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Joyce Carol Thomas is a native of Ponca City, Oklahoma (the setting for some of her fictional works). When she was 10 years old, Joyce and her family moved to the rural area of Tracy, California.


A graduate of Stanford University, fluent in Spanish and French, Joyce has traveled to Australia, China, Ecuador, Guam, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, and Nigeria. She has taught from grade school to the university level, and the University of California at Santa Cruz and Purdue University are on her teaching resume. Her last teaching appointment was as Full Professor in the English Department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she taught Creative Writing courses in poetry, drama, and fiction.


Joyce's book titles include the Coretta Scott King Award winning Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea; the bestseller, Linda Brown, You Are Not Alone: The Brown v. Board of Education Decision; Hush Songs: African-American Lullabies; I Have Heard of a Land; Crowning Glory; the National Book Award winner Marked by Fire, and the Oklahoma Book Award winner The Gospel Cinderella. In 2009, she won a Coretta Scott King honor for writing The Blacker the Berry, which Floyd Cooper also won the Coretta Scott King award for illustrating.


Joyce's more than 35 books have earned her many fans and numerous awards: the National Book Award, the American Book Award, three Coretta Scott King Honors, two Governor's Awards, three American Library Association Awards, the International Reading Association Award, an Oklahoma Lifetime Achievement Award, and many others.


Abyssinia, a musical adapted from Joyce's National Book Award-winning novel, Marked by Fire, has also received much acclaim. When a poll was taken, it was discovered that this show is the most requested new work in North Shore Music Theatre history. "Audiences loved it so much, they've been asking for it ever since," said . . . Michael P. Price [executive director of Goodspeed Opera House who co-produced the play]. "With a timeless story and such glorious music, this is an important show for us to revisit and finally produce on the mainstage." Variety


This is only one of Joyce's books that have been adapted into a play. Others include A Mother's Heart, A Daughter's Love and Linda Brown, You Are Not Alone. Joyce has been writing songs, poetry, short stories, novels, and anthologies for all ages for decades. From the National Book Award to state book awards, she continues to garner honors from teachers, librarians, and parents for her novels, anthologies, and new books.


She now lives in Berkeley, California, where she continues to write and publish.