Joan MacLeod: Playwright
on drama

Both at her career’s current peak and back in high school, Joan MacLeod’s writing was heartfelt and relentless. “It was the only thing I did well,” she says. “I wrote and wrote and wrote.”

These days, MacLeod has nine acclaimed plays behind her, as well as a rich history of mentoring dramatists, poets and every sort of storyteller. Before her arrival in 2004 as a member of the University of Victoria faculty, she enjoyed a series of professional appointments that spanned Canada and Britain.

Joan Macleod’s style has been praised for clarity, humor, emotional honesty and a steadfast moral dedication to the empathies that transform us. Her dramas are profoundly rooted in real-life challenges to the human spirit, but always avoid sermons and transcend political viewpoints. She uses current events as a staircase to create universal narratives that search out and celebrate our strangenesses, excesses and redemptions.

As well as having been awarded Canada’s Governor General’s Award in Drama for Amigo’s Blue Guitar (1990), she has received both the Jesse Richardson and Betty Mitchell Awards for The Shape Of A Girl (2001). Little Sister (1994) received the Chalmers’ Canadian Play Award, and was nominated for the Governor General's Award. Her achievements have further been recognized by several grants from the Canada Council and BC Arts Council.