This Is How It Begins


Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
She Writes Press
Publish Date
5.2 X 7.9 X 1.0 inches | 0.9 pounds
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About the Author

One of "5 more writers over 50" to watch. --Poets & Writers Magazine Winner of the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award, Joan Dempsey is the author of the novel, This Is How It Begins, which won the bronze Independent Publisher Book Award for literary fiction and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award, and Sarton Women's Book Award. This Is How It Begins was also selected by the American Library Association for the 2018 Over the Rainbow List of Literature Titles. Among other awards and accolades, Joan has received a significant research grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, a full scholarship to the Key West Literary Seminars and Workshops, a Maine Literary Award, and a residency at the Jentel Artists Residency Program. She holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her writing has been published in The Adirondack Review, Alligator Juniper, Obsidian: Literature of the African Diaspora, and Plenitude Magazine, and aired on National Public Radio. She lives in Maine with her partner and their family of animals. Learn more at


2018 IPPY Bronze Medal Winner in Literary Fiction 2017 Foreword Indies Finalist in Adult Fiction--Historical 2018 Lambda Literary Award Finalist in Gay Fiction 2017-2018 Sarton Women's Book Award Finalist in Contemporary Fiction 2017 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award from Poets & Writers Winner in Fiction "... an extraordinarily pertinent novel dripping in suspense and powerful scenes of political discourse ... a must-read ...." --FOREWORD (starred review) "... Dempsey's fine first novel [is] notable for the evenhanded way it addresses hot-button issues. The result is a timely and memorable story." --BOOKLIST "A gripping and sensitive portrait of ordinary people wrestling with ideological passions." --KIRKUS "Dempsey's fine debut, set in 2009, explores how hate, fear, and intolerance cast a lifelong shadow. Current events have only made this gripping story more relevant." --LIBRARY JOURNAL "... a thought-provoking and timely novel." --THE ADVOCATE " ... [Dempsey's] talent is evident ... a fast-paced, entertaining read." --MAINE SUNDAY TELEGRAM "... timely, suspenseful and powerful exploration of the ... conflict between religious freedom and civil rights ... a provocative hit." --KENNEBEC JOURNAL "... [the novel] is nothing if not timely ... an enticing read." --MAINE WOMEN MAGAZINE "... a page-turner ... a perfect book club choice for these contentious times." --HUNGRY FOR GOOD BOOKS " ... a writer worth watching, a novel worth reading." --B. Lynn Goodwin, STORY CIRCLE BOOK REVIEWS "A remarkable novel ... an essential story for our time." --MATTHEW GOODMAN, New York Times bestselling author of Eighty Days "A spellbinding novel ... a moving adventure ..." --DR. EVA FOGELMAN, Pulitzer Prize Nominee for Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust "A riveting story ... this striking debut is essential reading for our times." --JUDITH FRANK, Lambda Literary Award Finalist for All I Love and Know "... a prescient road map for our times." --MARY RECHNER, author of Nine Simple Patterns for Complicated Women "... a compelling story that seems to rise out of ... current national headlines." --FRANK O. SMITH, Bellwether Prize finalist for Dream Singer