Ellen Waterston

Instructor, MFA in Creative Writing

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Ellen Waterston has published three literary nonfiction titles, including Walking the High Desert: Encounters with Rural America Along the Oregon Desert Trail (University of Washington Press, 2020). Other prose titles include Where the Crooked River Rises, a collection of essays (Oregon State University Press, 2010), and a memoir, Then There Was No Mountain (Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group, 2003). Of her four poetry titles Hotel Domilocos (Moonglade Press, 2017) is her most recent collection. She adapted her verse novel, Vía Láctea (Atelier 6000, 2013), to a libretto that premiered in 2016 as a full-length opera and is slated for a second staging in 2022.

Waterston founded and for over a decade directed The Nature of Words in Bend that hosted an annual literary festival and offered year-round creative writing workshops. In 2020, the High Desert Museum adopted the Waterston Desert Writing Prize which Waterston founded in 2015. The Writing Ranch, established by Waterston in 2000, specializes in writing workshops and retreats held annually in Mexico and the United States.

Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. In addition to fellowships and grants, awards include WILLA and Foreword finalist in literary nonfiction, two-time WILLA Award Winner in Poetry, the winner of the Obsidian Prize in Poetry and, in recognition of her achievements as an author and literary arts advocate, an honorary Ph.D. in Humane Letters from OSU-Cascades. A former New Englander who came West to ranch, she regards the high desert as her muse and greatest teacher. Read more at www.writingranch.com.