Ann receiving her honorary doctor of laws degree at Queen’s University
Ann Dowsett Johnston is the bestselling author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, named by the Washington Post as one of the top 10 books of 2013. Part memoir, part journalistic exploration of the closing gender gap on risky drinking, the book explores the “pinking” of the alcohol industry. Dowsett Johnston has been honoured for her work on Drink: she is the recipient of a Transforming Lives Award from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the American Research Society on Addiction’s Media Award, the T. A. Sweet Award from the Ontario Psychiatric Association for helping address stigma related to mental health and addiction, plus an honorary doctor of laws degree from Queen’s University.
Winner of seven National Magazine awards, Dowsett Johnston spent the lion’s share of her journalistic career at Maclean’s magazine where she is best known as the chief architect of the university rankings. Founding editor of the Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities, Dowsett Johnston oversaw all educational coverage at the magazine for 14 years. During that time, she developed a prominent voice as an advocate for higher education, speaking both nationally and internationally.
Dowsett Johnston started her journalism career straight out of Queen’s University, beginning as a researcher at Maclean’s as the magazine went weekly. Over almost three decades, she held a wide variety of roles at Maclean’s, including that of columnist and editor of the magazine’s first book. She is the recipient of both a Southam Journalism Fellowship and the prestigious Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy. For the latter, she wrote a 14-part-series in the Toronto Star on women and alcohol.
Dowsett Johnston has also held the position of Vice-Principal of McGill University, overseeing development, alumni and university relations.
Two years ago, Dowsett Johnston decided to switch career paths and went back to school. She is currently enrolled at Smith College where she is working on her Master’s in Social Work. She lives in Toronto and is the mother of Nicholas Johnston, a psychotherapist who lives in Los Angeles.