DESERTS: The First Five Years of the Waterston Desert Writing Prize



Twenty-five years ago, Rebecca Lawton and I appeared together in an anthology, Walking the Twilight: Women Writers of the Southwest (Northland Publishing, 1994). I worked as an editor at Northland, my desk a mess of manuscripts set beside the biggest picture window I have ever seen, where ponderosa pines grounded me through glass as I worked this coveted but indoor job. When Becca’s story reached the top of the pile and I opened her manilla envelope, I was instantly lifted up out of the stale room and dropped into the wild depths of Grand Canyon, in love with a man who slept in his boots.

I knew immediately that “What I Never Told You” was not only a fit but would help shape the book, my first as an editor.

Since that initial phone call, the one where I got to say, “I want to include your story,” Becca’s and my writing connection and friendship has deepened and thrived. 

Now, as the first winner of the Waterston Desert Writing Prize, Becca is the leader of the pack of writers included in Deserts.


As a 2018 finalist, I am in there, too.


Together again.

Many thanks to Ellen Waterston and Louise Hawker for taking on this monumental task! The book can be ordered at



11 thoughts on “DESERTS: The First Five Years of the Waterston Desert Writing Prize

  1. Fantastic! Of course, when I went to the website, their link to order didn’t work. But I emailed them, and will call later today. Just finished Becca’s book of short stories — wow, what a great collection. Of course, I’d read that first one before, when Twilight came out. But I think I’d also read the one about the Rogue flooding before also. T.

    • Hey, mahalo for reading and helping with posting pics and ordering the book! Or trying to. I was able to order one, but not directly through the link above. Not sure why. So glad you read Becca’s STEELIES. “What I Never Told You” is one of my favorite stories ever!

  2. Great news, Kat! Your post sent me running for my copy of Walking the Twilight to reread Rebecca’s story and your very lovely “Introduction.” Special treats for my day. I have ordered Deserts.

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