Joan O’Callaghan was born in Toronto, but grew up in Brantford, Ontario. She graduated from the University of Western Ontario with an Honours B.A. in English Language and Literature. She then attended York University where she earned an M.A. in English Literature, and then a B.Ed. from the University of Toronto.
Joan has been an English teacher and department head at schools in both the Halton and York Region Boards of Education, and also served for eight years as Manager of Promotional and Educational Services for the Canadian Daily Newspaper Publishers Association.
It was during this time that she met her husband, J. Patrick O’Callaghan, publisher of such newspapers as the Windsor Star, the Edmonton Journal and the Calgary Herald, and Chairman of the Boards of the Canadian Press, the Canadian Daily Newspaper Publishers Association and the Canadian Section of the International Press Institute. Patrick O’Callaghan died in 1996 but continues to be a major influence in Joan’s life.
In 1994, Joan was invited to join the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and then the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, in 1996. Joan has been on faculty at OISE/UT since 1996, training high school English teachers.
Joan has been the recipient of the Golden Apple Award from Queen’s University Faculty of Education for Excellence in Teaching; she has been named Professor of the Year by the OISE/UT Students Council, as well as Most Engaging English Instructor and Most Inspirational Instructor.
In addition to her full-time position at OISE/UT, Joan has an active career in freelance writing, with over 30 publications to her credit. She is the author of three books, two published by Scholastic Canada and the most recent one by Rubicon.
Her freelance clients have included the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Ottawa, Maclean’s Magazine, the Ontario Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Montreal Gazette, the Hamilton Spectator, the Windsor Star, B’nai Brith Canada, and the Toronto Star. She has published articles in the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, the Hamilton Spectator, the Simcoe Reformer, the Winnipeg Free Press, the Toronto Sun and the Jerusalem Post.
Joan’s interests include reading, writing, live theatre, cooking and spending time with friends and family. All her activities are closely supervised by her cat Benny.