Meschery, though born in Texas, spent her early childhood years in Boston, Massachusetts, and later moved with her family to Modesto, California. She attended high school in Fallon, Nevada. Her work has been awarded two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts along with numerous other prizes. She studied at the University of Iowa Workshop and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She taught creative writing at the University of Arkansas and now teaches English and creative writing at San Diego State University.
Joanne Meschery was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 1999.