a geologist who saw no beauty in the natural world.

Second finalist, Kimberly Meyer of Houston, Texas, will not be able to attend the reception. Her submission Sewage Pilgrimage is an account of her journey as she retraced the pilgrimage of a Dominican priest, Felix Fabri, who had traveled to the Holy Land and Mount Sinai in 1483, and the current issue of raw sewage being dumped into the region’s Kidron River, making this cultural and spiritual treasure a wasteland.
Now in its second year, the Waterston Desert Writing Prize, created by local poet and author Ellen Waterston, annually honors literary nonfiction with the desert as both subject and setting. In addition to the reading and reception at the High Desert Museum, the Prize recognizes the winner with a $1,500 cash award and a four-week residency at PLAYA in Summer Lake, Oregon.

The award ceremony is free and open to the public and includes a hosted wine bar with hors d’oeuvres. The program starts with a reception at 6:30 pm and will be followed by readings from the writers. Please RSVP at highdesertmuseum.org/rsvp or call Ann Arbow for additional information at 541-382-4754.




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