Amanda Nowlin-O’Banion’s writing draws not just on her imagination but on her myriad experiences of life “off the beaten path.” From rural Texas to New York City to the sparkling Alaskan tundra, Amanda has worked as a sailing instructor, served as a jack-of-all-trades in Denali and taught English inside a maximum security men’s prison. She has been pursued by bears, won first prize for her mayhaw jelly at the county fair and survived to tell about it. Humorous, provocative and genuine, Amanda’s essays, short stories and other writings reveal the changing landscape of Americana, and the human struggles that come as a result. Her novel-in-progress, The Greenest Grass, from which “The Walls, Texas” is excerpted, explores one young woman’s struggle as she challenges traditional land inheritance patterns and the labor division of her family’s ranch. In 2000, Joyce Carol Oates named Amanda the “¡TEX! Emerging Writer” in fiction, and she was nominated for Best New American Voices 2006. Her work has appeared in the Dallas Morning News, Conversely and will appear in the Summer 2006 issue of SHSR. Amanda has been an invited guest on National Public Radio affiliate KUHF’s program “Front Row” and at the Blaffer Gallery Girls Night Out exhibit. She holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University and is currently a Ph.D candidate in literature and creative writing at the University of Houston, where she teaches. Amanda lives in Huntsville, Texas, with her husband Robert. Special thanks are extended to Robert O’Banion, Debbie and Bill Nowlin, and Ree and Daniel Belhumeur.