Born in Richmond, Virginia, Plum spent her early years in Hong Kong and Singapore before her family immigrated to Canada, settling in Oakville, Ontario.

After receiving her B.Sc. degree in education from Wheelock College in Boston, she returned to Toronto and enrolled in the M.F.A. Theatre program at York University.

In 1983, she founded KidsCanada Publishing Corp. to pioneer the first parenting publications in Canada and was awarded the Toronto Sun’s Women On The Move Award for outstanding achievement in business.  Over the next ten years, her flagship News Magazine, KidsToronto, won multiple international design awards and in 1992, Plum was awarded the PPA Award of Excellence for her monthly editorial column.

In 1996, she invented the Pictureball, as seen on TSC.

In 2002, she co-founded Help’s Here! – a resource magazine for seniors and caregivers.

In addition to her writing and publishing, Plum is an accomplished illustrator and portrait painter, having long surpassed her goal of “ten thousand hours on the brush.” Over the past twenty-five years she has studied under Telford Fenton, Robert Markle, John Viljoen and Dan Hughes. She has also studied briefly under Susan Low-Beer, Maryon Kantaroff, Lila Lewis, and Mark Thurman, among others. In the summer of 2006, she traveled to England to study etching & printmaking under Freya Payne at the Falmouth College of Art.

Plum Johnson’s memoir, They Left Us Everything, is published by Penguin (Canada).


15 responses to “Bio

  1. Zoë Levitsky

    I enjoyed the book “They Left Us Everything” very much! I cried I was laughing so hard while reading parts of the first chapter. My step-mother and I were very close and I was her primary care giver the last years of her life although she didn’t live with me. So much of the conversations in the first chapter resonated with me. I learned early on, when my mother first showed some early signs of dementia, to be compassionate and I’ve become an advocate for seniors in my community as a result of my experiences during my mother’s end of life journey. Plum’s journey as a caring family member and loving daughter will feel familiar to other readers. That tug of war of what one feels you should/could do and wanting your own time and space can be difficult when an elder is in one’s life. What an interesting family to be a part of and how wonderful that, by the end of the book, Plum has been able to appreciate her parents (especially her mother) find herself, and to let-go of the things that reminded her of the past.

  2. Audrey McDermott

    I,ve just finished your , They Left Us Everything.
    It just so happens my husband was born in Oakville in1931,& when we married in 1955 we lived in Oakville on Colbourne St above Donna Lee candy shop.
    I have been been reading bits & pieces to my husband & sharing a laugh & remembering our own parents.
    A very wonderful book.

  3. Cecilia

    From B.C.
    Your book was greatly enjoyed not only for such a pertinent subject, but also the wonderful descriptive language about the life of your parents, family members, and the nature surrounding your loved home by the water. No more guilt if leave my children to unearth the contents and memories in and around a family home! Thank you for writing and leaving readers so much of everything!

  4. Adriana Denhoed

    What a great book! So honest ……you are so gifted .
    Thank you for sharing your life . My 92 year ol mother lives with us ,and I treasure her deeply . Their generation has seen so much .
    I must record her stories for our children . Every blessing to you.

    Adriana , Oshawa

  5. Frances, Sidney, BC

    Thank you for writing this book. Wonderful read, uplifting and filled with laughter and love. I have recommended that our book club read it and share!

  6. I had thought of clearing out my desk drawers of stuff but after reading your wonderful book Plum, I am leaving it all to my children so that they can sort out what they want to keep and discard.

  7. Audrey

    Wonderful read. my husband & I are from Oakville now living in Belleville ON
    My husband was born in Oakville.The candy shop she refers to was Donna Lee candy shop where we rented an Apt. above when we were married 60 Yrs ago.

  8. Tom Grand

    I really enjoyed ‘They Left Us Everything’. What an exceptional family. My father is 96. His memory is still razor sharp. Togethet we’ve been writing his family history. What fun and what a treasure to leave behind for our children and grandchildren when they are old enough to appreciate it.

    Tom Grand, Burlington

  9. So enjoyed your book, identified with a lot of it and laughed and cried, will be encouraging family and friends to enjoy it too.

  10. Bill E.

    Thank you for this wonderful gift of a story about you, your parents and an amazing family. You are an invigorating writer. I finished the book in record time – for me – and felt moved by it over and over. I was sad to learn you have since lost one of your brothers. I can see how that would make the experiences leading up to the book even more valuable for you all. Good luck to all of you.

  11. Linda Wolk

    Loved your book. I’ve been telling everyone to read it. Heard you on CFRB — that’s where I heard about you and your wonderful book. I didn’t want it to end!

  12. Nancy taylor

    Almost finished the book. I have cleaned out 2 homes, 2 cottages, 2 apartments…I TOTALLY GET IT! Not what I usually read. Loved every page! Congrats to you on the book. Just ordered a copy for a friend who has an elderly MIL with a place full of “stuff”. First time ever I have tried to contact an author! Just that impressed.

  13. Eleanor Thompson

    This is a book I enjoyed so much I didn’t want it to end. You are a very gifted writer—you literally draw pictures for your readers. What interesting and opposite parents you had. I was moved by the care and compassion you and your brothers showed in caring for first your brother, and then both parents so they could live out their lives at home. You did have help but the decision to take on these enormous jobs were yours and the way you were able to work together through the “sibling suppers” to organize was to my mind unusual. You all brought gifts to the table and used them in the best way to enable all this care to happen.
    Cleaning up and disposing of a lifetime of both valuables and stuff was a huge task but again you all worked together to make it happen. As the only girl you assumed much of the job (with friends help) , always consulting your brothers. This story is familiar to many of us but you make it such an interesting one. Thanks too for including pictures—I was also able to find the G&M article from Dec. 2010 with more. So glad the house was not torn down. One question—how many bathrooms did you have? You never tell us that, and it sounds like one, which can’t be for an eight bedroom home, or maybe knowing your parents it was!!!
    Thanks for this book.

  14. Stephanie

    I read your book in record time. Our library book club discussed it yesterday and we all were moved by your wonderful book. Led to a great discussion. We live in Kilmarnock, Northern Neck, Va, so are interested in your Va roots.
    Your descriptive phrases are so clear. Some book clubbers have diaries of mothers. I await your next publication with great anticipation. Please keep writing and painting.
    Thank you for your book. I will share it with my sister in law who knew my parents in their end of life dementia. It may lead us to write of them.

  15. Phyll Reid

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book between laugher and tears. We left Ireland before my parents died, this meant I had little input into what THEY left behind. This I really regretted as there were several items that could have been sent here. My sister who cleared the house was unmarried and showed little interest in the history of anything in it , my siblings were rather upset that it was all done SO FAST but then at the end of the day they appreciated all the hard work she did. After reading your book I find I’m reminiscing more about these things. A wonderful book which we’ll be discussing this evening at our book club. Thanks.

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