Amy Irvine

Amy Irvine is a sixth-generation Utahn and longtime public lands advocate. Her memoir, Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land (North Point Press, 2008), received the Orion Magazine Book Award, and the Colorado Book Award—while the Los Angeles Times wrote that it "might very well be Desert Solitaire's literary heir." In a starred review, Booklist characterized Trespass as "a penetrating critique of Mormon sovereignty" and called Irvine "bold and original in her thinking, candid and lyrical in expression," claiming that she "joins red-rock heroes Edward Abbey and Terry Tempest Williams in breaking ranks and speaking up for the living world." 

Irvine’s most recent work, Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness (Torrey House Press, 2018), is a feminist response to Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, published on the 50th anniversary of Solitaire’s publication. The book was listed as one of Orion Magazine’s “25 Most-Read Stories of the Decade,” and was included on Stanford University’s climate scientists’ 2019 Summer Reading List. It was also added to Outside Magazine’s Adventure Canon and named by Backpacker as one of its New Wilderness Classics. 

During the pandemic, with author Pam Houston, Irvine co-authored Air Mail: Letters of Politics, Pandemics & Place, forthcoming in October 2020. Part tribute to wilderness, part indictment against tyranny and greed, Air Mail reveals the evolution of a friendship that galvanizes as it chronicles a strange new world. Her essays have appeared in OrionOutside, The Best American Science and Nature Writing series, Pacific Standard, Climbing, Rock & Ice, and High Country News. Irvine’s work also appears in numerous western, nature/environmental anthologies—such as West of 98: Living and Writing in the New American West(University of Texas Press, 2011), and Red Rock Testimony, which was instrumental in compelling President Barack Obama to establish the Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah.

Irvine is the recipient of the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award and a teaching fellowship for the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University—where she now teaches fiction and nonfiction. She has also taught for Orion Magazine, Western Colorado University, the Free Flow Institute, Whitman College’s Semester in the West, the University of Utah’s Environmental Humanities Program at Rio Mesa in southeastern Utah, and Fishtrap’s Outpost on the Zumwalt Prairie Reserve in southeastern Oregon. 

Irvine lives and writes off-grid, on a remote mesa in southwest Colorado, just spitting distance from her Utah homeland. 




Air Mail: Letters of Politics, Pandemics & Place, (Torrey House Press, forthcoming in October 2020)

Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness (Torrey House Press, 2018)

Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land (North Point Press, 2009)



“Together, Apart: Letters from Isolation,” with Pam Houston, Orion Magazine 

“We Can No Longer Take Breathing for Granted,” Outside 

“Reconsidering Desert Solitaire,” Radio West