Briony Penn uses words, art and humour to connect people to the other voices of the Salish Sea and the natural world. 


Penn is an award-winning writer of creative non-fiction books as well as a contributor to many anthologies and chapter books. She has been a feature writer and columnist for decades with over five hundred articles on environmental issues and natural history in newspapers, magazines, government publications, on-line news sources and peer-reviewed journals. She’s written environmental guides and educational handbooks for teachers in British Columbia. 

Books by Briony Penn include:

Co-authored books and anthologies include:

  • “Broken Country” in Damming the Peace: The Hidden Costs of Site C Dam, ed. Wendy Holm, Lorimer Press, 2018

  • “My Summer as a Boy” in The Summer Book, Mother Tongue Publishing, 2017

  • “Crane’s Eye View” in Canada’s Raincoast at Risk: Art for an Oil-free Coast, ed. Sherry Kirkvold, Raincoast, 2014 (Link)

  • “Guerrilla Geography: Describing and Defending Place for a Living” in University Engagement and Environmental Sustainability, eds. Patricia Inman and Diana L. Robinson, Manchester University Press, 2014

  • “Fairies, Forests and Childhood Education” in Wild Foresting: Practicing Nature’s Wisdom, eds. Alan Drengson, Duncan Taylor, New Society Publishers, 2009

  • Sex in the City: Love in the Forest” in Writing the West Coast: In Love with Place,
    Ronsdale Press, ed. Christine Lowther and Anita Sinner, 2008

  • “Berries and Bivalves” in Apples under the Bed: Recollections and Recipes from BC
    writers and artists, ed. Joan Coldwell, 2007

  • “Cunningham Woods and Archetypes” in Planet U: Sustaining the World: Reinventing the University, eds. Michael M’gonigle & Justine Starke, New Society Publishers, 2006

  • Islands in the Salish Sea: A Community Atlas, Touchwood Editions, 2005

  • “Maple Leaf Rag” in Northern Wild: Best Contemporary Canadian Nature Writing,
    Greystone Publishers, edited by David Boyd, 2001, Canadian Geographic Book of the Year (Link).

  • Giving The Land a Voice, LTABC, 1999.


Penn is an illustrator / artist who has exhibited and published widely on natural history themes. Her unique pen & ink drawings have been used in educational and interpretive materials all over the province. Her watercolour mandelas are in both public installations and private collections.

A pioneer of 'community mapping', Penn has created numerous artistic community maps that have been published across North America and Europe. She has developed exhibits and signage for many parks and museums. Her sketch journals have appeared in a variety of publications. 



Having gained her Ph.D in Geography from Edinburgh University, Penn was a sessional lecturer at UVic for 20 years. She has given workshops and lectured widely across British Columbia on natural and cultural history and stewardship. A founding member of The Land Conservancy of BC, Penn has worked with local and provincial environmental and cultural organizations since 1991.

She has also worked as a naturalist with eco tour and educational operators for 25 years. She has many awards for her work including the national Environmental Learning award from Canadian Geographic.

Penn helped raise two sons on Salt Spring Island and enjoys mentoring young activists.


A fifth generation Vancouver Islander, she currently lives on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.