Avril Joy was born in Burnham-on-Sea and grew up on the Somerset Levels. She studied History of Art at the University of East Anglia before working as a teacher in London and County Durham.
After a period in India, she began to teach at Low Newton women’s prison, on the outskirts of Durham, where she is now Head of Learning and Skills. In 2003 she was awarded a Northern Promise Award by New Writing North. She lives with her partner and has two children.