Joanna Lilley
Author Joanna Lilley
(Photograph by Michael Edwards)

Joanna Lilley's fifth book and third poetry collection, Endlings, was published by Turnstone Press in March 2020. She's also the author of a novel, Worry Stones (Ronsdale Press), which was longlisted for the Caledonia Novel Awardand a short story collection, The Birthday Books (Hagios Press). Joanna's other poetry collections are If There Were Roads (Turnstone Press), and The Fleece Era (Brick Books) which was nominated for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. Joanna has an MLitt degree in creative writing from the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde and is a Humber School for Writers graduate. She also has diplomas in plain language editing and journalism and has worked in public sector communications for many years. Joanna is from the UK and now lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, where she helped to set up the Yukon Writers' Collective Ink. She is grateful to the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta'an Kwäch'än Council on whose Traditional Territories she resides.

Read or listen to Joanna's poems

  • Beauty about the Javan tiger on Turnstone Press's YouTube channel 
  • I Hold Up My Hands about the bubal hartebeest, Poetry Party, Concrete and River blog
  • Waiting Room, Chichester Poetry online open mic
  • Four poems, a prose poem and two photographs, in Geographies, Ice Floe Press
  • Tinto, a poem on the Poetry Map of Scotland, a StAnza Poetry Festival project
  • Bryn Gwynant and Where I was Born, poems on the Places of Poetry map
  • Night Vision, composed and arranged as a choral piece by Stephen Chatman, commissioned by the Persephone Singers and performed in this recording by the MacMillan Singers and the University of Toronto Faculty of Music
  • Out of Kilter, a poem about the pink-eared duck as part of the Bimblebox Art Project in Australia
  • Black and White, a poem in Poetry Pause (League of Canadian Poets)
  • a poem, Waterlogged in The Walrus
  • Tylosaurus and Eelgrass Limpet, poems in The Goose, A Journal of Arts, Environment and Culture in Canada
  • Short-faced Bear and Desmostylus Hersperus, poems in Zoomorphic 
  • Camelops hesternusHelmeted Muskox and Beringian Wolf, poems in The Northern Review
  • a poem, Epiphaniesin Taddle Creek
  • a suite of six poems, Extinct, in Northern Public Affairs
  • a long poem, Tierra del Fuego, in wildwords 
  • Overheard, Earth Crack, Earth Twin, Red Canoe, This is the House and Vancouver Heart from The Fleece Era (Brick Books)

Awards and publications

Joanna is grateful to have received four Advanced Artist Awards from the Government of Yukon to support her writing, a grant from the Emerging Northern Writers and Artists Fund, support from the Cultural Industries Training Fund and three Touring Artist Fund awards.

Joanna's first poetry collection, The Fleece Era, was nominated for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. Her novel, Worry Stones, was longlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award.

Her 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, her 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).

Joanna's awards and competition placings include first prize in the Planet in Peril Poetry Competition, the Vancouver International Writers' Festival Poetry Contest (and second place twice), Lothian Life Poetry Competition and the Worldwide Regional Creative Writing Competition, joint first prize in the Baked Poetry Contest, second prize in the Dr W H Drummond Poetry Contest, third prize in The Antigonish Review Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest and fourth place in the Guernsey Literary Festival Poetry Competition.

Her work has also received an honourable mention in the National Broadsheet Contest and has been a finalist for The Malahat Review Open Season Awards, The Malahat Review Far Horizons Award and The Writers' Union of Canada Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers, and shortlisted for the Freefall Chapbook Contest, the PRISM Poetry Contest and the Winston Collins/Descant Poetry Prize. Her poetry has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.


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

Projects in progress

Joanna is currently working on poetry and fiction manuscripts. She is also hatching a plan with her niece Leonora Lilley, who's also a writer, for a family publication featuring Leonora's own work and a tribute to Leonora's mother and Joanna's sister, the artist Rebecca Lilley, who died of breast cancer in 2015.


Joanna has lived with her husband in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, ever since they emigrated from the UK in 2006. She was born and grew up in England and has also lived in Wales and Scotland and travelled around a bit, including, a long time ago, working her passage on yachts across the Atlantic Ocean and cycling 5,885 miles alone across Canada from Nova Scotia to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories.