Nancy Jo Allen was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and moved to Wisconsin, where she spent thirty-four years owning and operating a few businesses of her own before closing one to work with her husband in another business as vice-president, production manager, and department head. In Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Allen earned a baccalaureate majoring in English Literature with a double minor in Creative Writing and Theatre. She was inducted as a member of Sigma Gamma Zeta II honor society in her undergraduate years.
Allen divorced in 2005 and was accepted to a graduate program through Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts of Writing degree with the emphasis on playwriting. She was a student editor for The Louisville Review and won first place in a Metroversity short fiction contest while attending the graduate program. Allen’s graduate creative thesis was read by both the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville and by the August Wilson and the Playwrights’ Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
She quit her job and sold her condominium to move to Minnesota, where she spent the last year of her mother’s life with her while working with senior services. After her mother’s death, Allen enrolled into a program that earned her an Associates of Applied Science degree, allowing her to be a certified and licensed practitioner working as an Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA/L) in a variety of allied health facilities.
She began writing poetry in the fall of 2013. Allen married again in 2016, and she and her husband have published several collections of poetry separately since then. Allen’s photographs, short stories, and fiction have been published in a variety of journals both nationally and internationally. Her first poetry collection Wrinkles in Time and in Love (2021) is available through Kelsay Books and Amazon. Allen currently lives in Columbia, Missouri with her husband Terry and their dog Jayden. She is the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of four boys.
Paperback: 97 pages
Publisher: Kelsay Books (October 4, 2023)