Northern Highlight - Joan Lennon


Joan Lennon

Why did you become a writer? 

 I think it was inevitable. I love words – love stories – love everything to do with words and stories, like movies and poetry and eavesdropping and people watching and wondering why?  Making my own stories out of all that was just the logical next step, which started when I was about 8. It took me another 40 or so years before I became a writer full time, but it was always on the back burner.

Tell us about where you live.  

I live in the top two floors of a Victorian house, in a village overlooking the River Tay, in the flamboyantly-named Kingdom of Fife.

Where do you write?  

I have a desk in my bedroom in the eaves. And a flat roof I can climb out onto.

What for you is the ‘spirit of the North’?  

I’m from Canada, though I’ve lived most of my adult life in Scotland, so I have two countries’ worth of ‘North’ in me. There are similarities between them, not just because Canada has received so many Scots over the years (ancestors of mine included). Part of it has to do with having a powerful neighbour with whom you share a language, more or less, and how that shapes us. But I think perhaps it’s a lot to do with geography, which, as we know, makes history.

Published by BC Books

Has this spirit influenced your work?  

I think that’s pretty inevitable, too. It’s so much part of who I am that I couldn’t not write it, even if it occurred to me to want to.  

If you could be transported to anywhere in the North right now, where would it be?  

Fair Isle. I was there on a writing retreat for the month of February this year and can’t wait to get back. (Though maybe not in winter next time …)

Published by BC Books

What would you like to see from children’s publishing in the North?  

Some sort of magical influx of money so that smaller presses could flourish.

What’s your favourite children’s book set in the North?  

Hard to choose, but Rosemary Sutcliff’s Eagle of the Ninth would have to be one of them.

You can find out more about Joan by visiting her website:


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