reviews and interviews

See what people are saying about Joanna's books, listen to interviews with her or read articles she's written about her work.



Review: Endlings by Joanna Lilley – by Rebecca Valley. Drizzle

Trilobites and Other Endlings in Joanna Lilley's Poetry – a review by Judy Halebsky and Dave Seter, Poetry Engineering Blog

Kiskadee: Where does it hurt? – Mandy-Suzanne Wong, Manque Magazine


49th Shelf Launchpad: Endlings, by Joanna Lilley

CBC Airplay's Dave White: Finding poetry in odd places

Active Voice podcast with Katie Bausler of 49 Writers, Alaska

Quatrain Questions with Joanna Lilley

Worry Stones


'It’s a beautiful novel that captures the importance of the lands in which we ground ourselves, and how damaging our uprooting from those places of identification can be. Lilley illuminates all over again the complexity and friction of family relationships, and ultimately reveals that trying to outrun one’s own dissatisfaction with life is never truly possible.'
– Jenna Butler, The Ormsby Review

'With tenderness and poetic vision, Lilley beautifully portrays the complex connections we have to family. An enthralling story written with boundless love for the natural world.'
– Maia Caron, author of Song of Batoche

'Worry Stones is a gorgeously written novel. I stayed up late reading it and then treated myself to a chapter each morning.'
– Julie Salverson, author of Lines of Flight

'Art and artistry wend their way through the novel as a leitmotif: what drives us to create art, why we consume it, and how art informs us of who we are. Fans of Lilley’s award-nominated poetry, and readers who appreciate elegantly crafted imagery, will enjoy Worry Stones—a novel formed, sculpted, and chiselled over a span of 17 years.

'X plus Y: Navigating familial collapse in Miriam Toews’ A Complicated Kindness meets the stunning sense of place and blending of past and present in Jane Urquhart’s A Map of Glass.'

'Lilley shows us an affectionate geography of people and places that is solid enough to support us, but not so immutable as to keep us trapped.'
– Mary Thaler, The Northern Review 

'Anyone with siblings can relate to these fractures that occur when someone bears the brunt of family duties.'
– Cherie Thiessen, BC BookWorld

'One of the novel’s successes is the character of Jenny. In managing her difficult family, in her anxiety to understand everyone’s viewpoint, sometimes to her own detriment, in her eventual courage in confronting her father—Jenny is fully realized, complex, and utterly believable.'
– Steve Noyes, The Malahat Review


Publication news
The Caledonia Novel Award folk ask Joanna about her journey to publication for Worry Stones.

Joanna Lilley on how long it can take to write a novel

Guest blog on Gail Anderson-Dargatz's site

First Fiction Friday: Worry Stones

A story 17 years in the making
Interview by Amy Kenny, Yukon News

Whitehorse author releases first novel
Interview by Dave White, CBC North, Airplay

An author's dream
Interview by Elke Reinauer, What's Up Yukon

Local author to launch debut novel

If There Were Roads


If There Were Roads, The Birthday Books, The Fleece Era

If There Were Roads by Joanna Lilley
Book review by Tara Borin, Truths from the Trenches


Talking with Yukon author and poet Joanna Lilley
Interview with Alex McCumbers, News of the North, Alaska

Yukon author, poet touring Alaska

Interview with Scott Burton, KTOO

Today's Book of Poetry 
Review by Michael Dennis

Quattrain Questions – living and writing in the north

Interview by Turnstone Press

From Whitehorse to Muenster, poet shares love of writing at St Peter's

Interview by Becky Zimmer, Humboldt Journal

Longing for places: Joanna Lilley's new poetry collection explores the nostalgia of landscapes

Interview by Lori Garrison, Yukon News

All her roads lead to poetry

Interview by Elke Reinauer, What's Up Yukon    

Articles by Joanna

The Devonian period
By Joanna Lilley, Anchorage Press

Writing for Animals

Interview by Ashland Creek Press

The Birthday Books


"Lilley had a real knack for description and with a gamut of settings and scenarios from Yukon to Scotland, I felt like a real armchair traveler."
– John Mutford, The Book Mine Set

"Lilley is most effective with achieving a specific mood within her stories, the characters’ observations and emotional weight colouring the diverse landscapes she portrays, from Edinburgh to Whitehorse, remote Inuit communities to English gardens."

