Joanna was born in New York City, descended from folks who had escaped the Irish Potato Famine in 1847. She inherited their stories, but unfortunately, not their apartments.

Joanna started working for neighborhood newspapers in the city that were so underfunded that some reporters shared "the office coffee cup.", then worked at New York magazine, where she could watch in awe as Nick Pileggi taped another Mafioso mug shot on his wall and "Glass Castle" author Jeannette Walls frisked her sources for stories.  Next it was the New York Daily News, where Caroline Kennedy worked as a copy girl, and the fire reporter made her fetch him six-packs - six packs of beer, not abdominal, as he was 300 pounds.  Joanna was able to learn from the Pulitzer-prize winner Mike McAlary, and be edited and mentored by the legendary Pete Hamill.  Joanna worked for a time to the New York Post, yes, she admits it, at Page Six, where at least she got a husband [George Rush] out of it, and then back to the News.  This was an era where if a tabloid editor said "Jump," you asked "How high?"   This helped her when she later needed self-discipline to write "The Greatest Beer Run Ever,” and to raise their son Eamon, who turned out to be a good kid. Thank you very much for this honor

2023 Arts & Culture Awards