• Biography

    A.J.B. (John) Johnston is the author or co-author of a growing number of books and museum exhibits, as well as over 100 articles in scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers. He was made a chevalier of France's Ordre des Palmes Académiques in recognition of his body of work on Louisbourg and other French colonial topics. The best known of his fourteen history books is Endgame 1758, which won a Clio award from the Canadian Historical Assocationtion and was short-listed for the Dartmouth Book Award.

    He is currently carrying out research for his next book, which will be about the legendary Truro band of the 1960s, The Lincolns.

    In 2018, John released two new novels. One is The Hat, a YA novel that offers a 21st-century take on the Acadian Deportation; the other is Something True, a story set in late 19th and early 20th-century Cape Breton and in France during the First World War. The latter is a biographical fiction inspired by the real-life adventures of Katharine McLennan.

    In 2017, he was Writer-in-Residence at the Center for the Writing Arts in Fairhope, Alabama. Back in 2016, John participated as a mentor to emerging writer Linda MacLean in the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program. From mid-April to mid-May 2017 he combined with Sarah Sawler and Norma Jean MacPhee to offer sessions for the WFNS entitled "So You Want to be Published" in Halifax, Antigonish, Wolfville, Sydney and Yarmouth.

    In addition to The Hat and Something True, John has written three other novels: Thomas, A Secret Life in 2012; The Maze in 2114 and Crossings in 2015. All were published by Cape Breton University Press. 

    One of the two history books he published in 2013, Ni'n na L'nu: The Mi'kmaq of Prince Edward Island (Acorn), won three awards: "best-published Atlantic Book", best PEI Non-Fiction, and a PEI Heritage Award. The French version of the book, Ni'n na L'nu: Les Mi'kmaq de l'Ile-de-Prince-Édouard, is now available from La Grand Marée (Tracadie Sheila, NB).

    Released in 2015 was Grand Pré, Landscape for the World (Nimbus), co-written with Ronnie-Gilles LeBlanc.

    Most of his books are available as e-books.

    John writes exhibits as well, including the "Vanguard: 150 Years of Remarkable Nova Scotians" for the Nova Scotia Museum and the ground floor of the Black Cultural Centre. The award-winning travelling exhibition Ni'n na L'nu: The Mi'kmaq of Prince Edward Island opened at the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown and then travelled to the Museum of Canadian History in Gatienau, Quebec and other subsequent venues. More recently, John developed the storyline and texts for the revitalization of the Colchester Historeum in Truro. That exhibit opened officially in early 2016.

    More information on John can be found at ajbjohnston.com and on Facebook at A J B Johnston, Writer. John is on Twitter at @ajbjohnston and on Instagram at AJBJohnston.

    John donates his papers to the Beaton Institute of the Cape Breton University.

    • Endgame 1758: The Promise, the Glory, and the Despair of Louisbourg's Last Decade. Cape Breton University Press, 2007. ISBN-13: 978-0-8032-6009-2.

    • Storied Shores: St. Peter's, Isle Madame and Chapel Island in the 17th and 18th Centuries. University College of Cape Breton Press, 2004. ISBN 1-897009-3-00-3

    • Grand-Pré, Heart of Acadie. Co-authored with W.P. Kerr. Nimbus Publishing, 2004. ISBN: 1-55109-479-7

    • Also published by Nimbus as Grand-Pré, Coeur de l'Acadie, translated by Sylvain Filion. ISBN 1-55109-491-6.

    • Control & Order: The Evolution of French Colonial Louisbourg, 1713-1758. Michigan State University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-87013-570-8.

    • Tracks Across the Landscape: A Commemorative History of the S&L Railway. UCCB Press, 1995. Co-authored with Brian Campbell. ISBN 0-920336-64-7.

    • Louisbourg, An 18th-Century Town. Nimbus Publishing, 1991. Co-authored with Kenneth Donovan, Sandy Balcom and Alex Storm. ISBN 0-92105-488-2.

