JoAnn Dionne


B.A. (McGill), M.F.A. (UVic)

Web site:


Areas of Research & Creative Activity

Creative nonfiction, memoir, travel writing, fiction, poetry.


JoAnn Dionne grew up in Salmon Arm, BC. At sixteen she won a national essay contest with a prize of three years' tuition at any Canadian university. She attended McGill in Montreal and graduated with honours in English. Armed with a TESL Certificate from Vancouver Community College she went on to teach ESL for many years, living and working in Japan, Mexico, China, and Hong Kong. In 2000, she landed a job as an editor at the Hong Kong office of Oxford University Press. Since 2004, she has worked as a freelance writer and editor for both the Hong Kong and New York offices of OUP from her home in Victoria.

Her first book, Little Emperors: A Year with the Future of China—a memoir of her time teaching elementary school in Guangzhou—survived the fallout from two publisher bankruptcies and finally appeared in 2008 via Dundurn in Toronto. Little Emperors was shortlisted for the 2008 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature and named a finalist for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize.

In October 2009, she took a year off and went to live in Dharamsala, India. The manuscript she will complete for her MFA at UVic is based on her experiences there and on her travels around India, China, and Tibet.

Selected Publications


Little Emperors

Published by Dundurn Press


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