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Writer Ellen Waterston joins OSU-Cascades MFA as faculty author

Ellen Waterston has joined the OSU-Cascades MFA in Creative Writing program as a faculty author
Ellen Waterston has joined the OSU-Cascades MFA in Creative Writing program as a faculty author

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Award-winning author and poet Ellen Waterston has joined the faculty of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Oregon State University–Cascades.

“We’re thrilled to bring Ellen’s literary voice and passion for writing and writers to the MFA in Creative Writing,” said Jennifer Reimer Recio, director of the MFA program and an assistant professor of American studies at OSU-Cascades. “She is a wonderful addition to our talented faculty authors and will be an inspiration to MFA students and alumni.”

Waterston will teach writing courses and mentor graduate student writers in creative nonfiction.

“As a former New Englander who came west to ranch decades ago, I look forward to sharing my love of writing, teaching, and this unique high desert landscape with OSU-Cascades students,’ said Waterston. “I am honored to join the outstanding writers on the OSU-Cascades low-residency MFA faculty.

Waterston has written three literary nonfiction titles, including most recently, “Walking the High Desert: Encounters with Rural America Along the Oregon Desert Trail.”  Other titles include a collection of essays, “Where the Crooked River Rises,” and a memoir, “Then There Was No Mountain.” Of her four poetry titles, “Hotel Domilocos” is her most recent collection. Waterston adapted her verse novel, “Vía Láctea” to a libretto that premiered as a full-length opera in 2016 and is slated for a second staging in 2022.

Waterston is a two-time WILLA Award winner in poetry, the winner of the Obsidian Prize in Poetry, and a WILLA and a Foreword finalist in literary nonfiction.

Waterston founded, and for more than a decade directed, The Nature of Words, a nonprofit based in Bend that hosted an annual literary festival and offered year-round creative writing workshops.

She was instrumental in developing the MFA program at OSU-Cascades and prepared the feasibility study that helped move the degree forward for formal approval. The MFA program launched in 2013.

In 2007, Waterston was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from OSU-Cascades in recognition of her achievements as an author and literary arts advocate.

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