The Great Far Away: Northern California Book Award Nominee: "A compact, bittersweet tale capturing the essence of carefree youth and lost innocence." -Publishers Weekly

Miss Kansas City: Michigan Literary Fiction Award; Northern California Book Award Nominee: “An assured first novel by an irrepressibly talented writer.” –San Francisco Chronicle

New Works & Biography

BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO: A Writing Life wins the ForeWord Review SILVER for its BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD competition!

"Candid, disarming. Joan Frank is one of the clearest-headed writers working. Because You Have To shows us how she gets the work done." — Bob Wake, Cambridge Review

"On every page of these stunning essays, Frank lays bare the hardest truths of being a writer, and on every page she confesses her hopeless, passionate love for the pursuit. The artist’s conundrum has rarely been so eloquently voiced." — Robin Black, author of If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This.

"A book packed full of useful information that is also a work of art." — John McNally, author of After the Workshop

"Delivers hard-won recognitions with an almost disconcerting fluency." — Sven Birkerts, author of The Other Walk: Essays and The Gutenberg Elegies: Reading in an Electronic Age

"Pleasures for the reader? Plenty—if Joan Frank is the writer, and Because You Have To is the book." — Debra Spark, author of The Pretty Girl

"Original, funny, personal, and practical. Beautifully, gracefuly told, in marvelous detail and with great, sensible counsel. Delightful anecdotes; marvelously readable." — Jay Neugeboren, author of You Are My Heart and 1940

"Wisdom deeply honed, in beautifully crafted sentences: a book for writers at every stage, through every mood of the writing life.” — Noelle Oxenhandler, author of The Wishing Year and The Eros of Parenthood

"Writer-blues, writer-opera, writer-jazz." — David Huddle, author of La Tour Dreams of the Wolf Girl

Available now from the University of Notre Dame Press, in paperback and E-book formats.


Joan was born to New Yorkers in Phoenix, Arizona, and has lived in Hawaii, West Africa, Paris, and San Francisco. She studied with author Thaisa Frank (no relation) at the University of California in Berkeley, CA, and holds an MFA in creative fiction from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC.

Joan is a MacDowell Colony- and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellow, a Pushcart Prize nominee, winner of the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award, Richard Sullivan Prize, Dana Award, Michigan Literary Fiction Award, Iowa Writing Award, and Emrys Fiction Award. She has received grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and Sonoma Arts Council; been a two-time nominee for the Northern California Book Award in Fiction, and named a San Francisco Library Literary Laureate. She has taught creative writing at San Francisco State University, and continues to teach in private consultation. (Please click on "Editing and Teaching," above.)

Joan also regularly reviews literary fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review. She lives in Northern California.


Also new: MAKE IT STAY: A Novel

"A meditation on the collision between an enduring friendship and a singular marriage, both of them, in ways, life-saving ... poignant ... painterly." Publisher's Weekly

"First class fiction." —Kirkus Reviews

"Masterful." —The San Francisco Chronicle

"Wry, compassionate ... Reminded me of two of the best English writers of similar character-driven novels: Penelope Fitzgerald and Penelope Lively, both masters of the glancing but devastating observation."
Christine Sneed, author of Portraits of a Few People I've Made Cry

"A stylistic tour de force. I can't imagine any lover of literary fiction not being deeply moved (and shaken a bit) by Make it Stay."
Bob Wake, Cambridge Book Review

"Brilliant, moving, and original."
Jeffrey Levine, author of Rumor of Cortez

"Elegant, lyrical prose ... Frank’s consciousness of life’s details is exquisite and rare."
Luan Gaines, Curled Up With a Good Book

"A genuine wonder of a book—filled with the stuff of life—nothing less than astonishing."
Matthew Iribarne, author of Astronauts and Other Stories

Selected Works

"Wisdom deeply honed; beautifully crafted."
— Noelle Oxenhandler
"Writer-blues, writer-opera, writer-jazz."
— David Huddle
"A deeply moving reflection—filled with the stuff of life—nothing less than astonishing."
– Matthew Iribarne
"A stylistic tour de force."
— Bob Wake, Cambridge Book Review
"Perceptive, funny, and wise."
The Boston Globe
""Astute, shrewd and, yes, frank. Surprising and rewarding."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Recalls Carson McCullers."
–Trudy Lewis
"Exquisitely beautiful."
–Rosa Shand
"Marvelously satisfying.”
– Laura Kasischke
“Heartbreaking and redeeming.”
–Eileen Pollack
“What a pleasure to be in the witty, sophisticated world of Joan Frank’s fiction.”
–Margot Livesey

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