Elizabeth Nickson is a writer and journalist who has been published widely for the past twenty years. Nickson was European Bureau Chief of Life Magazine in the late 80's and early 90's. During this time, she arranged photo stories and interviewed Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, the Dalai Lama, and dozens of other leaers, movie and pop stars, politicians, and royalty, as well as torture victims, political prisoners and criminals. She initiated and co-ordinated the acquisition of Nelson Mandela's autobiography for Little Brown. Prior to her appointment at Life, she was a reporter at Time Magazine.
Nickson has also written for The (London) Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian, The Observer, The Independent, Tatler, The Sunday Telegraph, Vogue, and Harper's Magazine. In 1994 Bloomsbury and Knopf published her novel, The Monkey Puzzle Tree, which tells the story of the CIA mind control program in Montreal in the 50's and 60's.
In 1999, Elizabeth moved to Salt Spring Island to look after ill family members, and began writing for the Globe and Mail, Canada's leading national newspaper, as a contributing reviewer for the Books section. She then became a weekly columnist for the Globe, moving to the Comment Page of the more conservative broadsheet, the National Post in 2000.
In 2005, when her land partner fell ill, she was forced to subdivide her 30 acre forest, sell her house and build another. But Salt Spring Island is run by an iron-fisted conservation outfit called the Islands Trust, upon which the California Coastal Commission and other similar organizations were modeled. She was compelled to covenant half of her land, build salmon enhancement, and a green house. At the start of her project, it all seemed quite splendid. But as restrictions, expense and delays mounted, she started asking questions about where these ideas originated, and what their effects have been in places not quite as glamorous and trivial as Salt Spring Island.
The result was A Soft Place to Fall: How the Environmental Movement Broke the Rural Economy, Drove 50 Million People from their Lands and Collapsed Biodiversity. It will be published by Harper Collins US in the spring of 2012.