Joanne has always written – though her writings weren’t always fit for public consumption (a fact to which her 9-year-old ‘Dear Diary’ musings will attest). As a child, she wanted to be an astronaut or a prima ballerina but, well, let’s just say that she isn’t genetically programmed for either profession.
She grew up in Johannesburg, with her family’s roots firmly
set in the South African hinterland – she missed out on a Namaqualand childhood by a few years when her parents decided to relocate to the big city. Joanne sang and studied her way through school and became head girl in her Matric year. Despite her childhood dreams, she skipped dance and fireman school to study English and Psychology at the University of Cape Town. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in clinical psychology, cum laude, which really just means that Joanne could have made a very smart ballerina (if graceful pirouettes and arabesques weren’t a requirement). She went on to get a Masters degree in Creative Writing and worked in management consulting for a big-multinational where she learned loads and had plenty of fun but very little life. It was from here, the corporate world, that she side-stepped and took writing more seriously. She considered becoming a travel writer after a good chunk of time spent moving around the world with only a 42 litre backpack and her then-fiancé for company, but decided that no-one could do it better than Bill Bryson. She returned to South Africa to read, write, start a family and work for good causes. She co-founded a literacy program called Word 4 Word which showed her just how dire the state of literacy is in South Africa and just how hard we need to work to tackle it.
These days, Joanne is happily combining her fascination with human issues and her background in psychology, with her love of the written word: she specialises in writing biography – of real people, with real issues. Joanne lives in Cape Town, South Africa, with her husband, their three sons and three wire-haired dachshunds. She’s utterly mad about them all, closely followed by her passion for red liquorice, daffodils, Greek & Roman mythology, the colour turquoise, pretty gift-wrapping and soft salt pretzels.