Joanne Greenberg

b. September 24, 1932

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Joanne Greenberg until we are able to commission a full entry.

Joanne Greenberg's bestselling I Never Promised You a Rose Garden offered a semi-autobiographical account of a young teenage girl's struggle with mental illness and the psychoanalytic treatment that restores her to the world.

Under the pen name Hannah Green, Joanne Greenberg turned her struggle with mental illness into the bestselling novel I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. In 1948, at age sixteen, Greenberg was admitted to Chestnut Lodge Hospital in Rockville, MD. After three years of an experimental talk therapy program, she left the hospital and went on to study English and anthropology at American University. Her first novel, The King’s Persons, won a Jewish Book Council Award in 1963 for its portrayal of a massacre of Jews at York Castle in 1190. The following year she published I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, which was adapted as a movie in 1977 and a play in 2004. Another novel, In This Sign (1970) emerged from her work to create mental health programs for the Deaf community. She has continued writing steadily, often on Jewish themes, and as of 2024 she has published eighteen novels and four collections of short stories. Her 2023 memoir, On the Run, details her years spent as a volunteer EMT at a Colorado fire department. She formerly taught cultural anthropology and fiction writing at the Colorado School of Mines. 


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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Joanne Greenberg." (Viewed on February 23, 2024) <>.