The Timberline Prize

Every year, the editors of The Timberline Review select a piece of writing from that year’s issues that seems, in the end, to realize a delightfully unexpected dimension of significance, both in its craft and its impact in the literary landscape.

This piece we’re trying to identify seems to personify an important, ineffable quality that led to the journal’s creation, and I’m speaking now of the timberline, and the idea of the timberline, that point on the mountain where flora stops growing, and beyond which lies we don’t always know what. Perhaps it’s mystery, imagination, inspiration. Or something we don’t know until we discover it there.

2015 – Robert Vivian

In 2015, we awarded The Timberline Prize to Robert Vivian, for his dervish essay, “Read to You,” which appeared in the Summer/Fall 2015 issue.  This essay has such an intimate strength and passion, it merits discovery by the world at large. Read Robert’s essay at Pushcart 2015-16, and in his collection of dervish essays, “Mystery My Country,” published by Anchor & Plume Press in 2016.

2016 – Rick Attig

In 2016, we chose Rick Attig for The Timberline Prize, for his essay, “Family Trees,” which appeared in the Winter Spring 2016 issue. Rick’s essay has so many layers of story, it continues to resonate every time we read it. See Pushcart 2016-17.

2017 – Geronimo Tagatac

This year’s winner of The Timberline Prize is Salem writer, Geronimo Tagatac, for his short fiction contribution to the Summer Fall 2017 issue. Geronimo’s story, “The Summer of the Aswang,” evokes the past of his narrator’s childhood, and the past of his immigrant parents, with such a delicate, profound sense of loss, while raising questions about myth and legend and whether we still have a place for them in modern life.

Here’s an excerpt from “The Summer of the Aswang” by Geronimo Tagatac:

“We’d all grown up with stories about Aswangs, the creatures that cut themselves in half, leaving their lower bodies to fly through the night and eat people’s souls. The next night, I dreamed that Ariel was pulling me across the dark sky by my arm. The lower half of his body was missing and I could hear his shirt tail flapping behind him.”

Please join us in congratulating Geronimo Tagatac, and come to the reading event August 1st, at O’Connor’s Vault, in Multnomah Village. And hear ‘The Summer of the Aswang” for yourself.