Jana Richman

Jana Richman was born and raised in Utah’s west desert and, with the exception of three misguided years in New York City, has spent her entire life west of the 100th meridian. She currently lives in the irascible small town of Escalante, Utah, surrounded by the magnificent Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which inspires setting, scene, character, and wildness for her work.

Richman writes fiction and nonfiction. She is the author of a memoir, Riding in the Shadows of Saints: A Woman’s Story of Motorcycling the Mormon Trail (Crown, 2005), which explores the rituals, feminism, and strength of five generations of female ancestors on Utah land. 

She is also the author of two novels: The Last Cowgirl (William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2008), which won the Willa Award for Contemporary Fiction, Utah Artys Best Fiction Book, and was a finalist for the Utah Book Award; and The Ordinary Truth (Torrey House Press, 2012), which was called “riveting, wise, and compassionate” in a Booklist starred review and was selected to launch Utah Lit statewide book group. 

Her most recent book, a collection of personal essays, Finding Stillness in a Noisy World (University of Utah Press, 2018) reflects on the ways that place, open space, and the rigors of working toward peace can transform a life. Richman’s essays have appeared in the New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, Quarterly West, The Fourth River, and many anthologies.

Richman received an MFA in creative writing (2000) and an MA in journalism (1992) from the University of Arizona. She has been awarded residencies at Norcroft: A Writing Retreat for Women (1999, 2003, 2005); Hedgebrook Foundation (2000); Millay Colony for the Arts (2002), where she was a New York Times Company Foundation Fellow; Playa (2016, 2017); and Brush Creek Arts Foundation (2020).



Finding Stillness in a Noisy World, essay collection, University of Utah Press, June 2018

The Ordinary Truth, novel, Torrey House Press, November 2012

The Last Cowgirl, novel, William Morrow/HarperCollins, January 2008 (hardcover edition), Avon, January 2009 (paperback edition)

Riding in the Shadows of Saints: A Woman’s Story of Motorcycling the Mormon Trail, memoir, Crown, July 2005 (hardcover edition), Three Rivers Press, July 2006 (paperback edition)


Interview with Utah Public Radio