News flash! I’m thrilled to have finished my new book, Lighthouse, with Crow. This novel has been supported by the Canada Council and the BC Arts Council and is set both on the Isle of Wight, UK, and at Lennard Island Lighthouse, on the outer coast of Vancouver Island, near Tofino. It’s a gripping read, one that will appeal to both Canadian and UK audiences. I’m currently seeking representation.

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I grew up in the cane fields of Iere Village in the south of Trinidad. My mother was an artist and my father was a mariner and mountaineer also born in Trinidad.  More  On graduating high school, I volunteered at Strathcona Park Lodge on Vancouver Island for six months. In return I was able to accompany wilderness kayaking trips on Vancouver Island’s west coast—an experience that made me drop plans for university in England and return to Canada. I took Outdoor Education with an interest in nature interpretation, later working as a sea kayak and whale-watching guide in Tofino. This allowed me to pursue a driving passion for adventures on the water, and to remain in Canada as a citizen. In 1996, I became the illustrator for a community mapping project in Tofino and the following year took up work as editor of The Sound Magazine. In 2000 I turned to freelance writing and illustrating.

     Photo credit Jen Steele

Paddling Through Time, my first book, was published by Raincoast Books in 2000. It’s a cultural and natural history of the Clayoquot Sound area, as well as a the record of a journey, illustrated by photographer and naturalist Adrian Dorst.
(For information about Adrian’s latest book see:  https://www.ubcpress.ca/the-birds-of-vancouver-islands-west-coast.)

In 2002 I published, edited and sold 2000 copies of Salt In Our Blood  an anthology of west coast moments, including many anecdotes of Tofino in the early days, as told to me by the late Neil and Marilyn Buckle.

My 2005 novel Silent Inlet (Oolichan) was awarded both Canada Arts Council and BC Arts Council funding and was published by Oolichan Books. In Silent Inlet, I set out to show how easily cross-cultural relationships can break down, having witnessed this in Tofino during the Oka crisis.

In August 2014, my volume of poetry, This Dark, was illustrated and published by Postelsia Press and four years later Wild Fierce Life: Dangerous Moments on the Outer Coast was published by Caitlin Press. It was a BC Bestseller, met by these fabulous reviews: https://joannastreetly.com/blog/news/
Among other events, Wild Fierce Life was picked up by the Vancouver’s Writers Festival and the Boswell Book Festival in the UK.

I was the inaugural Tofino Poet Laureate 2018-2020, a busy position that led to many community events. Each year during National Poetry Month I collected and presented daily poems by BC poets, combined with images. I worked with students and community elders to create the Before the Road album. https://www.westerlynews.ca/entertainment/tofino-authors-new-book-reflects-on-life-before-highway-4-ever-existed/ and created the Sound Range website, a community conversation about the changing acoustic landscape of the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve region. This website combines traditional Indigenous place names and knowledge with poetry, photography, maps and real sound recordings. https://soundrange.ca/ 

?iisaak in the Garden is a book Ian Gill, Gisele Martin and I were jointly commissioned to write, documenting the environmental uprisings in Clayoquot Sound to date. It was envisioned as a paper book, but the pandemic intervened and it was published in early 2020 as an e-book: https://issuu.com/hotelzed/docs/tzed_20book_20-_20digital

My work is in Best Canadian Essays, 2017, and in anthologies, magazines and literary journals. I’ve been short-listed for the Spectator’s Shiva Naipaul Award for outstanding travel writing, the FBCW Literary Writes Poetry Contest and the Canada Writes Creative Non-fiction Prize.

I’m the west coast rep for the Federation of BC Writers and a long-standing member of the Clayoquot Writers’ Group. I’ve volunteered as an art teacher in the elementary school and am also involved in performing arts, with several performances in the past few years.

I live on a floathouse in the Tofino harbour, with my partner Marcel and our daughter Toby, where adventures on the water continue.

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