Writing has been a life-long passion for Joanna, with a first chapter book published in serial form in the Nelson Evening Mail when she was nine followed by high school prizes for poetry and non-fiction essays. She has written everything from articles for trade and interest journals, interpretation panels and brochures on historical, environmental, and cultural topics, to award-winning fiction and non-fiction books that range from social and environmental history to historical and adventure novels for children, young adults, and adults.
Mentoring and supporting other writers has always been part of her writing life, including critiques for writers during thirty years’ experience as an editor/writing tutor for the Forest Research Institute and Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research, student mentoring for Hagley Writers’ Institute, and for the last five years has been a mutual critiquer of historical fiction with a small peer group of international writers.
Joanna has been short-listed six times in the Children’s Book of the Year Awards, twice winning her category. Two of her non-fiction titles for adults won New Zealand Awards in History, her historical novel Shifting Currents was short-listed in the 2021 Heritage Book awards, and Riccarton and the Deans family was a finalist in the 2016 Heritage Book Awards. Joanna was the 2009 University of Otago College of Education Children’s Writer in Residence. Her usual home is in Christchurch and she has a grown-up family of three and five grandchildren scattered around the world. When she is not writing, she spends time tramping and struggling to tame a wild garden.
Do you feel a creative stirring deep within your spirit?
Discover your own ‘voice’. Learn how to develop a plot, characters, dialogue, structure and personal style. It’s even better when you get paid for doing something you enjoy.