Joy McCullough

Joy McCullough

Joy McCullough is a playwright whose debut novel Blood Water Paint, adapted from her play of the same name, was longlisted for the National Book Award. She studied playwriting at Northwestern University, where she won the Agnes Nixon Playwriting Award for her first play. Her plays have since been developed and produced in Chicago, New York, San Diego, and her home base of Seattle. She has taught playwriting for...
Joy McCullough is a playwright whose debut novel Blood Water Paint, adapted from her play of the same name, was longlisted for the National Book Award. She studied playwriting at Northwestern University, where she won the Agnes Nixon Playwriting Award for her first play. Her plays have since been developed and produced in Chicago, New York, San Diego, and her home base of Seattle. She has taught playwriting for Seattle’s ACT, in San Diego at La Jolla Playhouse and the Old Globe Theatre, and throughout Latin America.

Blood Water Paint won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, was a finalist for the William C. Morris Debut YA novel award, and was named in 2018’s Booklist Editor’s Choice Top of the List, Boston Globe Best Books, Book Page Best of the Year, Bustle Best of the Year , Chicago Public Library Best of the Best , Globe and Mail 100: Favourite Books of the Year, School Library Journal Best of the Year, Shelf Awareness Best Children’s & Teen Books of the Year, Amelia Bloomer Top Ten, and YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults. Joy has new novels forthcoming from Penguin and Simon & Schuster.

Plays

  • Smoke & Dust
    Intrigue surrounds Barbara Strozzi, an ambitious 17th century composer rumored to be a Venetian courtesan. Her brilliance and musical talent are dismissed in a male-dominated profession that stifles female musicians. In Smoke & Dust, actors in a present-day fringe theater develop and produce a play about Strozzi's music and the personal life of this historical figure: was she a victim, or an empowered...
    Intrigue surrounds Barbara Strozzi, an ambitious 17th century composer rumored to be a Venetian courtesan. Her brilliance and musical talent are dismissed in a male-dominated profession that stifles female musicians. In Smoke & Dust, actors in a present-day fringe theater develop and produce a play about Strozzi's music and the personal life of this historical figure: was she a victim, or an empowered woman defying society's moralistic expectations? Playwright McCullough deftly weaves together past and present as characters in both timelines struggle against the limits society places on a woman's ambition.
  • Blood Water Paint
    "Mama says we have blood pounding through our veins, that her blood pounds in my veins, but I say Mama doesn't have blood. She's never had blood. She's always had a perfectly pure, ruby red paint flowing straight to her heart. Her canvas."

    The true story of Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, Blood/Water/Paint moves between her life as a 17-year-old painting apprentice...
    "Mama says we have blood pounding through our veins, that her blood pounds in my veins, but I say Mama doesn't have blood. She's never had blood. She's always had a perfectly pure, ruby red paint flowing straight to her heart. Her canvas."

    The true story of Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, Blood/Water/Paint moves between her life as a 17-year-old painting apprentice in her father's studio and her life as a 34-year-old mother, teaching her daughter what it is to be a woman in the world. As a teen, Artemisia is raped by a painting instructor and the case goes to trial. Through it all, Artemisia is buoyed and challenged by Judith and Susanna, Biblical subjects of her paintings, and women who were oppressed and objectified in their own times. Blood/Water/Paint is a raw and compelling portrait of a brilliant woman whose accomplishments were buried for generations under the weight of selective history.

    Historical and all too timely.