Joanna Boulter was born in 1942 and grew up in Wiltshire. She studied at London University, where she read Music, English and Latin, graduating in 1963. After a brief teaching career, she worked for a typesetting firm, then on marriage lived for two years in Singapore and Malaysia. A civilian posting to Tehran followed, and then she and her family returned to the UK, where she began writing again after several years' gap.
After living in various parts of the country, each a little further north, she has now settled in Darlington, and finds the North East region very supportive of its writers. Her poetry has earned her a Tyrone Guthrie Fellowship from Northern Arts, a Northern Promise award from New Writing North, and a Hawthornden Fellowship. In 2002 she gained an MA in Writing Poetry, with Distinction, from Newcastle University, and the following year won first prize in the Poetry London competition.
Previous publications include three pamphlets: Running With The Unicorns from The Bay Press (1994), On Sketty Sands (2001), and The Hallucinogenic Effects of Breathing (2003), both from Arrowhead Press. She is a founder member of the Darlington women's writing co-operative Vane Women, teaches a women's writing class, and works as an editor.