Ruth Nolan


Ruth Nolan, a former wildland firefighter for the BLM-California Desert District and U.S. Forest Service, is a prolific California desert writer and scholar who grew up in the Mojave Desert and now lives in the Coachella Valley, where she is professor of English, creative writing and Native American literature at College of the Desert. She is the author of Ruby Mountain (Finishing Line); editor of No Place for a Puritan: the Literature of California's Deserts (Heyday); and coeditor of Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California (Scarlet Tanager), which won a 2018 Eric Hoffer Independent Publishing finalist award in poetry.

Ruth has written for KCET since 2012, and her desert-based feature writing has also appeared in Women’s Studies Quarterly; the Los Angeles Times; Bad Ken; Rattling Wall; Desert Oracle; News from Native California; Sierra Club Desert Report; the Desert Sun/USA Today and Desert Magazine. Her poetry has been featured in the Joshua Tree National Park-based short film,Escape to Reality: 24 hrs @ 24 fps, produced by the California Museum of Photography. Her short story, "Palimpsest," was published in LA Fiction: Southland Writing by Southland Writers (Red Hen Press) and received an honorable mention award in Sequestrum Magazine’s 2016 Editor’s Reprint contest.

Ruth has been a featured author/scholar in the Santa Clara University “California Legacy Nature Dreaming Project,” and serves on the advisory committee for Poets and Writers West and for Basin and Range Watch, a desert advocacy organization. Her writing has been supported by grants from Breadloaf, Vermont Studio,Squaw Valley and Joshua Tree National Park writers residencies. She is the cofounder of the Inlandia Institute Writing Workshop Program. She lectures locally and afar on desert literary topics, and has presented at the Sierra Poetry Festival; Lit Quake San Francisco; the Western Wilderness Conference; Heyday's Featured Speaker Series; the California Indian Conference, and the Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park, to name a few.

Her current multimedia narrative project Fire on the Mojave: Stories from the Deserts and Mountains of Inland Southern California, has been supported to date with grants from College of the Desert, Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Society and the California Writers Residency Program. She holds her M.F.A. in creative writing and writing for the performing arts from the Low Residency Program at the University of California, Riverside.