credit Alexis Knapp

Melissa L. Sevigny grew up in Tucson, Arizona where she fell in love with the Sonoran Desert’s ecology, geology and dark desert skies. Her lyrical nonfiction and poetry explores the intersections of science, politics, and history, with a focus on the American Southwest.

Sevigny is the author of two nonfiction books: Mythical River: Chasing the mirage of new water in the American Southwest (University of Iowa Press, 2016) and Under Desert Skies: How Tucson mapped the way to the moon and planets (University of Arizona Press, 2016). Her third book, Brave the Wild River, will be published by W.W. Norton. Her writing has appeared in Orion, The Atavist Magazine, River Teeth, City Creatures,, Fourth Genre, Flyway, and elsewhere.

Her work has been supported by grants from the Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers and the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and honored with numerous awards. She’s currently the full time science reporter at KNAU in Flagstaff, Arizona, where her radio stories have aired nationally on NPR and received regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for excellence.

Sevigny has worked as a science communicator in the fields of planetary science, western water policy, and sustainable agriculture. She worked for NASA’s Phoenix Mars Scout Mission during its ground operations on Mars in 2008. She earned a B.S. in Environmental Science & Policy from the University of Arizona and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Environment from Iowa State University. She volunteers as the interviews editor for A Journal of Built and Natural Environments, and is a member of the National Association of Science Writers.

Follow her on Twitter: @MelissaSevigny

Grants & Awards

2022 Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Writing and Sports Reporting, Region 3 Small Market Radio, for Lees Ferry Program Offers Cash To Anglers For Brown Trout Removal

2020 Gold Prize for adventure travel writing in the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition, hosted by the Society for American Travel Writers, for “The Wild Ones” in The Atavist Magazine

2019 Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Writing, Region 3 Small Market Radio, for Can Beer Help Save the Verde River?

2017 John Burroughs Association names Mythical River a “Nature Book of Uncommon Merit” and medal finalist

2017 Viola Award nomination by the Flagstaff Arts Council for Mythical River

2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for Sports Reporting, Region 3 Small Market Radio, for The Benefits of Boxing for People with Parkinson’s

2017 Artist Research and Development Grant and the Bill Desmond Writing Award given by the Arizona Commission on the Arts

2016 Southwest Books of the Year top pick, Mythical River

2016 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards finalist, Under Desert Skies

2015 First Place for Environmental/Science Reporting, awarded by the Arizona Press Club for “A River’s Return” in Edible Baja Arizona

2015 Ellen Meloy Grant for Desert Writers awarded for work on Mythical River