Joan Clark (1934–2023)

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of beloved Canadian children’s book author Joan Clark on April 11, 2023.

Florence Joan Clark (née MacDonald), known fondly as Joan, was born October 12, 1934 in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. She lived life passionately, immersed in literature, learning, travel, lifelong friendships and her family.

Joan graduated from Acadia University in 1957 with a BA in English and received an honorary Doctor of Letters from her alma mater in 1997, and an honorary Doctorate in 1998 from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Joan began her career as a schoolteacher in Sussex, NB. She began writing at the kitchen table during her children’s nap times. She published her first novel in 1968. Throughout her vast and vibrant writing career, she wrote poetry, short stories, children’s books, young adult novels, adult novels and a screenplay. Joan was an integral member of the expansive arts communities in Alberta and Newfoundland as an advocate and mentor. She was a founding member of Writer’s Guild of Alberta, as well as a founding member of the Writer’s Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador. She also co-founded the literary journal Dandelion (Alberta) and won numerous awards for her writing. She was passionate about mentoring writers across the country and served as Writer in Residence in Edinburgh, Banff Center of the Arts and University of New Brunswick, where she completed her last novel in 2015 at the age of 80. Joan was honoured to receive both the Marian Engle Award (for adult body of fiction) and the Vicky Metcalf Award for children’s literature (for a body of work). In 2010, Joan received the Order of Canada for her contribution to the literary arts communities in Alberta and Newfoundland.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family and friends. The Clark family will be hosting a Celebration of Life, details of which will follow. Condolences, memories, and photos can also be shared and viewed here