Joan Baxter is a Nova Scotian author, journalist, development researcher/writer and anthropologist who now divides her time between Canada and Africa. Her 2017 book, The Mill - Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest, won the 2018 Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing, and was shortlisted for three other awards. It also topped the Nova Scotia Chapters Indigo bestseller list for three months.
Her 2008 book, Dust From Our Eyes - an unblinkered look at Africa, was shortlisted for the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize in the United States, and a second edition was released in 2010. Her 2001 book, A Serious Pair of Shoes: An African Journal, won the Evelyn Richardson Award for non-fiction at the 2001 Atlantic Writing Awards. The late Peter Gzowski included her letters to CBC Morningside in his series of Morningside Letters books, and described Joan's first non-fiction work, Graveyard for Dreamers: One Woman's Odyssey in Africa, as "a magical book". In addition to hundreds of news reports and features for BBC World Service, her short fiction has also been aired on this worldwide radio service in several languages. She has lived and worked in Mexico, Guatemala, Niger, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Mali and Sierra Leone, and is multi-lingual.
For more than two decades Joan lived with her family in Africa, reporting for the BBC World Service, CBC Radio and the Associated Press. Her writing has also appeared in Le Monde Diplomatique, The Toronto Star, Pambazuka News, The Scotsman, The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, and The Chronicle Herald. She also worked as a Senior Science Writer at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2006 and 2007, she served as Executive Director for the international non-governmental organization, the Nova Scotia - Gambia Association, working in The Gambia and Sierra Leone on development education for youth and marginalized groups. While there, she produced two films showing positive images and messages from West Africa. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the international NGO, USC Canada / Seeds of Survival.
Over the years she has met, interviewed and profiled a host of African presidents, dignitaries, writers, intellectuals, thinkers and artists, including the late and much-loved President Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, the late great Miriam Makeba of South Africa and Ali Farka Toure of Mali, the sensational Malian duo Amadu & Mariam, the late Francis Bebey of Cameroon, and many more. She is a frequent public speaker on African issues and does consulting and voluntary work in development. She specializes in development issues as they relate to social and environmental justice, climate change, human rights, sustainable agriculture, food and seed and land sovereignty.Publications
The Mill - Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest. Pottersfield PRess. 2017 (ISBN 978-1-988286-17-4)
Seven Grains of Paradise: A Culinary Journey in Africa. Pottersfield Press, 2017 (ISBN 978-1-988286-02-0)
Dust From Our Eyes: An Unblinkered Look At Africa. Wolsak & Wynn, 2008 (ISBN 978-1-894987-30-1), second edition 2010 (ISBN 978-1-894987-47-9); world edition, 2011, Fahamu Books. Shortlisted for the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize
The Hermit of Gully Lake: The Life and Times of Willard Kitchener MacDonald. Pottersfield Press, 2005. ISBN 1-895900-70-0.
A Serious Pair of Shoes: An African Journal. Pottersfield Press, 2000. ISBN 1-895900-30-1.
Strangers Are Like Children: Stories of Africa. Short fiction collection. Pottersfield Press, 1996. ISBN 0-919001-98-X.
Graveyard for Dreamers: One Woman's Odyssey in Africa. Pottersfield Press, 1994. ISBN 0-919001-88-2.
"Act of God".Atlantica: Stories from the Maritimes and Newfoundland. 2001. Lesley Choyce, Editor. Goose Lane Editions. ISBN 0-8692-309-0.
Benin, The Congo, Burkina Faso: Politics, Economics and Society. Contributing Author. Pinter Publishers, London, 1989. ISBN 0-86187-481-1
"Act of God". Atlantica: Stories from the Maritimes and Newfoundland. 2001. Lesley Choyce, Editor. Goose Lane Editions. ISBN 0-8692-309-0.
"Everything by God".Something To Write Home About: Reflections From the Heart of History. Edited by Claude Colart and Sahm Venter; foreward by Desmond Tutu. Johannesberg, South Africa: Jacana Media, 2004. ISBN 1919931953.
Fourth Morningside Papers (1991), The Latest Morningside Papers (1989) and The New Morningside Papers (1987), by Peter Gzowski, McClelland & Stewart (contributions to CBC Morningside from Africa by Joan Baxter in Togo, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya).
Timbuktu - Centre of the World. 45-minute radio documentary for BBC Radio 3 Sunday Feature, produced by Louise Yeoman, presented by Joan Baxter.
Scotland's Shame: Bunce Island. 30-minute documentary for BBC Scotland on slave-trade and Scottish connection in Sierra Leone, produced by Louise Yeoman, presented by Joan Baxter.
A Journey on the River Niger. 30-minute radio documentary for BBC World Learning series, Four Rivers. 2003.
The Changing Mood of Mali's Muslims. 30-minute radio documentary for BBC African Perspective. 2001.
Food and Medicine From the Forest. 30-minute radio documentary on how scientists and farmers are bringing valuable trees from the vanishing forests to cultivate on their farms in Cameroon. BBC One Planet. 1998.
Field of Trees. 30-minute video on agroforestry filmed in Uganda, Zambia, Indonesia and Peru. ICRAF. 1996.
Shortlisted for the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for 'Dust From Our Eyes'
Short-listed for the Booksellers' Choice Award at the 2006 Atlantic Book Awards for 'The Hermit of Gully Lake'
Winner of the 2001 Evelyn Richardson Award for 'A Serious Pair of Shoes'