- Pay the Piper, E.P. Dutton, 1988
- Pariah and Other Stories (short story collection), Atlantic-Little, Brown, 1983
- County Woman (1982)
- The Wintering (1971)
- Old Powder Man (1966)
- The Morning and the Evening Antheneum Publishers, (1961)
- Rain Later (short story) 1949
Joan Williams was born on September 26, 1928 in Memphis, Tennessee. Her family was from northwest Mississippi.
She spent one year studying at Southwestern, one at Chevy Chase Jr. College, and then graduated from Bard College in 1950. Her short story, Rain Later, written while a junior in college, won the Mademoiselle College Fiction Contest and was awarded Honorable Mention in Best American Short Stories, 1949.
After graduating college, she worked briefly in New Orleans before moving to New York to work at Look Magazine.
Her first short story to be published, The Morning and the Evening, was published in Atlantic Monthly in 1952. Her second short story was published in Mademoiselle in 1956.
She had a five-year-long relationship/friendship with William Faulkner, whom she met in 1949. They exchanged many letters over the years. Their affair ended in 1953.
In 1954, she met and married Ezra Drinker Bowen in Memphis, Tennessee; Bowen was a writer for Sports Illustrated. They moved to New York later that year and to Connecticut in 1956. They had two sons: Ezra and Matthew.
Her novel, The Morning and Evening, was published in 1961 by Atheneum. It was awarded the John P. Marquand First Novel Award, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and was awarded a grant from the Institute of Arts and Letters in 1962.
Williams divorced Bowen in 1970 and married John Fargason of Coahoma County, MS, in 1970. They divorced in 1981.
Her short story, Pay the Piper, published in 1988, received a Guggenheim award.
Williams began a long-term relationship with Seymour Lawrence in 1984, which lasted until his death in 1994. She died on April 11, 2004.
- Tiger Lady: On Joan Williams by Lisa C. Hickman, 2011. Los Angeles Review of Books