Joel F. Johnson was born and raised in Columbus, Georgia, where he attended segregated public schools through sixth grade. He graduated from Harvard College in 1976 with a degree in English & American Literature. In 2013, Kirkus Reviews selected his collection of poetry, Where Inches Seem Miles, as one of the best independent books of the year. Never, a coming-of-age story in the segregated South, is his first novel. Johnson has an MBA in corporate finance and has been self-employed for twenty-five years. The father of three, he and his wife live in Concord, Massachusetts.
Podcasts and Readings
September 15, 2023 Author Talk and Reading
The Fowler Library, West Concord, MA. 2 pm.
September 22, 2023, Author Talk and Reading
The Lincoln Library, Lincoln, MA. 3 pm.
October 17, 2023, Author Talk and Reading
Goodnow Library, Sudbury, MA. 7 pm.
Suggested Interview Questions
What does a story about the segregated South in 1962 tell us about life in America today?
Never is narrated by a white man who describes his Black maid as "a stranger I thought I knew." What makes her a stranger?
A central character is Rob McAllister, the minister of an all-white church. Where does this character come from?
How does the author's experience growing up in Columbus, Georgia inform his depiction of the fictional town of LaSalle, Georgia?
Why create a fictional town? What is unique about LaSalle?
The narrator has sweet memories of growing up in LaSalle, though the town has a notorious past. How do we reconcile our nostalgia for childhood with the hard facts we learn as adults?
Johnson is a white writer describing the experiences of a Black maid in the segregated South. Isn't that appropriation? How does one balance creative freedom with respect for experiences of others?
For more information
For more information, including a press release, longer bio, book cover, reviews, and author photos, please contact me or download the pdf to the right.