SLF Picks BARD’s “A Far Off Desert” as 2021 Illustration of the Year

The Speculative Literature Foundation has chosen its 2021 Illustration of the Year, BARD’s “A Far Off Desert.” See the artwork in the header here.

“A Far Off Desert” was inspired by BARD’s childhood in Nevada, and influenced by the anthology Life on the Rez as well as a book from her childhood, High Wizardry. In creating the piece, BARD “daydreamed about what form magic would take as a cumulation of language, science, and knowledge.” “A Far Off Desert” is hand-drawn using watercolor and gel pens.

BARD frequently uses found objects in her art to both reduce waste and explore the tangibility of art. In many of her pieces she utilizes 3-D elements to redefine who can interact with visual art, adding Braille and durable interactive elements to allow blind and low-vision audience members to enjoy her work. Her art has been featured in solo and group exhibits in seven states across the country.

BARD’s winning piece will be featured throughout 2021 on the Speculative Literature Foundation’s website and on social media. In addition, it may be featured in limited edition SLF-related marketing materials, such as bookmarks and pins. “A Far Off Desert” was the unanimous selection of the judges, who praised it as a “stunning illustration of our sci-fi/fantasy organization.”

Founded in January 2004 to promote literary quality in speculative fiction, the Speculative Literature Foundation is led by Mary Anne Mohanraj. The Foundation maintains a comprehensive website offering information for readers, writers, editors and publishers of speculative fiction, develops book lists and outreach materials for schools and libraries, and raises funds for redistribution to other organizations in the field. In addition to the Illustration of the Year prize, it also awards five grants annually to writers, including the Diverse Worlds and Diverse Writers Grants. For more information, visit

The SLF is a 501(c)3 non-profit, entirely supported by community donations. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Memberships are available at as low as $2/month, at

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