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Janet Nakamarra Long was born north-west of Alice Springs at Anningie Station in the traditional land of her people, Warntaparri. In 1975, Long began working for the Bilingual Resource Development Unit in Yuendumu Community and authored a variety of children's books written in Walpiri language and English. Long has also worked as an artist, interpreter, transcriber and translator, and studied Law in New South Wales. She is the sister of Malcolm Jagamarra.