“Montana” is part of his debut publication, West of Love, a collection of short stories which was published in 2017 by Brighthorse Books.
Valerie Harms, editor of Distinctly Montana, is continually on the lookout for Montana-based authors. After reading the book, Harms felt that “the story would be a great fit for their fall feature.”
“Montana” is a story of a young couple new to the state and living in Missoula. One fall day, the couple drives to Yaak, a small town in northwestern Montana, where they experience some of the wonders of Montana and test the boundaries of their young relationship.
Davis has shared the story a few times at public readings, including one at Montana Western during the “Dances with Words” series. He also read it at last year’s Montana Festival of the Book in Missoula. The book has been met with positive reviews.
“Hopefully, this story works as an homage to young love. It also was written with a lot of love for Montana, and I think that comes through. This state has been mythologized by so many writers I admire, writers like William Kittredge, Richard Ford, and Dick Hugo, so it was fun, and a real challenge, to throw my hat into the ring,” said Davis.
Francis Davis was born and raised in Philadelphia but has lived most of his adult life in the West. He was a finalist for the 2016 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in short fiction.
He has won writing fellowships from the Ragdale Foundation, The Millay Colony for the Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. A graduate of the University of Montana’s M.F.A. program in fiction, Davis also has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska.
His journalism has appeared in newspapers across the state of Montana, and his fiction has appeared in Story, Natural Bridge, and Weber: The Contemporary West, among other publications.
The magazine is available on newsstands now, or you can view it online on the Distinctly Montana website.