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My life and work have been largely informed by seven generations of family living close to the ground in the American West. I have done my time as a paid wilderness advocate, a National Park Service ranger, and a wildlands firefighter--and for years, my love of rock- climbing had me living in a tent for months at a time, near crags on landscapes held in the public domain. I have also hiked, biked, skied, watched birds, paddled, hunted and cowboyed--primarily in southern Utah and southwest Colorado. But I have also cleaned condos and mucked horse stalls--whatever it took to support my writing habit and maximize my time in the wild.
My writing wrangles with environmental concerns and how these intersect with social injustice. My work has appeared in Orion, The Pacific Standard, Climbing, High Desert Journal, Triquarterly, and numerous anthologies. My 2008 memoir, Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land, received the Orion Book Award, and Colorado Book Award; it was also a finalist for the Willa Award. In 2009, I was also honored with the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award.
My essay “Spectral Light,” which appeared in Orion and The Best Science & Nature Writing series, was a finalist for the Pen Award in Journalism, and my recent essay in The Pacific Standard, “Conflagrations: Motherhood, Madness and a Planet on Fire,” appeared among the 2017 Best American Essays’ list of Notables. After having served as a nonfiction fellow in the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA Program at Southern New Hampshire University, I stayed on as adjunct faculty. Additionally, I speak and teach in writing workshops across the continent. To compensate for the high-carbon footprint of work travel, I work at home, via solar power, a good 300-plus days a year.
I am proud to have contributed to Red Rock Testimony: Three Generations of Writers Speak on Behalf of Utah's Public Lands, a book that galvanized political support for the establishment of the Bears Ears National Monument, in southeastern Utah, with the first-ever co-management between The Department of Interior and a coalition comprised of representatives from five indigenous tribes.
I live off-the-grid in southwest Colorado, just spitting distance from my Utah homeland. I wring my hands daily about the severe drought and the escalation in wildfires that threaten this region, but I also revel at one of the nation's darkest night skies--one of the last-remaining places you can clearly see the white, glittering smear of the Milky Way.
Thank you for visiting my website. And thanks for ordering my books, and others, from independent bookstores--places like Back of Beyond Books (Moab), Between the Covers (Telluride) and Ken Sanders Rare & Used Books (Salt Lake City)!