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Santa Barbara Library to Host Wilderness Enthusiast and Author Annette McGivney

The Santa Barbara Public Library System will be hosting author Annette McGivney at the Central Library at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 25.

McGivney will be speaking on her book, Pure Land: A True Story of Three Lives, Three Cultures and the Search for Heaven.

Part true crime and part memoir, Pure Land is a unique narrative nonfiction book that has received high praise since it was released in October 2017 by Aquarius Press. Pure Land was the first pick for Outside magazine's new online book club, and it received the Excellence in Storytelling Award from the Coconino Center for the Arts. A review published in Outside states: "[Pure Land] is so gripping, so well reported and so well told that it deserves space on the bookshelf next to major commercial successes like Krakauer's Into the Wild and Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge."

Tomomi Hanamure, a Japanese citizen who loved exploring the rugged wilderness of the American West, was killed on her birthday, May 8, 2006. She was stabbed 29 times as she hiked to Havasu Falls on the Havasupai Indian Reservation at the bottom of Grand Canyon. Her killer was a distressed 18-year old Havasupai youth named Randy Redtail Wescogame, who had a history of robbing tourists and was addicted to meth. It was the most brutal murder ever recorded in Grand Canyon's history.

As the indigenous people of the Grand Canyon, the Havasupai once called the entire natural wonder their home before being forced onto a 500-acre reservation. McGivney covered the murder and the plight of the tribe for Backpacker magazine, where she is southwest editor. After the award-winning article was published in June 2007, McGivney could not let go of the story. A woman who also enjoys wilderness hiking, McGivney felt a bond with Hanamure and embarked on a years-long pursuit to learn more about her. McGivney traveled to Japan and across the American West, following the trail through Native American lands and national parks that Hanamure left in her journals. Yet, McGivney also had a connection to Wescogame, Hanamure's killer, and her reporting unexpectedly triggered long buried memories about violent abuse McGivney experienced as a child.

Pure Land is a story of inner and outer journeys and the look to wilderness and the outdoors as entries and modes to healing.

McGivney is the longtime southwest editor for Backpacker magazine and a journalism professor at Northern Arizona University. In addition to Backpacker, she writes frequently for Outside, Arizona Highways, Sunset and other outdoor and environmental publications. She is the author of five books and lives in Flagstaff, Ariz. Click here for more information.

To stay informed, individuals can access the SBPL web calendar with all events, programs and classes, and/or sign-up for the SBPL newsletter in English or Spanish. Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library System online at SBPLibrary.org for information about library hours, locations, programs and services. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Jen Lemberger is a programming and marketing librarian for the Santa Barbara Public Library.

 

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