Joanna Lillis

Joanna Lillis

Formal First Name

Joanna Lillis is a well-known Kazakhstan-based journalist who has been one of the main reporters on Central Asia over the past 17 years. Joanna is the author of Dark Shadows: Inside the Secret World of Kazakhstan, a book that summarizes her extensive coverage of Kazakhstan's turbulent political history. Her work has been featured in various outlets, including The Guardian, The Economist, the Independent newspapers, the Eurasianet website and Foreign Policy and Politico magazines. Prior to settling in Kazakhstan in 2005, Joanna lived in Russia and Uzbekistan for a decade, where she worked for BBC Monitoring, the BBC World Service's global media tracking service. Previously, she studied Russian in the Soviet republics of Belorussia and Ukraine before the collapse of the USSR.


  • Dark Shadows conjures up Kazakhstan as a living, breathing place, full of extraordinary people living extraordinary lives.

  • Lillis paints a vibrant picture of Kazakhstan through vivid reportage based on 17 years of on-the-ground coverage.

  • The book features tales of murder and abduction, intrigue and betrayal, and extortion and corruption.