E. K. Johnston

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E. K. Johnston
BornEmily Kate Johnston
OccupationAuthor, Forensic Archaeologist
GenreYoung Adult Fiction
Notable worksA Thousand Nights Exit, Pursued By A Bear
Personal Website

Emily Kate Johnston, who publishes as E.K. Johnston, is a Canadian author and forensic archaeologist.[1]


Johnston started writing fan fiction in 2002, and wrote her first manuscript in 2009.[2] Her first book, The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim, was published in 2014, and is set in an alternate present-day Ontario where dragons are both real and a menace. The review in The New York Times called the book "a clever first step in the career of a novelist who [...] has many more songs to sing",[3] it was nominated for the William C. Morris Award in 2015.[1] A sequel, Prairie Fire, followed in 2015.

Johnston's third book was A Thousand Nights, a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights. C.S. Lewis's descriptions of the desert in The Horse and His Boy inspired Johnston in writing her own novel set in the desert.[4] A companion book, Spindle, followed in 2016, which was a reinterpretation of Sleeping Beauty.[5]

Her fifth novel, Exit, Pursued By A Bear, was published in 2016. Inspired by Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, it tells the story of cheer-leading captain Hermione Winters, who discovers she is pregnant after being sexually assaulted at a camp party. It was written partially as a challenge, and partially as a response to Stephen Woodworth's 2013 bill to re-criminalise abortion.[6] It was named a "Book of the Year" by several organisations, including NPR,[7] Publishers Weekly,[8] and the New York Public Library.[9] It won the Canadian Children's Book Centre's Amy Mathers Teen Book Award in 2017.[10]

A Star Wars fan,[11] Johnston was asked to write a book on the character Ahsoka Tano. Published in October 2016,[12] Ahsoka fills in the gap between her appearances in The Clone Wars and Rebels. Her second Star Wars novel, Queen's Shadow, was released in March 2019.[13] Featuring Padme Amidala, Queen's Shadow is set in the years between the events of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones.[14] Additionally, she has also written the story By Whatever Sun, focusing on Miara Larte, a character Johnston created within Ahsoka, and set during the events of A New Hope.

Johnston describes her novel That Inevitable Victorian Thing as a "Near-future Sci-fi Canadian Idealistic Romance",[15]. It was published in 2017.

She credits her discipline in academic writing for helping her time management while writing prose; and states she is a fast writer - she wrote A Thousand Nights in "about 20 days",[2] and writes with little disturbance. She advises early and young writers to learn to finish projects as practice in self-discipline and editing.[6]

Her favourite authors are Jo Graham, Elizabeth Wein, Tessa Gratton, Kiersten White, Madeleine L’Engle, JRR Tolkien, David Eddings, CS Lewis,[2] and Holly Black.[1] She plays the alto saxophone and the clarinet.[1]



  • The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim (2014)
  • Prairie Fire (2015)
  • A Thousand Nights (2015)
  • Spindle (2016) - also published as Kingdom of Sleep
  • Exit, Pursued By A Bear (2016)
  • That Inevitable Victorian Thing (2017)
  • The Afterward (2019)

Short Stories[edit]

  • Work In Progress (2017) in Three Sides of A Heart: Stories about Love Triangles, edited by Natalie Parker

Star Wars[edit]


  • 2015: William C. Morris Award, shortlist (The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim)
  • 2017: Amy Mathers Teen Book Award in 2017, winner (Exit, Pursued By A Bear)


  1. ^ a b c d "2015 Morris Award: An Interview with Finalist E. K. Johnston - The Hub". The Hub. 2015-01-28. Retrieved 2018-10-04.
  2. ^ a b c "E.K. Johnston Discusses A Thousand Nights : The Childrens Book Review". www.thechildrensbookreview.com. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  3. ^ "Where There's Smoke". Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  4. ^ Johnston, E. K. (2015-10-14). "CS Lewis's The Horse and His Boy: the best guide to writing deserts?". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  5. ^ "Read an excerpt from E.K. Johnston's 'Spindle' -- exclusive". EW.com. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  6. ^ a b "YA author E.K. Johnston on what we can learn from William Shakespeare | CBC Books". CBC. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  7. ^ "NPR's Book Concierge". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  8. ^ "Best Books 2016 Publishers Weekly". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  9. ^ "New York Public Library Reveals its List of Best Books for Kids and Teens Just in Time for The Holidays". The New York Public Library. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  10. ^ "Amy Mathers Teen Book Award - Canadian Children's Book Centre". Canadian Children's Book Centre. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  11. ^ "Star Wars: Ahsoka YA novel announced". Flickering Myth. 2016-03-31. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  12. ^ "New STAR WARS Novel Featuring Ahsoka Tano Announced (Exclusive) | Nerdist". Nerdist. 2016-03-31. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  13. ^ Chhibber, Preeti (2018-08-01). "E.K. Johnston and the women of Star Wars". Syfy. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  14. ^ "It's the Padmé Amidala Renaissance, We're All Just Living In It". www.themarysue.com. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  15. ^ "Blog Tour: That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston". www.fictionfare.com. Retrieved 2018-10-05.