Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922. His first novel, The Town and the City, was published in 1950. He considered all of his "true story novels," including On the Road, to be chapters of "one vast book," his autobiographical Legend of Duluoz. He died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969 at the age of forty-seven.
Joyce Johnson, 1935 - Joyce Johnson was born in 1935, the daughter of a printer. At the age of eight her family moved to Manhattan, to an apartment that landed her in the middle of the Beat Movement at an early age. Johnson's parents wanted her to be a librettist, but she only ever had half her mind on the music. At the age of 16, Johnson was accepted to Barnard College, around the corner form her parent's apartment. There she befriended Elise Cowan, Allen Ginsberg's supposed girlfriend. The two became close friends, and Elise introduced her to the literary world of the Beat Movement. After a huge fight with her family over abandoning her music, Johnson left home. Allen Ginsberg introduced Johnson to Jack Kerouac in January of 1957, an introduction that would change her life and her career forever. Johnson published her first novel "Come and Join the Dance" at the age of 26, four years after her and Kerouac went their separate ways. A Random House editor bought the novel after reading only the first fifty pages. Long after their separation, Johnson published "Minor Characters" a book about her life in the Beat Movement and her romance with Jack Kerouac. It won the national Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography in 1983. While writing her novels, Johnson worked by day as a publishing secretary. She eventually became a member of the faculty of the graduate writing program at Columbia University, and has since written more than 10 books. She is best known for bringing to light the presence of women writers during the Beat Movement where before only the men were significant.