about

Portable biography
Joanna Lilley is the author of the poetry collection, If There Were Roads (Turnstone Press), and the poetry collection, The Fleece Era (Brick Books), which was nominated for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. She is also the author of the short story collection, The Birthday Books (Hagios Press). Joanna is from the UK and now lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.

Author Joanna Lilley.
(Photograph by Michael Edwards.)
Recent (ish) publications and whatnot
I'm delighted to have a poem in the upcoming Canada edition of Taddle Creek magazine. In 2016, a selection of my poems appeared in Poem.a, an anthology published by ArtArctica, a collaboration of arctic artists, and some of my poems were also published in the summer 2016 edition of Grain. My poem, Waterlogged, was in the The Walrus in 2015.   

My novel manuscript, The Gallachists, was longlisted for the 2016 Caledonia Novel Award. Where Do You Go?, a chapbook of poems about extinct animals, was shortlisted for the Freefall Chapbook Contest in 2015. My poem, Folding, earned fourth place in the 2015 Guernsey Literary Festival Poetry Competition and featured  on buses and at the airport as part of Poems on the Move.
    Publications and awards
    My poetry collection, The Fleece Era, was nominated for the 2015 Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry.

    My poems and stories have been published in journals and anthologies in Canada, the US and the UK, including The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, Grain, The Fiddlehead and The Antigonish Review. In the UK, my work has appeared in publications including two New Writing Scotland anthologies, The Scotsman and Orange Short Story Award Secrets collection (Polygon), and in A Fictional Guide to Scotland (OpenInk).

    My awards include first prize in the 2012 Vancouver International Writers’ Festival Poetry Contest, joint first prize in the 2009 Baked Poetry Contest, first prize in the 2008 Authors on Eighth Creative Non-Fiction Contest, first prize in the 2005 Lothian Life Poetry Competition and first prize in the 2004 Worldwise Regional Creative Writing Competition. In 1995 I won the Zurich Insurance Business Feature Award. (I know that's a long time ago now but it was my first award for writing and I'm incredibly grateful for the encouragement it gave me.)

    I've also received third prize in The Antigonish Review 2014 Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest, second prize in the 2013 Dr W H Drummond Poetry Contest, and second prize in the Vancouver International Writers' Festival Poetry Contest in both 2010 and 2011.

    My work has been a finalist for The Malahat Review Open Season Awards in 2013 and 2010, The Malahat Review Far Horizons Award in 2011, the Writers' Union of Canada Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers in 2010 and the CBC Poetry Face-off in 2008. My poems have been commended in the 2014 McLellan Poetry Prize, shortlisted for the 2014 PRISM Poetry Contest and the 2013 Winston Collins/Descant Poetry Prize, and nominated for the 2011 Pushcart Prize.

    I've received four Advanced Artist Awards from the Government of Yukon to support my writing, a grant from the Emerging Northern Writers and Artists Fund, support from the Cultural Industries Training Fund and two Touring Artist Fund awards.

    Do-it-yourself
    In 2013, I self-published a chapbook of poems about animals as a fundraiser for animal welfare charities. It's called They Bring it on Themselves.

    Learning and working
    I have an MLitt degree in creative writing from the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde and am a Humber School for Writers graduate. I have also participated in workshops and colloquiums at The Banff Centre, the Sage Hill Writing Experience and Arvon. With diplomas in plain language editing and journalism, I earn my living as a public sector communications professional. I helped to found the Yukon Writers' Collective Ink and have coordinated the biennial Whitehorse Poetry Festival.

    Where I am
    I've lived with my husband in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, ever since emigrating from the UK in 2006. I was born and grew up in England and have also lived in Wales and Scotland and travelled around a bit, including, a long time ago, working my passage on a couple of yachts across the Atlantic Ocean and a solo cycle ride across Canada (from Nova Scotia to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories).