As a child of New Yorkers in then-sleepy Phoenix, Arizona, in a houseful of books and music, Joan loved reading and writing from earliest childhood. But as a young adult she suffered terrible confusion and performance anxiety (her father was a revered, charismatic college teacher whom she longed to make proud). Many strange jobs and all kinds of travel followed. It took until early midlife to grasp that for Joan, writing was absolutely, electrifyingly, the calling and the gift—mandated at a cellular level.
The not-so-good part of this timing: there were suddenly many years to make up for. The fabulous part? Zero doubt. Full-tilt urgency—but most vitally and brilliantly, a bellyful of experience stored up in technicolor detail, as material. Those elements combined and gathered force to produce eight books of fiction, a book of collected essays about the writing life, and an early book of journalistic essays (Joan began as a journalist) that a friend playfully calls Joan’s version of Sex in the City.
Joan studied with author Thaisa Frank (no relation) at UC Berkeley, then took an MFA in Fiction at Warren Wilson College. She is quietly proud of her oeuvre, and of the warm critical response it has gathered. Highlights include: the Mary McCarthy Prize for Short Fiction, the Juniper Prize for Fiction (the Novel), the Dana Portfolio Award, the Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction, and two ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards.
Joan is a MacDowell Colony and VCCA Fellow, a Ragdale Alumnus, and grateful recipient of grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, Barbara Deming Fund, and Sonoma Arts Council. She has taught the short story at San Francisco State University, and still reads and lectures to writing classes and book groups. She also regularly reviews literary fiction and nonfiction for the San Francisco Chronicle. Joan lives in the North Bay Area of California with her kind and patient husband—who is also a playwright, which helps.
Regal House Publishing is proud to bring you Joan Frank’s work of literary fiction, The Outlook For Earthlings, in 2020.