Roberta Staley has been a college and university educator for 10 years and a journalist for more than two decades. Her career began in newspapers, but she soon moved to magazines, becoming editor of Enterprise and the Canadian Chemical News, both national publications. From her home base in Vancouver, she continues to freelance for a variety of magazine clients, including Trek, Ms, Corporate Knights, Broadview and The South China Morning Post, among others. She has worked in Afghanistan, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Cambodia, El Salvador, Colombia, Haiti, New Zealand and Israel, covering such topics as elephant conservation, HIV-AIDS, illegal logging, the environment, gender rights, science, medicine and culture.
In 2017, she attained a master’s degree from Simon Fraser University, receiving the Ewan Clark Memorial Award in Graduate Liberal Studies. For graduation, she undertook not only a written thesis but a documentary that was shot in Afghanistan. Titled Mightier Than the Sword, the award-winning film, which has been screened at festivals around the world, explored the influence of Afghan female journalists on gender norms in Afghanistan. The film led to the creation of an award-winning biography, published in 2019 by Greystone Books, titled Voice of Rebellion – How Mozhdah Jamalzadah Brought Hope to Afghanistan.
In 2021, Roberta produced and directed a second, award-winning documentary, Angels on Call. The film follows two street nurses who have foregone retirement to provide health care to hundreds of poor, ill and addicted people living in Vancouver’s gritty Downtown Eastside.
Currently Roberta is working on another book, Bone Through Skin, a Second World War novel about the experiences of her great aunt and uncle, Sally and Gordon Castle of Vancouver, who survived internment in Hong Kong’s notorious Stanley prisoner of war camp.