Rebecca Lawton

Creative Nonfiction Writer

Bend, OR
Oregon US

Author's Bio

Rebecca Lawton is an award-winning author, scientist, and former river guide focused on language, nature, conservation, and water. Her essays and stories have been in Aeon, Audubon, Orion, The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, Sierra, and many other journals. She has published nine books on water, science, and the outdoors, and has teamed with other researchers on numerous technical articles. Rebecca guided commercially and served as a National Park Service river ranger on the Colorado in Grand Canyon and other rivers for fourteen seasons. She has researched and presented on climate and water communication, as a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair, invited speaker, and freelance writer. From 2018-2020, she served as Executive Director of PLAYA Residency Program for Artists and Scientists, Summer Lake, OR. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Northwest Scientific Association.

Publications & Prizes

The Oasis The Time: Living and Dying with Water in the West (Torrey House Press, 2020)
Sacrament: Homage to a River (Heyday Books, 2014)
Reading Water: Lessons from the River (Capital Books, 2002)
Prizes won: 

Winner, 2019 Nautilus Book Award, Silver, Ecology and Environment, for The Oasis This Time. April 2020.

Finalist, 2020 Oregon Book Award and 2019 Foreword INDIE Ecology and Environment Book Award, for The Oasis This Time. 2020.

Hemera Foundation Fellowship for Artists, Spirit Rock Insight Meditation Center. Woodacre, CA. 2017 and 2019.

Finalist, 2018 Everything Change Climate Fiction Contest, Arizona State University Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative. Tempe, AZ. For “Tuolumne River Days.” Judged by Kim Stanley Robinson. 2018.

Fulbright Canada RBC Eco Leadership Program Award. Ottawa, ON. 2017.

Fellow, International League of Conservation Writers. Golden, CO. 2017 to present.

Nominee, Best American Science and Nature Writing (for “Midnight at the Oasis”). 2016.

Writing Residencies, PLAYA, Summer Lake, OR. 2015, 2017.

Residency, U.C. Irvine Steele-Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center, Borrego Springs, CA. 2015.

Fulbright Visiting Research Chair. University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. 2014-15.

Waterston Desert Writing Prize (for The Oasis this Time). Bend, OR. 2015.

WILLA Award, Original Softcover Fiction (for Junction, Utah). Women Writing the West. Golden, CO. 2014.

Writing Residencies, Hedgebrook Retreat for Women Writers. Langley, WA. 2009, 2013.

Resident Fellowship, The Island Institute. Sitka, AK. September 2011.

Pushcart Prize Nominations. Fiction, “The Road to Bonanza,” Midway Journal, June 2011; Nonfiction, “Faith in the Dry Season,” Tiny Lights. Petaluma, CA: Tiny Lights Publications, 2001; Poetry, “On Hearing about Ted,” the acorn: a journal of the Western Sierra. El Dorado, CA: El Dorado Writers' Guild, 1995.

Poetry Award, 21st Annual Mendocino Coast Writer’s Conference. Fort Bragg, CA. For “Passage,” “Where I Grew Up,” and “Burying the Barn Owl.” Judged by Alison Luterman. 2010.

First Place, Poetry Competition, Redwood Writers Branch of California Writers Club. Santa Rosa, CA. For “Journal.” Judged by former Sonoma County Poet Laureates Terry Ehret and Mike Tuggle. 2009.

Finalist, David Nathan Meyerson Fiction Prize. Southwest Review. Southern Methodist University. Dallas, TX. For “The Road to Bonanza.” Judged by Alice Hoffman. 2009.

Finalist, Chautauqua Fiction Prize. For “The Wish.” Wilmington, NC: Chatauqua Institution. Judged by David Crouse. 2009.

Desert Writer Award. Ellen Meloy Fund. Bluff, UT. 2006.

Residency Awarded, Mesa Refuge. Oakland, CA. 2006.

Finalist, Nature Book of the Year Award. ForeWord Magazine. Traverse City, MI. For Reading Water: Lessons from the River. 2003.

Personal Essay Award. Tiny Lights: Journal of Personal Narrative. Petaluma, CA. For “Scalping the Games.” Judged by Susan Bono. 2001.

You Are Here Sonoma County Writing Award. Sebastopol Center for the Arts. Sebastopol, CA. For “Questions for the Creek.” Judged by Elizabeth Carothers Herron. 2000.

Poetry Award. Utah Wilderness Association Review. Salt Lake City, UT. For “Ghost of a River.” May 1993.

William Warner Henry Writing Award. Mills College, CA. For “On the Whiteness of the Whale.” April 1993.

Personal Favorites

What I'm reading now: 
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

More Information

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Oakland, CA
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: Jun 18, 2020