Books by Joyce Carol Thomas celebrate family life in all of its rich variety: Her many titles include HUSH SONGS; JOY; BROWN HONEY and BROOMWHEAT TEA, I HAVE HEARD OF A LAND, CROWNING GLORY and THE GOSPEL CINDERELLA, for young children. In addition, she is the editor of two anthologies: A GATHERING OF FLOWERS: Stories About Being Young in America and LINDA BROWN, YOU ARE NOT ALONE: Brown v Board of Ed for middle and upper level readers. Her MARKED BY FIRE and HOUSE OF LIGHT readers include young adults and adults.
In addition, Thomas' works include short stories, dramatic plays, musicals, and many poetry books.
In the wake of her remarkable productivity, Ms. Thomas' books have won many prizes and awards: The National Book Award, the American Book Award, three Coretta Scott King Honors, two Governor's Awards, American Library Association Awards, the International Reading Association Award, an Oklahoma Lifetime Achievement Award, and many more (see Awards page).
Joyce Carol Thomas is a native of Ponca City, Oklahoma (the setting for some of her fictional works). Thomas and her family moved to the California Bay Area in 1948 where she has lived for more than fifty years.
A graduate of Stanford University, fluent in Spanish and French, she has traveled to Australia, China, Ecuador, Guam, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, and Nigeria. She has taught from grade school to the university level, including the University of California at Santa Cruz; and Purdue University. 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 and fiction.
In 1994, Ms. Thomas resigned from the University of Tennessee to return to her beloved Berkeley, California, where she now lives and writes full time.