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Joan McMillan

Author's Bio

I am a creative nonfiction and fiction writer, as well as a poet. My memoir of my Italian-American childhood, The Strega's Story, has just been finished. It took me seven years to write and two years to edit! Man, what a project! My second book, The Pleasure Palace,near completion, is a romantic comedy based on my life in Santa Cruz and my career as a bellydancer and a professor of English. It is a first in a trilogy; subsequent novels will be given their first drafts in nanowrimo 2010 and 2011. I currently have an essay forthcoming in Santa Clara Review and a poem in Santa Fe Literary Review during the Fall/Winter season of 2008. Here is the opening paragraph to my memoir, The Strega's Story: In 1988, when I was a grown woman, every artifact of my childhood vanished without a trace. The architecture of this loss wasn’t due to any common tragedy: fire, flood, a jealous spouse laying waste to the entire contents of a house. Instead, the physical evidence that I had once been a child became like greased coins in my mother Kathleen’s hands, slipping away when she lost the ability to keep a watchful eye on them....

Publications and Prizes

Touching Fire (Running Press, 1998), Love's Shadow (Crossing Press, 1993), Catholic Girls (Penguin/Plume, 1992)
Americas Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Blue Mesa Review, Chattahoochee Review, Common Journeys, Comstock Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Monterey Poetry Review, New Millennium Writings, New Virginia Review, On The Bus, Oyez Review, Paterson Literary Review, Poetry, Porter Gulch Review, Portland Oregonian, Quarry West, Santa Fe Literary Review, Saranac Review, West Branch, Writing for Our Lives
Mary Lonnberg Smith Poetry Award, Cabrillo College James Phelan Award, San Jose State University Virginia de Araujo Award, Academy of American Poets Mary Lonnberg Smith Award (Creative Nonfiction), San Jose State University

Personal Favorites

What I'm Reading Now:
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Virago Book of Fairy Tales by Angela Carter, Fruitflesh by Gail Brandeis, The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Favorite Books:
Cold Mountain is a great favorite. Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson is a perpetual favorite, as is Spending by Mary Gordon and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Favorite Authors:
Shakespeare, The Brontes, Marilynne Robinson, Ishiguro, Isabel Allende, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sharon Olds, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Chitra Divakaruni, Franz Kafka, Amy Tan, Kathryn Harris, Ruth Reichl, Richard Bausch, Andre Dubus, Flannery O'Connor, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Natalie Goldberg, Dena Metzger, Tillie Olsen, Maude Meehan, L. Frank Baum, Francine Prose, Frances Mayes, Angela Carter, Louisa Mae Alcott, Hawthorne, Emerson, Mary Gordon, Barbara Kingsolver (for these, I just looked at my bedside book stack).

Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Listing last updated: January 21, 2015

More Information

Listed as:
Gives readings?
Travels for readings?
Identifies as:
Italian American
Prefers to work with:
Fluent in:
Born in:
Los Angeles, CA
Raised in:
Sepulveda, CA

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