Joan Marshall was born 12 April 1907, at London, England, daughter of John Frederick Marshall and Blanche Emily Hughes. Joan Grant's father was of dual US-British nationality – a real tennis player who won his place in the semi- finals of the World Championship for each country and, thus needing to play against himself. He also carried out at his own expense valuable pioneering work on the Anopheles mosquito for which purpose he had installed a full research unit on Hayling Island. Joan Grant spent her early years on Hayling Island in Hampshire and as a young woman won the Hampshire Ladies Golf finals – having never before played golf!
Joan married Leslie Grant on 30 November 1927. She married Charles Beatty, 14 March 1940. Beatty was also a writer, first manager of the Montague Motor Museum in Beaulieu and one of the first announcers on Radio Luxembourg and transcribed some of Joan Grant's earlier books from a wire voice recorder. She married Denys Kelsey on 1 September 1960.
Her first and most famous novel was Winged Pharaoh (1937). Grant shot to unexpected fame upon publication. The New York Times hailed it as "A book of fine idealism, deep compassion and a spiritual quality pure and bright as flame'" a sentiment echoed in countless reviews the world over. What her readers did not officially know for almost another twenty years, was that Joan claimed to have recalled the events in Winged Pharaoh while in a hypnotic or trance-like state, dictating piecemeal the lifetime that she believed herself to have lived. The book is still considered a cult classic by believers in the New Age religion. It was followed by other historical fantasies, or as Grant called them, "Far Memory books," or "previous life autobiographies". This book was initially accepted as a novel; Grant's first husband was a barrister and Egyptologist who spent many years prior to World War II working on excavations in Egypt, and as Joan accompanied him on some of these expeditions she was quite aware of many facets of Egyptian history. "Winged Pharaoh" was claimed by some to in fact be a re-incarnationist autobiography. Historians claimed that the calendar used in the book had never existed and also that there was no evidence whatsoever for the existence of an avenue of trees referred to in the book. After World War II a text was found which when translated proved to be the calendar referred to by Grant in the 1937 book.
Grant believed she had been reincarnated at least forty times and that her far memory of past lives provided her the base material for her historical novels. She strove to disabuse herself and her readers of preconceptions, to eschew what she called 'group-think'. She was not interested in blind faith and blind belief, but in what could be perceived as true by the five senses. She claimed to have an unusual gift of "far memory" – the ability to remember previous lives, and something she referred to as "sensory awareness". She said that she experienced many realities that are not available to most people.
A collection of previously unknown writings by Grant was published as Speaking from the Heart: Ethics, Reincarnation & What it Means to Be Human in 2007 by Overlook Press in the USA and Duckworth Press in the UK. It was edited by her granddaughter Nicola Bennett, with anthologist Jane Lahr and Joan's closest friend Sophia Rosoff. The book contains poetry, essays and a series of lectures she gave at Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach. She had a reputation for talking and writing with clear certainty about her belief in other realities, past lives, and death. She said that for her, the veil between the "worlds" simply did not exist.
With her third husband, Denys Kelsey, she wrote Many Lifetimes, in which she explained how she supposedly remembered her own and others' past lives.
She also wrote several children's books which contain stories she claimed she was told in past lives. Some of her books were published under the names Joan M. Grant and Joan Marshall Grant.
Her books have been translated and published in many languages.
|Library resources about
|By Joan Grant|
- Winged Pharaoh (1937)
- Life As Carola (26 October 1939)
- Eyes of Horus (1942)
- The Scarlet Fish (1942)
- Lord of the Horizon (3 June 1943)
- Redskin Morning (1944)
- Scarlet Feather (1945)
- Return To Elysium (1947)
- Vague Vacation (1947)
- The Laird and the Lady (1949)
- So Moses Was Born (1952)
- Time Out of Mind (1956)
- Far Memory (1956)
- A Lot To Remember (1962)
- Many Lifetimes (1968)
- Speaking from the Heart (2007)
- Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature: Volume 2 – Page 919 R. Reginald, Douglas Menville, Mary A. Burgess – 2010 "JOAN GRANT Full Name : Joan Grant Kelsey. Born April 12, 1907, at London, England. Daughter of John Frederick Marshall and Blanche Emily Hughes. Married Leslie Grant, November 30, 192 7; married Charles Beatty, March 14, 1940; ; married Dr. Denys Kelsey, September 1, 1960. One daughter, Gillian Grant Wynne . Education: Privately educated by governesses and tutors . Career: Writer "
- Joan Grant- Writer, website dedicated to the life and work of Joan Grant, established by her Grand Daughter Nicola Bennett, along with Jane Lahr, Sophia Rosoff (Grant's greatest friend) and Martha Crego, October 2009
- "Mind over matter", review by Claire Armitstead, The Guardian, Saturday 29 September 2007.