    • Life and Religion at Louisbourg, 1713-1758. McGill-Queen's University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-773-51525-9

    • Also published as La religion dans la vie a Louisbourg, 1713-1758. Environment Canada, 1988. ISBN 0-660-92278-9.

    • Louisbourg: The Phoenix Fortress. Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 1997 . Photographs by Chris Reardon. ISBN 0-921-05435-1

    • Also published in French as Louisbourg, Reflets d'une époque. Traduction par Robert Pichette. Nimbus Publishing, 1997. ISBN 1-551-09210-7.

    • From the Hearth: Recipes from the World of 18th-Century Louisbourg. University College of Cape Breton Press, 1986. Co-authored with Hope Dunton. ISBN 0-92033-601-9.

    • The Summer of 1744, A Portrait of Life in 18th-Century Louisbourg. Parks Canada, 1983. Rev. eds. 1991 and 2002 ISBN 0-660-18786-8.

    • Defending Halifax: Ordinance, 1825-1906. Parks Canada, 1981. ISBN 0-66010-842-9.

    • Thomas, A Secret Life. Cape Breton University Press, 2012. ISBN 978-1-897009-74-1
      EPUB 978-1-897009-89-5
      MOBI 978-1-897009-90-1


    •  Louisbourg: Past, Present, Future. Nimbus Publishing, 2013. ISBN 978-1-771080-52-1

    • 1758 : La finale, Promesses, splendeur et désolation de la dernière décennie de Louisbourg, 2011. Presses de l'Université Laval. ISBN 978-2-7637-9060-2

    • Ni'n na L'nu: The Mi'kmaq of Prince Edward Island, 2013. Acorn Books. Co-authored with Jesse Francis. ISBN 978-1-894838-93-1


      The Maze, A Thomas Pichon Novel, 2014. CBU Press. ISBN  978-1-897009-76-5. epub 978-1-927492-71-0. mobi 978-1-927492-72-7

    • Ni'n na L'nu : Les Mi'kmaq de l'île-du-Prince-Édouard, 2014. La Grande Marée. ISBN 978-2-349-72315-4

    • Grand Pré: Landscape for the World. Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 2015.

      ISBN 13  978-1-77108-271-6; ISBN 10   1-77108-271-2



    • Crossings, A Thomas Pichon Novel. Sydney: Cape Breton University Press, 2015. ISBN Print 978-1-77206-020-1; ISBN Web pdf 978-1-77206-021-8; ISBN Epub 978-1-77206-022-5; ISBN Kindle 978-1-77206-023-2.


    • The Hat. Published exclusively on Amazon. ISBN Print 978-1-9802319-4-3


    • Something True. Published exclusively on Amazon. ISBN Print 978-1-9802412-2-5


    Grand Pré, Landscape for the World, 2015. Nimbus Publishing. ISBN 978-1-77108-271-6

    • Endgame 1758 was shortlisted for the Darmouth Book Award for Non-Fiction.

    • The Canadian Historical Association awarded 'Endgame' a Clio prize as the best book on the history of Atlantic Canada published in 2007

    • Ni'n na L'nu: The Mi'kmaq of Prince Edward Island (Nimbus Publishing), short-listed for best-published book, Atlantic Book Awards, 2014.

    • Ni'n na L'nu: The Mi'kmaq of Prince Edward Island (Acorn Press), short-listed for best non-fiction book, PEI Book Awards, 2014.

    • Biographical entry in Canadian Who's Who since 2009.


    • Both the exhibit entitled Ni'n na L'nu: The Mi'kmaq of Prince Edward Island and the book of the same name published by Acorn Press received a PEI Heritage Award, 2014.

    • Alcuin design award (second place) for Phoenix Fortress, 1991.

    • Ni'n na L'nu: The Mi'kmaq of Prince Edward Island selected "best-published Atlantic book" at 2014 Atlantic Book Awards.

    • Ni'n na L'nu: The Mi'kmaq of Prince Edward Island selected Best PEI Non-Fiction Book at 2014 Atlantic Book Awards.