– Allison LaSorda, The Malahat Review

"Each story in this collection is sparely and carefully crafted, beautifully nuanced, yet the intelligence at work is of a higher order, one doubtlessly gained from extensive travel, insight into social circumstance and human nature, and empathy for the human condition. It is a collection resisting summary, the work of a poet equally at home in the short story form, a journey readers will be grateful to have taken."

– Justin Dittrick, SPG Book Reviews 

"Lilley's short story collection is a book like no other. It touches readers and makes them fall in love with the north..."

– Elke Reinauer, What's Up Yukon


Listen a to a radio interview with CBC North host Dave White about The Birthday Books.

Whitehorse writer explores the north's magnetic pull

Interview by Pierre Chauvin, Yukon News 

The Fleece Era


Visit Brick Books online to read some reviews of The Fleece Era and to hear or read some interviews (you'll need to scroll down and click on the tabs). Meanwhile, here are some review snippets.

“I’m reminded of Emily Dickinson’s semi-mystical, epigrammatic lyrics, but also Elizabeth Bishop’s pointillist portraiture—the exquisite image and restrained emotion."

– George Elliott Clarke, The Chronicle Herald

“In a quiet space called imagination, a magical trail of ink flows from Joanna Lilley’s words and seeps inside my head. It swirls and stirs like eddies in a remote stream and my admiration deepens for the lyrical work of this award-winning Yukon-based and UK-born poet.”

– Debbie Okun Hill, Kites Without Strings

“Lilley has a knack for distilling the intricacies of familial relationships to a single galvanizing image: 'Once the will was read / and the sweater wasn't in it / I knew it was my inheritance.'”

– Zachary Abram, Journal of Canadian Poetry – The Poetry Review

“In a voice that is at times happily off-kilter and nearly musical, the poems in Joanna Lilley’s The Fleece Era seek to solve the riddles of her present life in the Yukon and her past familial relationships...”

– Al Rempel, Arc Poetry Magazine

“The poems are both sardonic and comforting, resistant and motherly. Lilley writes about both individualism and dependency in an attempt to locate identity in society, in family, and in self that is both liberating and loving.”

– Contemporary Verse 2

“Her real gift is for last lines—in the James Wright tradition, she often moves from the lyrical into the meditative—a line or two at the end that lock each poem: 'If she throws all of her rocks into the ocean,/there might be enough for a bridge' (“The Collection”).”

– Emily Wall, Canadian Literature, A Quarterly of Criticism and Review

“Each event in The Fleece Era is hauntingly recognizable. To put it in her own words, the poems are are 'felt and seen rather than just merely thought.'”

– Contemporary Verse 2, Snapshots

“There are so many poems in The Fleece Era that could count toward my list of favourites that the challenge to relay them all in a single review would be overly daunting and not really feasible...”

– Andreas Gripp

“At times chilling in its honesty, The Fleece Era nevertheless embraces the complexities of human life with warmth and passion.”

– Adebe deRango-Adem, Quill and Quire

“The Fleece Era contains some beautiful poetry, but has a narrative ease to it that will appeal to readers who don’t usually read poetry. The writing is taut yet deep, brimming with energy and openness.”

– Literary Press Group of Canada

“Joanna Lilley’s The Fleece Era is the discovery of Brick Books’ spring season, a first poetry collection with a subtle, shifting vision of ecological and human connection.”

– Julian Gunn, The Coastal Spectator

“In her poem 'Neo-Colonialist', Joanna Lilley brushes aside her sensitivities and concerns and adopts a comical tone that is (self-)critical of tropes associated with historical and economical privilege, bringing about a marvelous effect, and this crafty poetic approach amid our obsession with everything North is to be found throughout her collection.”

– Garry Thomas Morse, Jacket2