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Lucinda Johnston has travelled widely on three continents, lived in Vancouver and Ontario cities and been at home in tents and cabins in B.C.’s wilderness. She earned an English Specialist Degree at the University of Toronto, helped to form a merchandising business which employed local artists, then left, attracted by the simple rewards of being a bookseller. After believing that she might stay at Queen Street West’s Pages Bookstore for a few months, she remained there 21 years, leaving only when it closed its doors in 2009.
Disturbed by two instances of censorship of Pages’ legendary display window in the 80s and early 90s and hobbled as the small press backlist buyer by an increase in Canada Customs censorship, Johnston became a tireless advocate for the legal status of free expression in Canada. Appointed to the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee as the Canadian Booksellers Association’s representative, she gave speeches to the Freelance Editors’ Association, to members of PEN, the Writers’ Union and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund. She lobbied the Canadian government, appeared on radio and television and wrote numerous articles which appeared in Fuse Magazine and other Ontario and Quebec publications. Ultimately, she was among a small, persistent group who succeeded in influencing the way Canada Customs did business and interpreted the Criminal Code.
Lucinda Johnston is the daughter of the late Canadian cartoonist Gordon Johnston, whose features, “Jeff Buchanan” and “It Happened in Canada,” appeared in newspapers across the country from the 1960s through the 1980s. She has lived in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood for almost 20 years and is currently working on a memoir of the city. Costume and Bone is her first book.