Plum Johnson

Plum Johnson is an award-winning writer who lives in Toronto. She had an American mother and a British father whose compromise was to raise their children as Canadians. Growing up on the shores of Lake Ontario, they made annual pilgrimages by car down Route 15 to Richmond, Virginia, stopping to read every historical marker along the way. They Left Us Everything was nominated for the Leacock Medal for Humour, the Kobo Prize, and was the winner of the RBC Taylor Prize for non-fiction.


They Left Us Everything (World Rights Available ex: Penguin Canada, 2014)2015 RBC Charles Taylor Prize

“Beautifully observed and written with great warmth and wit, They Left Us Everything is an absorbing memoir of grief, growth, and decluttering. Plum Johnson must deal not merely with the legacy of her difficult, ill-matched parents, but is handed the burden of disposing of the seemingly endless contents of their 23-room Lake Ontario home, which becomes a character on its own in the telling. The task, which she initially thinks manageable, proves Herculean, far more complex than she’d imagined, involving understanding her past and packing up its contents, both literal and metaphorical. A story of love, loss, and legacy, written with compassion and humour, it subtly evokes T.S. Eliot’s lines: “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” – 2015 RBC Charles Taylor Prize jury citation

“At times heartbreaking and at others hysterically funny, Johnson’s memories propel the narrative from volatile mid-century Singapore to a sprawling, colonial-era Virginia estate and beyond, but always settle back to the rambling family home on the shores of Lake Ontario; a place “seared into their bones.” …The book’s descriptive prose brings these places and people to life and poignantly conveys the quasi-spiritual journey that helps Johnson overcome her grief.” -Publisher’s Weekly

“Plum Johnson’s vivid description of her glorious childhood home on the edge of Lake Ontario makes the house seem almost a character in its own right. Both house and family are flawed and spectacular, especially the father who, despite a difficult beginning, glued himself together with hard work and discipline. I loved the grit and energy of this book.”
-Catherine Gildiner, author of Too Close to the Falls and After the Falls


Agent: Samantha Haywood