Josephine (Jo) writes fiction and non-fiction, but mostly fiction. She writes warm-hearted contemporary mash-ups of ‘Uplit’ and/or ‘Foodie Lit’ (or ‘foodie fiction’), stories about life, love, careers and food, sometimes partially set between Australia and overseas and other times in Australia. She celebrates friendship and community, kindness and growth.
Jo’s novels are published internationally (New Zealand, UK, Ireland, Germany, Norway Greece), with collective sales approaching a quarter of a million. She describes her novels as ‘books like chocolate brownies’—rich, inviting, a treat for the soul but with chunky nuts to chew on, with a dash of sea salt that lingers on the tongue. She is the author of The Tea Chest, The Chocolate Promise, The Beekeeper’s Secret, Three Gold Coins, The Gift of Life, The Cake Maker’s Wish and The Jam Queens. She lives in the Noosa hinterland, Australia, with her husband, son and a tribe of animals that, despite her best intentions, seems to expand every year.
Aside from writing, her longest careers have been as the Diversity & Inclusion Lead for AAC Health Group, a teacher, a business coordinator and a commercial editor of non-fiction, with numerous jobs in between. She also founded and ran a horse rescue charity in SE Qld, working nearly full time for three years and for no pay, but a lot of personal reward and a paddock full of retired horses that now eat their way through her spending money. She loves animals and includes in her life’s highlights swimming with humpback whales in Tonga.
She is a proud neurodivergent person in a neurodivergent family, working to make the world a better place for her fellow #neurokin.
Jo supports many animal and wildlife charities and has a particular passion for koala conservation. Each time she receives a payment from her publisher, she donates to her favourite causes. She is grateful to everyone who buys her books because they help her to help others too.
She organised and ran the ‘Authors for Farmers’ fundraising campaign in 2018, the ‘Authors for Townsville’ fundraising campaign in 2019, and an emergency appeal raffle for Afghanistan in 2021.
Notable literary moments include:
- Better Reading Top 100 Books, The Jam Queens, 2022.
- Better Reading Top 100 Books, The Cake Maker’s Wish, 2021
- Awarded a Screen Qld ‘Creative Consultation’ with Producer Sophia Zacariou for her co-written (with Rebecca Belfield-Kennedy) episodic pilot for The Gift of Life, November 2020
- Longlisted for the State Library of Queensland’s Queensland Stories, Songs and Rhymes, First Five Forever picture book, for Dog Day Out, 2020.
- Winner, One Book Many Brisbanes, short story competition for Not in Mitchelton, 2008
- Shortlisted, Australian Book Industry Award (ABIA), for The Tea Chest, 2015
- The Chocolate Promise, shortlisted for the Gourmand Awards, 2016
- Finalist for Queensland Writers Centre’s Adaptable (book to screen) program, for her proposal for The Gift of Life, 2020
- Shortlisted, The Text Prize for YA writing, for her manuscript Wildfire, 2009
- Shortlisted, The Finch Publishing Memoir Prize, for her manuscript Webs of Light, 2011
- Shortlisted for the State Library of Queensland’s Young Writers Award for her short story, Carriage Hopping, 2001.
Her freelance writing has also been published in Mamamia, Reframing Autism, The Sun-Herald, Sydney Morning Herald, Good Reading, Affair, Voiceworks, Audrey Daybook, Nova, WQ, Coppertales: Journal of Rural Arts, and more.
She has more stories floating around than she knows what to do with.