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Winner of the 2017 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award from Poets & Writers, and named by Poets & Writers magazine as one of “5 more over 50” writers to watch, Joan Dempsey is the author of the novel, This Is How It Begins, which won the bronze 2018 Independent Publisher Book Award for literary fiction. The novel is also a 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist (gay fiction), 2017 Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award Finalist (historical fiction) and 2018 Sarton Women's Book Award finalist (contemporary fiction). Joan received her MFA degree and teaching certificate in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles.

She was the recipient of a significant research grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation for her work on This Is How It Begins, a grant that took her to Warsaw for a month, and to Washington, D.C. for ten days to study in the archives at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Her writing has been published in "The Adirondack Review," "Alligator Juniper," "Obsidian: Literature of the African Diaspora," and "Plenitude Magazine," and aired on National Public Radio.

She lives in New Gloucester, Maine with her partner and their family of animals. Learn more at http://thisishowitbeginsnovel.com/.

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