Raised in Iowa, Ona Siporin left at eighteen to join the Peace Corps, a decision that launched her on a life of travel and an eclectic approach to language, both written and oral. She has lived by various jobs: stuffed envelopes in Iowa, loaded trucks for UPS in Idaho, and taught English as a Second Language in Afghanistan and Europe and physical education in West Africa. Working with the artists-in-the-schools program, she has traveled throughout the Midwest, Intermountain West, and Northwest, and she held a long-time position as assistant editor for the Western Historical Quarterly.
Specializing in narrative performance, Siporin served as a guest artist at Sundance Institute and, under various auspices, has taught and performed as a storyteller of traditional folktales.
Siporin writes nonfiction, fiction and poetry. She won the Alfred J. Colton Research Award for her interviews with Venetian artists and craftsmen. Part of her work from that research was published in The World and I. Siporin’s radio essays have aired on KUER-FM, Salt Lake City, and KUSU-FM, Logan, Utah, and on National Public Radio. She has published two chapbooks of poetry (Poems for a Primitive Mythology, and a long performance poem, Girl on a White Gate (Raintree Press, IN), and won the Celia B. Wagner Award for her poem “Lambing”.
A book of Siporin’s commentaries and short essays ranging from the U. S. West to Central Asia to Europe (Stories to Gather All Those Lost) was published by Utah State University Press. Together with historian Anne M. Butler, Siporin published Uncommon Common Women: Ordinary Lives of the West (Utah State University Press), which also toured as a multi-media program in eastern Canada, the eastern U.S. and the U.S. West. Her mystery, The Must of Murder (Avalon), set in the hill towns of lower Tuscany, is the first of three mysteries; the second and third are now under consideration.
Siporin’s poems have appeared in various journals: Cimarron Review, Sackbut Review, The Sun and others, and her first full-length book of poems is now under consideration.
Siporin holds a master’s degree with an emphasis on oral performance. She currently lives with her husband Steve in Logan, Utah, and travels in the Middle East and Europe.