Joanne Johnson Francis Book Event
Joanne Francis bio
Joanne Francis makes her home in the heart of Tacoma, Washington. Her Tacoma stories rise from years of grassroots involvement in the Working Waterfront Maritime Museum where once rails met sails and Washington-produced grains arrived in box cars in 100-pound burlap sacks and left for foreign ports in the holds of sailing ships. As historian for Tacoma Community House her 2010 centennial exhibit celebrated one hundred years of woman-led history providing needed services to Tacoma’s many new arrivals from foreign countries and eastern towns and cities.
Ms. Francis has been teacher, social worker, hospital worker, historian, legal guardian and caregiver. She has labored in berry fields and apple orchards, in reforestation and fire-fighting, on a factory floor, harvesting tobacco, in summer camps, resort hotels and resort kitchens. She gave a full five years of free labor to establishing Tacoma’s one art house movie venue and a hot humid Eastern Kentucky summer to a community devastated by a rampaging, silt-clogged river. In the 1950s and 60s she bucked tradition and fought for civil rights in North Carolina and New York. In the 1970s she moved west to Tacoma for a fresh perspective, left Tacoma for the Okanogan, and only returned to Tacoma following a five-year stint trying to make a living in the Okanogan highlands followed by another five in the North Carolina mountains.
This author’s love of story began in a small newsroom; her love of place on a quiet saltwater inlet. Her love of character begins on page one and never ends. Her ‘east of the mountains’ stories make no bones about it: the Cascade Curtain is real - water and livelihood the ever-present issues in a high desert hard-scrabble thinly settled region. Her East Coast stories reflect age-old struggles to protect hard-won rights. The constant challenge to a free press has its moment too. Her title story, DEAREST SPARROW, links six stories and many lives over a half century in a romance like no other.
Her fiction has appeared in ARIZONA LITERARY MAGAZINE, FEMINIST STUDIES, APPALACHIAN HERITAGE; her historical writing in the Tacoma Historical Society City of Destiny Newsletter. Ms. Francis attended the University of North Carolina in Greensboro and Chapel Hill. Her BS degree is in American History from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey.