About my life and work

Terra Trevor is an essayist and the author of two memoirs. She collaborates with other artists and is a contributor to fifteen books with essays in numerous publications. Trevor's memoir, We Who Walk the Seven Ways, (University of Nebraska Press) was released in May 2023. Her memoir, Pushing up the Sky, published in 2006, has been widely anthologized. Her work and portrait are featured in Tending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits (University of New Mexico Press). Her work is also included in Children of the Dragonfly: Native American Voices on Child Custody and Education (The University of Arizona Press), The People Who Stayed: Southeastern Indian Writing After Removal (University of Oklahoma Press), Unpapered: Writers Consider Native American Identity and Cultural Belonging (University of Nebraska Press), Voices Confronting Pediatric Brain Tumors (Johns Hopkins University Press), Take a Stand: Art Against Hate, and in numerous other books and anthologies. 
Terra is the granddaughter of sharecroppers. She was born in 1953, and was raised in a large extended family in a banjo and fiddle tradition, rich with storytelling and music. She came of age in Compton, California, where her childhood was divided between the city and camping in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Her work is infused and shaped by her mixed-blood ethnicity and her connection to the landscape. She lives with her family on the northern edge of the Central California coast, based between the ocean and redwoods, but calls the mountains home. 

Photo by Chris Felver, Tending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits

Terra Trevor: About my life and work

I've been writing and publishing for four decades. The first twenty years I wrote feature articles, personal essays and penned columns in magazines. My readership grew and in 2006 I published my first book. A new path opened when I began receiving invitations from other authors inviting me to contribute chapters to anthologies. Searching for a place to stand I discovered what I enjoy most about writing is storytelling, being part of a collective of voices and collaborating with other authors. In addition to my solo work, I'm a contributor to fifteen books. My stories illuminate our humanity, remind us to be open, to connect, to hope, to question—or bring change.

In addition to writing I've also worked as a director with American Indian Health. With a pediatric brain tumor organization, as a director of volunteers with hospice. As a director of volunteers for an animal shelter. In South Korea with a family exchange program. At a youth crisis shelter for homeless teens. As a volunteer with CASA as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for at-risk and foster youth in transition. In schools, and with writers and storytellers workshops and mentoring cores. I'm also a mother and grandmother, a good bean cook, soup-maker, community volunteer, activist and advocate.
For every success we have I believe it's important to remember how we got there. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all that I have without the steadfast guidance from good people who gave their time to me, mentoring, shepherding and guiding me along. As a writer and elder mixed-blood woman, with a light complexion that belies my Native identity, I strive to listen deep and walk gently. I owe much gratitude to my literary elders who taught me to hold the door open, give back and help others where I can. It’s a privilege to have readers, and I am deeply grateful. 
When I'm not writing, I'm wandering hills and valleys with grandkids and dogs, and I give readings, sit on panels, and I love visiting book clubs to talk about my books with the people who read them.