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. She 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 magazine, also The Yellow Room, The New Writer, Mslexia and The Lampeter Review. She has also written for women's magazines, including Woman's Weekly and The People's Friend and had many flash fiction stories published both in print and online.
Among other competition success, her story, 'Until Planets Slip Their Tracks' won the first prize in the Exeter Writers competition in 2011 and 'The Biology Lesson' came second with the Scottish Association Of Writers in 2012.
Her stories have been shortlisted five times for the Bridport and three times for the Fish Prizes. Her collection, 'Fed and Watered', reached the shortlist of the 2012 Flannery O'Connor Award.
In 2012 she was shortlisted in the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition with 'The Revival of Clara Petacci' and was runner-up in 2013 with 'The Long Drive'. She won the local prize in the Bath Short Story Award with 'Fragments Left Behind'. The Salt Book Of New Writing published 'Following Candace' in 2013 and the Bristol Short Story Award, having launched her short-story writing career in their 2010 anthology with 'Struthio Camelus', included 'Wind and Water' in the Award's sixth volume.
In 2012, Joanna's debut novel, 'Tying Down the Lion', about an English family trying to visit relations in Berlin during the Cold War, reached the final shortlist of ten in a Cinnamon Press competition. On June 15th 2015, Brick Lane Publishing released it in paperback and as an ebook. It was longlisted for the Not the Booker prize in the same year.
In November 2015, Joanna's short story, 'Upshots', was judged the winner of The London Short Story Prize and appears in the anthology of the same name.
In January 2016, Joanna's collection of prize-winning short stories, 'When Planets Slip Their Tracks', was published in hardback and as an ebook by Ink Tears. The unifying theme of the stories is how ordinary people adjust, or flounder, when life tips out of kilter. 'When Planets Slip Their Tracks' was shortlisted for The International Rubery Book Award the same year and in March 2017, longlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize.
Joanna has completed a new novel about the way life and relationships can spin out of control in a single, irretrievable moment and is about to finish another about how the revelation of the truth to those we love forces us to tell more lies to ourselves.