Joan Burbick was born in Chicago and lived for thirty years on the border between Washington and Idaho. She now resides on an island off the coast of Washington where she is writing a series of novels on violence and memory set along the Snake River. The first novel, STRIPLAND, is forthcoming in May 2019. Her nonfiction books, Rodeo Queens and the American Dream (PublicAffairs) and Gun Show Nation (The New Press), explore how the myths of the West still have power over American beliefs and actions.
She has also published two other books on nineteenth and twentieth-century American culture and co-edited a collection of essays on comparative nationalisms. She has given talks throughout the United States, Europe, China, and the Middle East, including the Harvard Medical School, The Friends Center in Philadelphia, and the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.. She has been interviewed about her nonfiction on public radio stations in the United States, England and Austria. She also participated in a PBS documentary on gun culture and an international conference on guns and emotions at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, Germany.
She has attended writer residencies in Jimez Spring, New Mexico and Bellagio, Italy.
At present, she is Professor Emerita at Washington State University and Adjunct Professor of English at Beijing Forestry University, China.