Francine Leffler Ringold (Johnson), Ph.D., was the Poet Laureate of Oklahoma 2003-7 and a 2003 winner of the “Writers Who Make A Difference” award from the nationally distributed Writer Magazine, a Katie Westby Lifetime Award from the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, and a “Sadie” and “Newsmaker” Award from Women in Communications. Her name is also synonymous in the minds of many with Nimrod, the international literary journal that she edited and championed for over 47 years.
Fran’s published work ranges from poems to plays to guides for creative writing and includes: Still Dancing: New & Selected Poems, and The Trouble with Voices, both winners of the Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry, 1996, 2004; Every Other One, 2001, a collaborative venture with her husband, poet Manly Johnson; Voices, 1981; prize-winning plays, including one-woman presentations based on the lives of Mercy Otis Warren and Isadora Duncan; and two volumes detailing her creative writing approach, with examples from her students: A Magic Journey: Writing and Painting at Gatesway (a school for persons with developmental disabilities), and Making Your Own Mark: A Guide to Writing and Drawing for Senior Citizens (with art therapist, Madeline Rugh, Ph.D.) She has just published a memoir: from Birth To Birth: a Memoir and Guide to Writing Your Memoir, 2016. Fran has also won several playwriting contests so long ago that she can’t remember the year, and is currently working on a play called “Family Theater.” Another play “Kicking Up Her Heels” was produced in 2014.
A devoted teacher, Fran has taught literature, creative writing, and theatre at the University of Tulsa, and in the Oklahoma State Arts in Education and Artists in the Schools programs. She has taught in prisons, The Center for the Physically Limited, Gatesway Foundation for the Developmentally Disabled, at Resonance Foundation in a special program for children of parents who are incarcerated, as well as in diverse classrooms in public and private schools. Fran is the mother of four grown children and four fast-growing grandchildren. She is a sometimes swimmer, a sometimes dancer, and, of course, an acrobat.