Mary Sojourner

Contributor

Mary Sojourner is the author of three novels: Sisters of the Dream Northland Publishers, 1989; Going Through Ghosts, University of Nevada Press, 2010 and 29, Torrey House Press, 2014; the short story collection, Delicate, Nevermore Press, 2001 and Scribner, 2004; essay collection, Bonelight: ruin and grace in the New Southwest University of Nevada Press, 2002 and 2004; memoir, Solace: rituals of loss and desire, Scribner, 2004;  and memoir/self-help guide, She Bets Her Life, Seal Press, 2010. She has been a ten-year NPR commentator and now reviews books for KNAU’s Southwest Book Reviews. She’s the author of op eds and columns for High Country News, Yoga Journal, Writers on the Range, Matador Network and dozens of other publications. She was chosen as a Distinguished Writer in Residence in 2007 by the Virginia C. Piper Center for Creative Writing, ASU.

She has been a community and environmental activist and organizer since she was seventeen; and teaches writing - in private circles, one-on-one, at writing conferences and book festivals, and for Matador U, an international travel writing program. She believes in both the limitations and possibilities of healing. Writing is the most powerful tool she has found for doing what is necessary to mend - oneself and the greater world.

The late Flagstaff poet Jim Simmerman was a brilliant, lonely writer. His work was prolific and award winning. But, in 2006, plagued by demons and health problems, Simmerman took his own life. Now, a new tribute book to the author has been released. The Blood and the Bone and the Flesh of it All, by James Jay and Miles Waggoner, is a collection of writings and letters by Simmerman, his friends and students. In KNAU's latest Southwest Book Review, Mary Sojourner finds beauty in the sadness. 


A life of crime starts early for young Willy Bobbins, the main character in Lee Barnes latest novel, The Gambler's Apprentice. At the start of World War I, 16-year-old Willy falls into cattle thieving and violence...not because he wants to, but because he has to in order to survive. His grit is what attracted KNAU's Mary Sojourner, as she explains in her latest Southwest Book Review. 

KNAU's Southwest Book reviewer, Mary Sojourner, has lived in the desert for decades. She thought she knew all about it. She thought she'd memorized its sunsets, people and nuances. But then she read Cowboys and East Indians, by Nina McConigley. That's when Sojourner realized she'd been looking at the desert southwest through a very narrow lens, as she reveals in this month's book review. 


University of Nevada Press

Planet vs. people: That's the theme of Prescott writer  Susan Lang's most recent book, The Sawtooth Complex. It picks up where her Mojave Desert trilogy left off, reviving the character of Maddie Farley, a reluctant hero and defender of nature. In The Sawtooth Complex, Farley takes on land developers, intent on changing the wild desert she loves so much. KNAU's Southwest Book Reviewer, Mary Sojourner, says the novel offers a genuine portrayal of the people and landscape of the Mojave Desert. 

KNAU's Southwest Book Reviewer, Mary Sojourner, started the New Year by reading something old. 2016 marks exactly two decades since Luis Urrea's book By the Lake of Sleeping Children was published. It portrays the sharp contrast between what poverty looks like on both the north and south sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. For Sojourner, the book echoes her belief in the stunning disparity between surviving the holidays...and truly surviving. 


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