It is 25 years since Joan’s first book was published and she has just finished her seventh novel, the latest in her Loretta Lawson series of detective novels. She is also the author of several works of non-fiction, including Misogynies and Moralities.
Her most recent novel, What Will Survive, is set in the House of Commons and Lebanon. She is also a journalist who writes for national newspapers and has contributed columns for ALCS News.
Joan chaired the English PEN Writers in Prison Committee from 2000 to 2004, looking after imprisoned authors in dozens of countries. She was a member of the FCO free-expression panel, advising ministers and officials on promoting free speech, and observed the trial of Orhan Pamuk in Istanbul in 2005. In 2008 she launched an appeal in The Times which has collected 330,000 children’s books for schools in Sierra Leone, allowing 50 school libraries to be set up.