Jan Smitowicz is a 30-year-old prison survivor, vegan, longtime social justice activist, and the proud father of a vasectomy. He is the author of the novels Orange Rain and Redwood Falls, and the forthcoming prison memoir Rebel Hell: Disabled Vegan Goes to Prison.
Jan attended the University of California, Irvine--but only when he felt like it. He did manage to secure a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, even though he spent a large portion of his classes writing or reading in bed. He did volunteer Katrina relief work in New Orleans on two separate trips; these experiences shaped much of his worldview. He writes in just about every medium, but social-justice-oriented literary fiction novels are his main passion. Jan's work is filled with dark, twisted humor, an uncompromising devotion to brutal, even painful honesty, compelling plots, and fascinating characters who are flawed in ways deeply human.
Smitowicz published his first piece of writing at just 10 years of age. It was a scathing but ultimately retributive examination of his childhood dog Buster. Copies were sold to friends and classmates for $5 each in fake money.
He was incarcerated for two years from 2010-2012 in Illinois for Possession of x0,000-y0,000 Grams of Cannabis with Intent to Distribute, although he maintains his innocence. Jan does not dispute the fact that he committed the noted offense--yet still maintains his innocence. He also suspects the laboratory equipment used by the State to determine if the cannabis was indeed cannabis was faulty, and his sentence should therefore be overturned post-facto and his two years returned in full, with interest, at a rate to be determined at a hearing which he will likely not feel like attending, and therefore should be set presently at an even 10 percent (accrued daily). Thankfully he will be publishing a "crazy, badass memoir" about the experience.
Jan's writing has appeared in numerous publications, including the Louisiana English Journal, the Earth First! Journal, and Green Theory and Praxis Journal; his narrative nonfiction piece, "Undercover in Dairy Land, CA"--about some of his experiences as an undercover animal cruelty investigator--was the cover story for The Animals' Voice magazine in September 2013.
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