- 24 Jul 20
Written by Liz Thompson, Joan Baez: The Last Leaf draws on four decades of interviews with the folk legend.
A new biography of Joan Baez will come out in October, only three months before the folk singer’s 80th birthday next January.
Titled Joan Baez: The Last Leaf, the biography draws on four decades worth of conversations with Baez and her friends and collaborators.
Its author is Liz Thompson, a journalist and broadcaster. As a journalist, Thompson interviewed Baez numerous times and covered the sessions that became Baez’s acclaimed 1995 live album Ring Them Bells.
As a biographer, Thompson has edited anthologies on John Lennon, Bob Dylan and David Bowie. She is also the revising editor of Bob Dylan: No Direction Home, a prominent biography by Robert Shelton.
The biography comes on the heels of the latest big moment in Baez’s illustrious career. Earlier this week, Baez won the 2020 Woody Guthrie Prize, which honors artists who follow the model of Woody Guthrie in advocating for the less fortunate.
In a statement, Woody Guthrie Center Director Deana McCloud said that as “a staunch activist, Ms. Baez has consistently been on the front lines in the fight for social justice, peace, and equality.”
Baez accepted the prize, commenting that “it has been my mission to use my music as a voice for those who cannot be heard or have been silenced by fear and powerlessness.”
Baez began her career with an unannounced performance at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. She went on to record more than 30 albums, win two Grammy awards and join the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.
The folk singer has maintained a deep commitment to political activism throughout her career. In the 1960s, she advocated for civil rights and against the Vietnam War, joining Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. onstage at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
More recently, Baez has participated in the Occupy Wall Street protests, anti-Iraq War activism and the Catalan independence movement.
Liz Thompson’s biography of Baez, Joan Baez: The Last Leaf, is set to come out from Palazzo Books on October 15, 2020.