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Multiple Betty Mitchell, Chalmer’s, Dora and Governor General’s Award-winning author Joan MacLeod grew up in North Vancouver and studied Creative Writing at the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia.
Now an internationally celebrated star of the world of the theatre, MacLeod developed her finely honed playwriting skills during seven seasons as playwright-in-residence at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, and turned her hand to opera with her libretto for The Secret Garden, which won a Dora Award.
She has had many radio dramas produced by CBC Stereo Theatre, including Hand of God, a one-hour drama adapted from her play Jewel, and has written numerous scripts for film and television productions.
Translated into eight languages, her work has been extensively produced around the world. Multiple simultaneous productions of her hit play The Shape of a Girl toured internationally for four years, including a sold-out run in New York. Her play Amigo’s Blue Guitar won the 1991 Governor General’s Drama Award. Her Governor General’s Award nominations include one in 1996 for The Hope Slide / Little Sister and one in 2009 for Another Home Invasion.
MacLeod also writes prose and poetry, which has been published in a wide variety of literary journals.
December 2012 : Announcing Modern Canadian Plays, Volume Two, Fifth Edition
November 2011 : Joan MacLeod wins the 2011 Siminovitch Prize!
October 2011 : Siminovitch Prize Short List Announced!
Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, Recipient (2011)
BOOK AWARDSToronto, Mississippi
Finalist for the 2008 ReLit Award (Longlist)
BOOK AWARDSHope Slide / Little Sister, The
Winner of the 1993 The Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award
BOOK AWARDSAnother Home Invasion
Finalist for the 2009 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama”
QUOTES OF NOTEAnother Home Invasion
“The playwright shares with novelist Ian McEwan the ability to stretch tension out over everyday domestic scenes … Another Home Invasion is piercingly accurate writing that interrogates how our society is really serving our seniors at a time when they most need our help.”
— Globe & Mail
“A perfect evening of theatre … there isn’t a false word in MacLeod’s script.”
— Calgary Herald
“A finely honed work of art.”
— Toronto Star
“ … even better than Shape of a Girl.”
— National Post
“A startling commentary on aging and elder care.”
“ Another Home Invasion is a deliciously readable monologue.”
— Sara Cassidy, BC Bookworld
QUOTES OF NOTEToronto, Mississippi
“His poetry addresses the limitless discussion of the boundaries between the personal and the political.”
— National Post”
QUOTES OF NOTEHomechild
MacLeod has written a moving story of hugh implications—what family, identity and personal history mean.
QUOTES OF NOTEShape of a Girl , The / Jewel
"Joan MacLeod’s The Shape of a Girl has many of the hallmarks of the best intuitive writing… [her] poetry is pure."
— Georgia Straight
— Globe and Mail
"Beautifully written… like Jewel, The Shape of a Girl will enter the repertoire and be performed for many years to come."
— Toronto Star
"Her main character… feels so much more real than most portraits of young people onstage. Ms. MacLeod writes dialogue that sounds like the way girls talk, without being a bit condescending. Braidie is just your average kid. She’s a little melodramatic, maybe, and a handful for her mother, but nothing too out of the ordinary. So when she sees her friends cruelly hazing a girl at school, she does what most kids would do — absolutely nothing.
Joan MacLeod’s sober and gripping one-woman show ‘‘The Shape of a Girl,’‘ produced by a Canadian company, the Green Thumb Theater, and playing at the Duke on 42nd Street through Jan. 30, adds to the growing consensus in popular culture that ‘‘sugar-and-spice and everything nice’‘ might have been overstating the case.
In recent years, girls have been increasingly portrayed in everything from serious journalistic studies to light comedies like ‘‘Mean Girls’‘ as tyrannical, bullying and devoted to a ruthless caste system.
Inspired by the real-life murder in 1997 of the 14-year-old Reena Virk by two high school girls in Vancouver, this memory play tells the fictional story of a less horrific act of brutality told from the perspective of a not-so-innocent bystander. By making the play about her failure to act courageously, Ms. MacLeod has turned what could have been a simple after-school special into a much more complex drama with thornier moral issues.
Through Braidie’s eyes, the audience sees the plight of Sophie, an innocent, awkward girl who is bullied by her classmates. She is ignored, mocked and referred to as a thing instead of a person. Braidie sympathizes with Sophie, but also seems to resent her inability to stick up for herself.
Jennifer Paterson is brilliant in the role, winning our sympathies and communicating with painstaking articulation the weakness of being unable to stop something that you know is wrong. This subject has been explored before. Neil LaBute, for one, is a master at revealing the failings of the ineffectual everyman.
But Ms. MacLeod doesn’t have his killer instinct or his cruel streak. She struggles mightily not to judge her main character, who feels so much more real than most portraits of young people onstage. Ms. MacLeod writes dialogue that sounds like the way girls talk, without being a bit condescending. Of course, the fact that Braidie and her situation seem so familiar only makes the drama that much more troubling."
— New York Times”
QUOTES OF NOTE2000
(2000) is a remarkable achievement.
— CBRA (Canadian Book Review Annual)
Full of good insights good lines.
— University of Toronto Quarterly
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program; and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.