Joy Riggs
Joy Riggs
freelance writer and editor

Joy Riggs, writer and editor



about Joy

Joy is an award-winning freelance writer and editor based in Northfield, Minnesota, a quaint and historic two-college town located 50 miles south of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

She specializes in writing about history, parenting, and travel. She writes about her family's adventures in making and appreciating music at

Joy is the author of Crackerjack Bands and Hometown Boosters: The Story of a Minnesota Music Man, coming in summer 2019 from Nodin Press. The book recounts the extraordinary exploits of her great-grandfather, a pioneering Minnesota band director, and his talented pianist wife through times of war, peace, economic hardship, and personal tragedy. Ultimately, it’s a story about the power of music to transform lives and connect people across generations.



Joy's bio



Joy's essays, columns, and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including the Star Tribune, Minnesota Parent, Minnesota Monthly, Minnesota Good Age, BLUNTmoms, Grown and FlownTopology Magazine, Peacock Journal, Mamalode, Great Moments in Parenting, AAA Living, Viking Magazine, the Carleton College Voice, Minnesota Law & Politics, the Des Moines Register, the Indianapolis News, and the Better Homes and Gardens publications Beautiful New Homes and Building Ideas.


Past and present clients include: • SERC, The Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College • the Northfield Historical Society • the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative • the Carleton College Voice • the Vintage Band Festival • NorthfieldHistorical • the Northfield Youth Choirs

Radio/podcast appearances

ArtZany! Radio with Paula Granquist, KYMN, Writers Joy Riggs and Rob Hardy, January 20, 2017
Deep in Bear Country; a Berenstain Bearcast, Episode 57: the Week at Grandma’s, July 2, 2016
This Northfield Life with Brad Ness and Corey Butler, Joy Riggs interview, October 14, 2015

PRofessional Memberships

Society of Professional Journalists the Minnesota SPJ Pro Chapter the Association of Writers and Writing Programs the Loft Literary Center • Write On Mamas

Volunteer work

Joy serves on the board of the Vintage Band Festival, a nonprofit group that organizes a four-day international vintage music festival in Northfield every three years. The next one is set for August 1-4, 2019.
Joy serves on the board of the Northfield Historical Society.
Joy is a past president of the Northfield Fine Arts Boosters, a nonprofit volunteer group that works to promote and support fine arts programs in the Northfield Public Schools. She served on the Northfield Youth Choirs board from 2008-2014 and on the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative board from 2003-2013.


Joy received numerous awards for the teen and tween column she wrote for Minnesota Parent magazine for five years: First place, Best Magazine Column, 2013 Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists Page One Awards Gold award, Family Matters Column, Parenting Media Association's 2013 Editorial Competition • Second place, Family Matters Column, Parenting Media Association’s 2011 Editorial Competition Silver award, Best Magazine Column, Minnesota Magazine & Publishing Association’s Excellence Awards, 2013 Second place, Best Magazine Column, 2010 Minnesota SPJ Page One Awards Bronze award, Best Magazine Column, Minnesota Magazine & Publishing Association’s Excellence Awards, 2011 and 2010 Third place, Best Magazine Column, 2014 Minnesota SPJ Page One Awards • Finalist, Family Matters Column, Parenting Media Association's 2012 Editorial Competition


Joy has given numerous presentations related to her book-in-progress, Finding My Musical Family:

• June 2018: Book chapter excerpt, Lit Crawl MN, Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis, Minn.

• January 2017: Book chapter excerpt, Writers Night, Northfield Public Library, Northfield, Minn. 

