Joanna was born in 1960 and grew up in Hayes, Middlesex, a painfully shy child with appalling eyesight. She wore the thickest, heaviest National Health glasses imaginable. Her father spent every weekend soldering the over-burdened wire arms back together.At the age of three, she taught herself to read when an insightful teacher left her alone in the classroom with a stack of books, having realised that nature had ill-equipped Joanna for running about outside at playtime. Attempts to navigate the climbing frame always ended in the sick-room. Joanna saw more of the iodine bottle than her classmates.
She has always loved to watch people and make up stories about them. She spends her life apologising for not waving back to friends who spot her in the street. It is partly because she is busy writing in her head, partly because she cannot see properly and partly because her mother taught her to always watch the ground for dogs’ mess.
She has a degree in German from Exeter University and has taught both English in Germany and German in England. She is a qualified proofreader and has also worked as a secretary, retail manager and financial adviser during the eighties, mainly because she liked having big hair and shoulder-pads. She was dreadful at all of these jobs and far better suited to the fictional worlds she has always created and occupied.
While pretending to be her husband’s secretary, she became a writer. Her prizewinning stories have been published in Writers’ Forum, Mslexia, The Lampeter Review and The New Writer magazines. She has also written for women’s magazines, including Woman’s Weekly and The People’s Friend.
Among other competition success, she won the first prize with Exeter Writers in 2011 and came second with the Scottish Association Of Writers in 2012.
She has been shortlisted six times for the Bridport Prize and three times for the Fish Prize. A collection of her short stories reached the shortlist of the 2012 Flannery O’Connor Award. In 2013 she came second in the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition and won the local prize in the Bath Short Story Award.
Also in 2013, Joanna had stories published in both the Salt Book Of New Writing and the Bristol Short Story Award Volume Six, having launched her short-story writing career in their 2010 anthology.
She was the winner of the 2015 London Short Story Prize with ‘Upshots’.
Joanna’s novel, ‘Tying Down The Lion’, published by Brick Lane, is available in paperback and as an e-book. Ink Tears Press published her short story collection, ‘When Planets Slip Their Tracks’, in 2016 and it has subsequently been short-listed for The Rubery International Book Award and long-listed for The Edge Hill Short Story Prize.