Jana Richman is the author of a memoir, Riding in the Shadows of Saints: A Woman’s Story of Motorcycling the Mormon Trail, and two novels, The Last Cowgirl, which won the 2009 Willa Award for Contemporary Fiction, and The Ordinary Truth. Jana’s provocative prose has been compared to that of Pam Houston, Barbara Kingsolver and Pat Conroy.
Jana was born and raised in Utah’s west desert, the daughter of a small-time rancher and a hand-wringing Mormon mother. With the exception of a few misguided years spent in New York City trying to make a fortune on Wall Street, she has lived her entire life—more than 50 years—west of the hundredth meridian. She writes about issues that threaten to destroy the essence of the West: overpopulation, overdevelopment, rapidly dwindling water aquifers, stupidity, ignorance, arrogance, and greed. She also writes about passion, beauty, and love.
Jana has received fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Norcroft Writer’s Colony, Writers at Work, Hedgebrook Writer’s Colony, and the Millay Colony where she was a New York Times Foundation Fellow.
She recently returned to her home state of Utah (after several years in the Sonoran Desert) where foot travel is her preferred method of commuting and exploring. She lives in the small town of Escalante, Utah, bordering the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, with her husband and backpacking partner, Steve Defa.