The Waterston Desert Writing Prize has announced a new award focused on writing about the Oregon High Desert — open only to high-school students in Central Oregon. The winner, to be notified in early April, will receive a $250 cash prize and will be celebrated at the prize’s annual award ceremony at the High Desert Museum on June 24.

The competition is open to students in grades nine through 12, in public or private school, or home-schooled, who live in Crook, Deschutes or Jefferson counties. Students may submit essays of 750 to 1,000 words from January 1 through February 29, 2020. The essays may address any aspect of the Oregon High Desert and will be judged on their contribution to the understanding and appreciation of the high desert area of Oregon, originality, clarity of expression, accuracy, and grammar, spelling and punctuation. Submissions will be judged on a blind jury basis by the prize’s board of directors.

The mission of the Waterston Desert Writing Prize is to strengthen and support the literary arts and humanities in the high desert region of the Northwest through recognition of literary excellence in nonfiction writing about desert landscapes, through community interaction with the winning authors of the annual prize, and presentations and programs that take place in association with the prize.

For more information about the Waterston Desert Writing Prize, the new high school student award, and how to enter the contest, visit www.waterstondesertwritingprize.org/student-contest.