Mark Jenkins

Mark Jenkins is a contributing writer for National Geographic Magazine and the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Wyoming. A critically acclaimed author and internationally recognized journalist, Jenkins covers geopolitics, the environment and adventure. Among hundreds of stories, he has written about landmines in Cambodia, gorillas in Eastern Congo, the loss of koalas in Australia, global warming in Greenland, ethnic cleansing in Burma and climbing Mt. Everest in Nepal. His most recent story in Nat Geo (May 2019) is about Smokejumpers in Alaska.

Jenkins’ writing has won numerous awards, including the Overseas Press Club Ross Award for “The Healing Fields” in 2013, a National Magazine Award for photojournalism with colleague Brint Stirton, for “Who Murdered The Mountain Gorillas” in 2009, five Lowell Thomas Awards, three Best American Travel Writing Awards, the American Alpine Club Literary Award and the Banff Mountain Adventure Book Award. 

Jenkins’ is the author of four books, A Man’s Life (Modern Times, 2007), The Hard Way (Simon and Schuster, 2002), To Timbuktu (William Morrow 1997) and Off The Map (William Morrow, 1992). Kirkus said of A Man’s Life, “Jenkins’ superb memory and solid writing chops break him out from the pack of true-life adventure scribes.” In a full-page review in the L.A. Times, Robin Russin wrote about The Hard Way thus: “Brought to life by a poetic and muscular style, Jenkins’ writing is a brew of history, philosophy and raw emotion. His journeys are as intellectual and spiritual as they are physical, and we are by his side, in his head.” Writing in the New York Times, critic Richard Bernstein said, “The best feature of To Timbuktu consists in Mr. Jenkins delight in the small and not-so-small elements of the African spectacle, which he treats with distanced, unsentimental, often aesthetic appreciation. Mr. Jenkins transforms a common sight into a moment of pure magic.”

Jenkins’ work has appeared in dozens of national and international magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly, Backpacker, Bicycling, Climbing, the New York Times, Men’s Health, National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic Traveler, Outside, Playboy, Reader’s Digest, Rock & Ice, Runners World, the Utne Reader, The Washington Post and Virginia Quarterly Review. His stories have also been extensively anthologized. Jenkins has been interviewed by Anderson Cooper 360, Good Morning America, CNN, PBS, BBC and NPR, as well as spoken on countless radio programs.

Jenkins has done over fifty expeditions around the world. Hallmarks include the 2nd American ascent of Mt. Xixabangma, Tibet (1984), the U.S. Everest North Face Expedition (1986), the 1st ascent of the highest peaks in the Arctic Circle (1988), the 1st coast-to-coast crossing of the Soviet Union by bicycle (1989), the 1st descent of the Niger River, West Africa (1991), the first ascent of the South Face of Mt. Waddington, Canada (1995) and the first descent of the largest cave in the world, Vietnam (2010). Jenkins summited Mt Everest in 2012 as part of National Geographic  Magazine’s 50th Anniversary Expedition, celebrating the first American ascent of the mountain. He holds a B.A. in philosophy and an M.S. in geography, both from the University of Wyoming.

Mark Jenkins has two daughters, Addi and Teal, and lives in Laramie, Wyoming with attorney Martha Tate.