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by Ellen Meloy





ELLEN MELOY was a native of the West and lived in California, Montana, and Utah. Her book The Anthropology of Turquoise (2002) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and won the Utah Book Award and the Banff Mountain Book Festival Award in the adventure and travel category. She is also the author of Raven’s Exile: A Season on the Green River (1994), The Last Cheater’s Waltz: Beauty and Violence in the Desert Southwest (2001), and Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild (2005). Meloy spent most of her life in wild, remote places; at the time of her sudden death in November 2004 (three months after completing Eating Stone), she and her husband were living in southern Utah.

RadioWest Seasons reading

Desert Writing Fund in honor of Author


Ellen Meloy wrote and recorded a series of audio essays for KUER, NPR Utah in the 1990s. Every few months, she would travel to their Salt Lake City studios from her red rock home of Bluff to read an essay or two. With understated humor and sharp insight, Meloy would illuminate facets of human connection to nature and challenge listeners to examine the world anew. Seasons: Desert Sketches is a compilation of these essays, transcribed from their original cassette tape recordings. Whether Meloy is pondering geese in Desolation Canyon or people at the local post office, readers will delight in her signature wit and charm—and feel the pull of the desert she loves and defends.

April 2019| Nonfiction essays | 978-1-948814-01-0 | 14.95


“Profound, sometimes deceptively breezy . . . A slim volume, but you shouldn’t be fooled. Seasons telescopes decades spent exploring home and the desert, two terms that for Meloy became synonyms.”


"Funny, wry, steeped in nature and as sharp as the needles on a pinyon pine, these essays will make you rethink your view of the American West. Meloy’s wise and unexpected observations are a pure delight."


“Brief essays buoyed by a wonderful conversational ease and puckish sense of humor.”


"Meloy’s nonfiction sparkles, taunts, and ensnares the reader with her incisive humor and stunning depictions of desert landscapes and wildlife."


"This cinematically vivid collection feeds both intellect and soul, and shows that Meloy possessed the brevity and vision of a poet, and the coy sass of an understated comedian."


“These essays explore life in the desert lived by a woman who loved it fiercely. A vital collection.”
LIBRARY JOURNAL, starred review

"Reading Meloy’s essays is the ideal tonic to set aside frustrations and rise above groupthink mentality or timidity about speaking one’s own mind."


“Ellen Meloy just might be my favorite Utah writer. She’s smart and witty. She’s laugh-out-loud funny. She’s self-deprecatory and never preachy. She always gets her natural history right."

STEPHEN TRIMBLE, editor of  Red Rock Stories


"I remember when Ellen Meloy would read her essays on KUER. It always made the morning magical for those of us that belong to the west. Seasons is like visiting with an old friend. A really clever, thought- provoking old friend. Ellen's essays about living in Utah and the West are engaging  and graceful. I will return to this little gem again and again. By the way, I had always heard stories about snakes dropping out of the sky and thought they were hooey but if Ellen says it's true, I believe her."



"Meloy presents every subject with both a wry wit and an uncommon common sense, crafting pieces that make you laugh, think, and feel in equal measure. Her report that 'the nightly news dumps an avalanche of misery and terror into my living room but says nothing about how I am to endure it,' is as true today as it was in 1996. But unlike the news, Meloy does tell us how to endure."

LAURIE GREER, Politics & Prose Bookstore


"What a wonderful, essential little book. I wish Ellen Meloy were still with us to share her wry commentary on the political shenanigans playing out in today’s version of the West. Still, we have these short essays, which probably provide whatever answers we’d be looking for from her anyway. Reading this collection is a gift, and I’m filled with a budding urge to move to, and lose myself in, Ellen’s desert."

CHRIS LA TRAY, Fact & Fiction Bookstore


"I absolutely adore this book and couldn't put it down. This is a slim but mighty book that truly captures the beauty and brutality of living in the desert and in the West."
MICHELLE MOLANZO, Changing Hands Bookstore


Audiobook available on Audible and wherever you get your audiobooks

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