Ellen Waterston is a literary arts advocate and award-winning poet and author. Before coming to PLAYA as executive director, she founded and for twelve years directed the Nature of Words, a literary arts nonprofit based in Bend, Oregon. The Waterston Desert Writing Prize, established in 2014, is awarded annually to nonfiction projects concerning deserts. Waterston authored the feasibility study for what is now the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing at OSU-Cascades in Bend. The Writing Ranch, founded in 2000, offers writing workshops and retreats for emerging and established writers. Waterston’s fourth volume of poetry, Hotel Domilocos, was released April 2017. Her verse novel Vía Láctea, A Woman of a Certain Age Walks the Camino, her third collection, she converted to a libretto. It premiered as a full-length opera in 2016 and is slated for a second staging in 2018. Prose titles include Where the Crooked River Rises, a collection of Waterston’s award-winning essays, and a memoir, Then There Was No Mountain. She is at work on a nonfiction book that examines land use issues in the high desert and is due out from University of Washington Press in 2018.

John Martin grew up in the mid-west, attended college in California, and hasn’t left the west coast since. He was a landscape contractor in California and Oregon for thirty-seven years, has written poetry since high school, and worked with the literary non-profit, The Nature of Words, in Bend, Oregon for several years before eventually coming to PLAYA. John’s first full length poetry collection, Hold This, was published July 2017 by Concrete Wolf Press as a result of winning the 2016 Louis Prize for poetry manuscripts at Concrete Wolf. The book will be available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and IndieBound.

Conditioned and trained to sit behind a desk and operate a computer, Michael escaped his former life and now spends as much of his day outside as possible. He prefers extreme weather but also loves a nice spring morning.

You may find him pulling weeds at PLAYA or riding his bicycle locally.

An avid baseball fan, Michael also enjoys ballet and teaching the woodworking classes at Paisley School each morning.

After a far-flung career in public relations for ski areas and non-profit organizations while serving as a civic and school volunteer, Kris discovered her love of pedagogy and has been a teacher for many years – the kind that doesn’t sit behind a desk.

Kris advocates for clean, healthy, enriching environments, and believes that the foods we procure and eat and the environments we create should have as little impact on the planet as possible.