Melissa L. Sevigny

Science Writer

Latest News

Mythical River named a “Nature Book of Uncommon Merit” by the John Burroughs Association.

Mythical River nominated for a Viola Award by the Flagstaff Arts Council.

I receive a grant from the Arizona Commission of the Arts for my next project.

More news and reviews

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Upcoming Events

Saturday March 11, 2017 – Tucson Festival of Books

  • 10am at Science City Main Stage – Orbital Perspectives
  • 1pm at Integrated Learning Center Rm 120 – The Colorado River: Water in a Thirsty Land
  • 4pm at Special Collections – Southwest Books of the Year Top Picks

Friday April 21, 2017 – Home Voices reading, Ames, IA. Details here.

Thank you to the hosts of past readings & events: The Bluff Creek Arts Festival, Sky Island Alliance, Tucson Festival of Books 2016, AWP 2016, Tohono Chul Park, UA Special Collections, Barefoot Cowgirl Books, NoAZ Book Festival 2016, The Learning Curve,  Narrow Chimney Reading Series, and Western National Parks Association.

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Mythical River recognized by John Burroughs Association

Mythical River was named a “Nature Book of Uncommon Merit” by the John Burroughs Association, which honors the best published nature writing. This year’s John Burroughs Medal went to Brian Doyle’s novel Martin Marten. Other medal finalists, in addition to Mythical River, were John Lane’s Coyote Settles the South, Nick Neely’s Coast Range, and J. Drew Lanham’s The Home Place. Learn more about the award.

2017 Artists Research and Development Grant

The Arizona Commission on the Arts awarded Melissa Sevigny a 2017 Artists Research and Development Grant, in addition to the Bill Desmond Writing Award, for a nonfiction book project. It explores what it means to make a home in a world defined and reshaped by catastrophic events. She will rely on interviews with scientists and local experts, as well as her own observations, to explore the science of planetary catastrophe and how it relates to our most intimate choices about home and family.

Mythical River named top Southwest Book of the Year

The Pima County Public Library named Mythical River as a top pick for the 2016 Southwest Books of the Year. Reviewer Vicki Ann Duraine wrote:

Imagine a world in which a river’s conservation was as important as the community it supports. With the insight of a hydrologist and the heart of a poet, Sevigny champions this ideal in her lyrical and exhaustively-researched science journal cum memoir, interweaving the centuries-old paradigm of unlimited natural resources with the facts as she knows them: the Southwest is running out of water and rain does not follow the plow.It is a call to arms: Mythical River may be the most important book you read all year.

Reviewer Bill Broyles said:

She’s balanced, funny, and perceptive… [and] brings a youthful exuberance to her alluring narrative.

Under Desert Skies was also nominated. Learn about all the titles chosen on the Pima County Public Library website or read the Arizona Daily Star’s article.

Latest Writing

See my suggested reading list for books about water in A Journal of Built and Natural Environments.

In Mythical River, I write of how the dam decommissioning at Fossil Creek in central Arizona sparked a new problem: a flood of visitors. Here’s an update on the U.S. Forest Service’s plans to rescue the creek (listen to the radio story on KNAU).

NPR’s Here and Now played my story, “Building a Better Bionic Leg, Nature’s Way,” on May 13, 2016.

More writing

1st place award

My article A River’s Return, published in Edible Baja Arizona, wins first place for environmental/science writing from the Arizona Press Club! The article describes how the Colorado River’s experimental pulse flow restored water, and hope, to the Delta. (Photo courtesy of Seth Cothrun, with aerial support from LightHawk).

Advance Praise for Mythical River

Mythical River is an excellent read and an important contribution to the literature of the Southwest, especially that which focuses on water. The book’s scope moves from the micro to the human-scaled to the planetary, but it is all tied together to give a complete picture of the southwestern environment and the vital part water plays within it.”

—Christopher Cokinos, author, Bodies, of the Holocene

Advance Praise for Under Desert Skies

“Through a series of engaging interviews, Melissa Sevigny guides her readers on an amazing journey of solar system exploration in a way that captures the pioneering spirit of the Lunar and Planetary Lab’s researchers. It is a must-read for anybody interested in humanity’s quest to understand our origins and place in the universe.”

—Dante Lauretta, Professor of Planetary Science, University of Arizona

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