Episode 8: Live Your Best Literary Life with Joan Dempsey

In this week’s journey Behind the Prose, I interview teacher and writer Joan Dempsey. Before discussing the way she crafts character actions (she’s got a technique that will certainly show you how committed she is to authenticity in her work), we talk about how she’s living her best literary life.

After writing for many years around the schedule of a paying gig, this year she’s writing full-time from her Writing Shed. In this episode, you’ll learn:


Writer Joan Dempsey, MFA

Writer Joan Dempsey, MFA

Joan is a graduate of both the MFA in Creative Writing and the Post-Graduate Certificate for the Teaching of Creative Writing Programs at Antioch University Los Angeles, and in 2012 the Elizabeth George Foundation awarded her a significant research grant to work on her current novel-in-progress, Prelude.

Her work has been published in The Adirondack Review, Alligator Juniper, Plenitude MagazineObsidian: Literature of the African DiasporaThe Citron Review and has been aired on National Public Radio. In 2008 she was awarded a Maine Literary Award for best unpublished short fiction.

Her first novel – Vigilant –  (as yet unpublished) was a finalist in two novel competitions:  the 2012 Unboxed Books Prize in Fiction and the 2013 Columbus Creative Cooperative Great Novel Contest. Other finalist nods include the 2011 Maine Literary Award for Short Fiction, the 2009 Orlando Nonfiction Prize from A Room of Her Own Foundation, the 2009 Arthur Edelstein Prize for Short Fiction, and in 2007 the Fulton Prize, the Reynolds Price Fiction Award, and the Writers at Work Fellowship Competition in Fiction.

She’s received grants from the Maine Arts Commission and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, and scholarships from the Key West Literary Seminars and from Antioch University. She lives in New Gloucester, Maine, where she works from “the shed.”