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Plum Johnson

Author, Illustrator, Portrait Painter, Publisher

Born in Richmond, Virginia, Plum spent her early years in Hong Kong and Singapore before her family immigrated to Canada, settling in Oakville, Ontario.

After receiving her B.Sc. degree in education from Wheelock College in Boston, she returned to Toronto and enrolled in the M.F.A. Theatre program at York University.

In 1983, she founded KidsCanada Publishing Corp. to pioneer the first parenting publications in Canada and was awarded the Toronto Sun’s Women On The Move Award for outstanding achievement in business. Over the next ten years, her flagship News Magazine, KidsToronto, won multiple international design awards and in 1992, Plum was awarded the PPA Award of Excellence for her monthly editorial column.

In 1996, she invented the Pictureball, as seen on TSC.

In 2002, she co-founded Help’s Here! – a resource magazine for seniors and caregivers.

In addition to her writing and publishing, Plum is an accomplished illustrator and portrait painter, having long surpassed her goal of “ten thousand hours on the brush.” Over the past twenty-five years she has studied under Telford Fenton, Robert Markle, John Viljoen and Dan Hughes. She has also studied briefly under Susan Low-Beer, Maryon Kantaroff, Lila Lewis, and Mark Thurman, among others. In the summer of 2006, she traveled to England to study etching & printmaking under Freya Payne at the Falmouth College of Art.

Plum Johnson’s memoir, They Left Us Everything, is published by Penguin (Canada) and is shortlisted for the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize.
RBC Taylor Prize Excerpt: They Left Us book

RBC Taylor Prize Excerpt: They Left Us Everything

I look up at the windows. Every frame drips with icicles that thaw and freeze and thaw again in our wild, unpredictable winter. Sometimes they all melt away to nothing. Then, forty-eight hours later, the icicles are so long it feels like I'm imprisoned behind bars.
02/24/2015 12:41 EST
RBC Taylor Prize: An Interview With Author Plum RBC

RBC Taylor Prize: An Interview With Author Plum Johnson

After almost twenty years of caring for elderly parents -- first for their senile father, and then for their cantankerous ninety-three-year-old mother -- author Plum Johnson and her three younger brothers experience conflicted feelings of grief and relief when their mother, the surviving parent, dies.
02/24/2015 12:36 EST