Joe D'Cruz was born in a Roman Catholic Parathavar family in Uvari, a coastal village in Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu. He did his schooling in Uvari and Idaiyangudi. He graduated with an M.A.(Economics) at Loyola College, Chennai and did his M.Phil at St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirapalli. He is married to Sasikala and has two children. He has been working in the shipping industry for more than two decades.
Joe D'Cruz published a Tamil poetry compilation, Pulambazhkal, in 2004. His Sahitya Akademi award-winning novel Korkai was originally published in 2009 and prior to that his 2005 novel Aazhi Soozh Ulagu was awarded the Tamil Nadu state government literary award and Tamil Literary Garden award. Both his novels are based on history and the lives of Parathavar fishermen of Tamil Nadu. The first novel Aazhi Soozh Ulagu dealt with the lives of fishermen who used catamarans and their conversion to Christianity. The second novel titled Korkai refers to Korkai, an ancient port city ruled by Early Pandyan Kingdom. It documented 20th-century history of the people in the region. It is considered as a well-researched historical novel.
He also filmed documentary films such as Vidiyatha Pozhuthukal (2008), Towards Dawn (2010). His films mostly based on sufferings of Tamil fishermen. He wrote the dialogue for Tamil movie Maryan. He opposed Kudankulam nuclear power project, arguing it will affect the livelihood of the fishermen.
Threats and Professional Censure for Supporting Narendra Modi
The Indian Express reported that Joe D'Cruz received threats and hate-mail after he expressed support for the BJP PM Candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Mr. Narendra Modi, on his Facebook page. A translation of his work ‘Aazhi Soozh Ulagu’ into English, was also halted in retaliation by his publisher Navyana and the translator Geetha.
- "என் ஊர்!" (in Tamil). Ananda Vikatan. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "ஆர்.என்.ஜோ–டி–குரூஸ்". Dina Thanthi (in Tamil). 19 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "Joe D'Cruz wins Sahitya Akademi award". Deccan Chronicle. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "Sailing high as a writer". The Hindu. 25 July 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "KORKAI". Archaeological Survey of India. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "The Parathavas have come full circle". The New Indian Express. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "Sons of the sea show true grit". The Hindu. 2 December 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "Celebrity Tamil novelist supports Narendra Modi, gets threat". The Indian Express. 13 April 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
- "Pro-Modi stand stops D’Cruz book release". The Hindu. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
- Mehernaz Patel (15 April 2014), "It is fundamentalism of the people who wear liberal mask: Joe D'Cruz on cancellation of book translation due to his support for Narendra Modi", DNA