JOAN CASTAGNONE was born in the Bronx and grew up in New Jersey. She earned a BA in English from Rutgers University and an MA in English and Creative Writing from the University of North Dakota. In 1981 she received a Fellowship in Creative Writing from the National Endowment for the Arts. Other honors and awards include a scholarship to the Bennington College Writer’s Workshop and an ATA citation for her adaptation of The Three Sisters for a main-stage production of the University of North Dakota’s Drama Department. A former playwright member of the Women’s Project, she was invited to New York for the development and reading of her full-length play, Blackbirds, directed by Florence Stanley, as part of their Midwestern Voices Project. She has published poetry and short fiction in over twenty quarterlies and literary magazines and was the founder and editor of Bloodroot, a literary magazine dedicated to the publication of women writers and artists. As one of the first abridgers at Random House AudioBooks, she edited over a hundred programs, including the Grammy-winning What You Can Do to Avoid AIDS by Magic Johnson.
During a long hiatus from the creative writing life, she worked in corporate communications and, later, as an acquiring/developmental editor at Morehouse/Church Publishing Inc.
She was a member of the 2014 Short Play LAB of the New Perspectives Theatre Company, which produced Occupy Bronxville. And she is currently a member of the group’s long play LAB. She has been a member of Charles Maryan’s Playwrights/Directors Workshop since 2011.