Annette McGivney is an award-winning writer who has been drawn to remote, wild places her entire life. Through her work as a writer, educator and speaker she seeks to inspire others to connect with the natural environment and protect wilderness. Annette has been Southwest Editor for Backpacker magazine since 1996 and a member of the Journalism faculty at Northern Arizona University since 2002. 

Annette has spent the last 20 years exploring the desert Southwest and writing scores of articles about her wilderness encounters and investigation of environmental issues. Her stories have appeared in Backpacker, Outside, The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Wilderness (the magazine of The Wilderness Society ), Runners World, Sunset and Arizona Highways. Her book, "Pure Land," was published by Aquarius Press in October 2017. "Building Wood Fires," about humans and fire, was published in November 2017 by W.W. Norton. Annette is also author of "Resurrection: Glen Canyon and a New Vision for the American West" (Braided River/The Mountaineers, 2009) and "Leave No Trace" (The Mountaineers Books, 1997).


In May, 2008 Annette won a Maggie Award from the Western Publications Association for "Best News Story" for her Backpacker story "Freefall," about the Grand Canyon's Havasupai tribe. “Arch Rival,” a story McGivney wrote about an arduous Grand Canyon hiking trip for the Nov. 2012 issue of Arizona Highways was named "Best Travel Feature" in the International Regional Magazine Association’s 2013 IRMA Awards. In 2014, McGivney won another IRMA Award for Best Travel Feature for a Feb. 2013 Arizona Highways article “To Hellsgate and Back.”


In October 2016, McGivney received second place for the prestigious “Magazine Writer of the Year” Award from the International Regional Magazine Association for five feature stories she wrote for Arizona Highways in 2015. In addition, McGivney accepted the 2016 IRMA Award of Merit in the "Nature and Environment" category for an Arizona Highways story she wrote about Mexican wolves on the White Mountain Apache reservation.

McGivney's educational focus at NAU is on creative non-fiction writing, environmental journalism and magazine editing courses. She is also a member of the faculty for NAU's Grand Canyon Semester and teaches the field-based humanities course. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Liberal Studies degree from Northern Arizona University. 

Annette lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, with her son Austin, who did his first rim-to-river hike in the Grand Canyon at age four.

© Photo by John Burcham