Joanna Cannon was born in a small Derbyshire town, at the very edge of the Peak District National Park. As an only child of an only child, a great number of her friends lived within the pages of a book, and she soon discovered what would become a life-long fascination with words, stories and character.
Jo left school at fifteen with one O-level and worked her way through many different jobs: barmaid, kennel maid, pizza delivery expert, and although these experiences may not have felt useful at the time, they gave her a breadth of understanding about people which would later become invaluable.
Jos love of narrative had always drawn her towards psychiatry, but it wasnt until her thirties that she decided to go back to college and finally complete the A-levels shed abandoned some fifteen years earlier. She went on to study medicine at the University of Leicester and appeared on the other side with a cap and a gown, and a brand new title. It took her so long to get used to the brand new title, she still has to remember to turn around when someone says doctor.Before specialising in psychiatry, Joanna rotated through a series of hospital jobs, from the chaos of A&E to the handkerchief quiet of palliative care. It was around this time she began writing a blog, which she found helped to empty her head of all the suffering she saw during the day (you can read the posts she wrote here). From the blog developed an idea for a novel, and Jo spent the next few months attending workshops and classes, including Fabers Writing A Novel course, in order to learn more.
Joanna Cannon recommends
Before the Fall (2014)
"My favourite Great War novel . . . Incredible writing."
Tin Man (2017)
"It's exquisite. There are stories you just feel privileged to read. Sarah's writing breaks you and heals you, all in the same moment, and I haven't been so moved, and so in love with a book and its characters in a very long time."
"Julie Cohen's writing is powerful, moving and truly beautiful."
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