Born in New York City on Oct 17, 1931, Diana Smith (later Diana Rivers) grew up near Morristown, New Jersey, within an artistic and literary family. Diana’s grandmother was an artist, and arranged for Diana to spend summers in Maine, studying with sculptor Bill Zorach. There in Maine, Diana met her future husband, Robert.
Diana started the art school at Cooper Union in the early 1950s, but left to marry Robert and travel with him throughout Europe and study art. The couple had three sons, and they later lived in an intentional artists community in Stony Point, New York. In 1970, Diana and Robert divorced, and Diana took the last name of Rivers in honor of her newfound freedom.
After traveling extensively on her own through the American West, Diana settled in Boxley Valley near Jasper, Arkansas, and started a community called Sassafras. When Sassafras fell apart, Diana and 19 other women established The Ozark Land Holding Association about 30 miles southeast of Fayetteville. They built homes for themselves and each other, a community house, and a peace garden. Other women have come and gone, but Diana lives there to this day.
In 1987, Diana published Journey to Zelindar, her first book of the Hadra series. Diana’s writings explore women’s struggles, loves, and conflicts as they chart paths to life against the backdrop of patriarchal norms. Out in the world, Diana helped organize the Women Vision conference in Kansas City, the MatriArts festival in Fayetteville, and the Women’s Conference and Festival at the University of Arkansas in 1990. In 2008, she co-founded the Goddess Festival, held each March to coincide with the spring equinox. In 2016, Diana had a stroke and nearly died. She has since regained a good portion of her strength, and even manages trips north to visit her sons.