• January 2017: Book chapter excerpt, Northfield Writers Resist: Hope is Greater Than Fear, Cannon Valley Friends Meetinghouse, Northfield, Minn.
• November 2016: "Get Your Horns, Boys, We’re Starting a Band,” Vintage Band Festival educational event, Northfield Senior Center, Northfield, Minn.,
• July 2016: "Get Your Horns, Boys, We’re Starting a Band,” a 2016 Vintage Band Festival event, Northfield Historical Society, Northfield, Minn.
• June 2016: "Sitting Pretty in a Pretty Little City: the Story of G. Oliver Riggs and His Remarkable Bemidji Boys’ Band,” featured speaker, annual meeting of the Beltrami County Historical Society, Bemidji, Minn.
• November 2015: "Finding My Musical Family,” capstone event for SEMAC grant, Northfield Retirement Community and Northfield Senior Center, Northfield, Minn.
• August 2013: "The Real-Life Tale of a Pioneering Bandmaster,” Historic Brass Society, Early Brass Festival conference, 2013 Vintage Band Festival, Northfield, Minn.
• June 2013: “Tales of a Real-Life Music Man,” Village on the Cannon community room, Northfield, Minn.
• March 2012: “Origins of a Music Man,” brown bag lecture, Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
• November 2010: “G. Oliver Riggs, St. Cloud’s Music Man,” breakfast club presentation, Stearns County History Museum, St. Cloud, Minn.
• June 2010: “G. Oliver Riggs and His Bands,” presentation before the St. Cloud Municipal Band concert in Barden Park, St. Cloud, Minn.
• June 2008: “G. Oliver Riggs, St. Cloud’s Music Man,” a movie presentation shown at G. Oliver Riggs Day, Stearns History Museum, St. Cloud, Minn.

This column plays to the writer’s strengths as a storyteller. It felt more like a conversation over coffee among some moms instead of something more structured and formal, like some parenting columns can be. The writer has developed a strong voice and uses it effectively in her work.
— Parenting Media Association judge, 2013 PMA editoral awards





On a sledding hill, embracing the downward slope of life, Star Tribune, December 25, 2018

Parenting Young Adults by Cell Phone: A 26-Hour Span in October 2018, BLUNTmoms, November 5, 2018

How to Launch Your 22-Year-Old Daughter in Seven Days, Grown and Flown, August 27, 2018

Time Travelers, Writers Night: Community, page 4, June 2018

Stepping Stones, Topology Magazine, August 2, 2017

Hoop Dreams of a Younger Sister, Topology Magazine, June 7, 2017

Interlude, Peacock Journal, March 21, 2017

Heart Strings, Writers Night: A Sense of Place, page 19, January 2017

Depths of a Mother’s Love, Great Moments in Parenting, Sept. 16, 2015

The Art of Parental Embarrassment, Mamalode, Aug. 26, 2015

The Life Cycle of a Swing Set, Mamalode, Aug. 14, 2015

Women’s health: Mastectomy now or later? Star Tribune, April 3, 2015

Disappointment: the Family Vacations Guide, Great Moments in Parenting, June 10, 2015

Life and Death in the Dressing Room, Mamalode, May 4, 2015

When Cancer Grows on Family Trees, Minnesota Good Age, May 2012


Travel articles

Weekend getaway: A day trip to Hastings Star Tribune, Aug. 4, 2012
Iowa City, Iowa: University town bustles in summer Star Tribune, June 2, 2012
Des Moines capitalizes on riverfront Star Tribune, April 14, 2012
Northfield, Minn.: History and arts go hand in hand Star Tribune, March 11, 2012
Fairmont, Minn.: A Fair City by the Lakes Star Tribune, Oct. 9, 2011
Sauk Centre, Minn.: Sinclair Lewis’ ‘Main Street’ Star Tribune, June 26, 2011
A Rebirth for Fergus Falls Star Tribune, May 29, 2011
Mankato: River City Cloaked in Charm Star Tribune, April 24, 2011
Historic Charm Lines the Streets of Mantorville Star Tribune, Dec. 25, 2010
Faribault Brims with New Life Star Tribune, Aug. 22, 2010
Step back in time in Crookston Star Tribune, July 18, 2010
A podcast tour of New Ulm, History at Hand, AAA Living, May/June 2009








Time for a transition! July 2014 When should teens start touring colleges? June 2014 Playing it safe in the water May 2014 Putting the fun back in sports April 2014 Learning beyond the classroom March 2014 Stressful times February 2014 In the driver’s seat January 2014 Our noisy society December 2013 It’s a small world after all November 2013 Building the teacher-parent team October 2013 Later start is a good start September 2013 Accentuate the positive August 2013 Adventures large, small and in be’tween July 2013





Are you interested in my writing/copy editing services? Would you like me to speak to your organization? Contact me by email at writerjoyriggs [at] gmail [dot] com.