Joanna Quinn was born in London in 1976. When she was seven, she moved with her mum and sister to Dorset. Joanna wrote stories as a child, and her first published work was one was inspired by Dorset - a story called Kestrel that won a WH Smith Young Writers Award when she was 12.
After studying English Literature at Salford University, Joanna worked as a journalist in the West Country, while completing a Mphil in Creative Writing at the University of South Wales. She wrote short stories and was published by the Bridport Prize, the Bristol Short Story Prize, The White Review, Comma Press and others. She was also a Jerwood/ Arvon mentee and a finalist for the National Arts Foundation Fellowship for Short Stories.
In 2013, while working for a charity, she began a PhD in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths University in London, and, as part of this, began to write a novel. During the lockdown of 2020, she heard that literary agent Clare Alexander was looking for submissions. Despite the fact her novel was unfinished, Joanna was taken on by Clare and completed her manuscript during the pandemic.
This manuscript became The Whalebone Theatre, which was the subject of a four-way bidding war in early 2021. It was published in the UK and the US in 2022 and became an instant bestseller in both countries. It has been sold to fourteen territories around the world. Joanna still lives in Dorset with her daughter, where she is figuring out her next novel.
Cover image by Sophie Davidson