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Thomas JoanJoan Thomas is the author of two highly-acclaimed novels. Reading by Lightning, a coming-of-age story set in World War II, won the First Novel Award and was described by the jury as “a fabulous novel, full of grace and delicious discovery.” It was also the winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book (Canada and the Caribbean), and was longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She was awarded the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Engel/Findley Award in 2014.

Joan’s second book, Curiosity, a fictionalization of the life of 19th century British fossilist Mary Anning, was praised by reviewers as “a beautiful, erudite, and deeply pleasurable work”. . . “a big juicy read” . . . “a thinking person’s love story.” It was longlisted for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, as well as being named a Quill and Quire Book of the Year and an Book of the Month.

Prior to writing fiction, Joan was a longtime contributing book reviewer for the Globe and Mail. In 1996 she won a National Magazine Award for Personal Journalism for a piece published in Prairie Fire Magazine. She is the co-editor of two short fiction anthologies, Turn of the Story: Canadian Short Fiction on the Eve of the Millennium (House of Anansi Press, 1999) and The Journey Prize Anthology (McClelland and Stewart, 2010). She lives in Winnipeg.

Joan’s website

Joan’s Books:

The Opening Sky

Thomas_The Opening Sky

McClelland and Stewart, Canada, August 2014

McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award (2015)

Finalist for the 2014 Governor General’s Award for Fiction

A CBC Best Book of 2014



McClelland and Stewart, Canada, March 30, 2010

Longlisted for the 2010 Giller Prize

A Quill & Quire Book of the Year 2010

Longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

Shortlisted for the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction

Shortlisted for the McNally Robinson Book of the Year

Reading by Lightning

Thomas_Reading By Lightning

Goose Lane Editions, Canada, Fall 2008

Globe 100 Best Book, 2008

Winner of the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book

Shortlisted for three Manitoba Book Awards: the McNally Robinson Book of the Year, the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, and the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book

Winner of the First Novel Award

Longlisted for the 2010 IMPAC Award