Kyo is a self-professed spork — her father is British (a foreign correspondent and documentary filmmaker) and her mother is Japanese (a painter and art dealer). She was born in London England, where she enjoyed a brief theatrical career in London’s West End. Little did she know when she appeared in The King and I that her one line — “I believe in snow” — would be prophetic. At age four, in the midst of a very snowy winter, she and her parents moved to Toronto.
Later Kyo attended university, where she did not study dentistry or architecture (much to the great vexation and sorrow of her parents), but instead pursued a degree in Art History. She followed this degree with another vexing degree in Cultural Studies (her poor parents). Alas, though she acquired several useful skills as a longtime student (e.g., pencil sharpening, binder organization and laundry folding), neither degree led to particularly enriching employment. This is just as well because there is nothing like being hungry and bored and underemployed to fire up one’s imagination. (Kyo is now back in the university stream. In addition to working in her busy writing life, she is now a doctoral candidate at York University where she holds a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.)
Spork, the story of a mixed kitchen utensil, was Kyo’s debut book for children and her first work with Isabelle Arsenault. The book was originally conceived with her husband to celebrate the birth of their first child.
Thanks to Kidscan, for information used here http://www.kidscanpress.com/creators/kyo-maclear/699
Kyo Maclear’s Writing for Children
Spork, and Virginia Wolf (both illus. Isabelle Arsenault); Mr. Flux ( illus. Matte Stephens); Julia Child (illus. Julie Morstad); The Wish Tree (illus. Chris Turnham; The Specific Ocean (illus. Katty Maurey), The Good Little Book (illus. Marion Arbona), The Liszts (illus. Júlia Sardà); Yak and Dove (illus Esmé Shapiro); The Fog (illus. Kenard Pak) and — two new books for 2018 — Flo (illus. Jay Fleck) and Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli (illus. Julie Morstad). For publishing details, see Kyo’s website.
Kyo Maclear’s Writing for Adults
Kyo Maclear comes to the Vancouver Chldren’s Literature Roundtable to talk about her books for children, but members will also want to know a little bit about what she writes for adults. She is the author of two novels: The Letter Opener (2007), which was shortlisted for the 2007 Amazon Books in Canada First Novel Award), and Stray Love (2012).
Her 2017 nonfiction book, Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation, offers an account of a year-long, big city adventure chasing after birds, and along the way offers a luminous meditation on the nature of creativity and the quest for a good and meaningful life. The experience and memoir came from Maclear’s navigating the year following the discovery that her father had a brain aneurysm. Birds Art Life was a #1 National Bestseller and, as well, a finalist for the prestigious Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Her website provides links to many reviews. http://www.kyomaclear.com/
Her short fiction, essays and art criticism have been published in Brick, Border Crossings, The Millions, LitHub, The Volta, Prefix Photo, Canadian Art, Resilience, The Guardian, Uppercase, Quill and Quire, Shambhala Sun, Toronto Life, Azure, Brain Child, Saturday Night, The Globe and Mail, among other publications and anthologies.
Kyo lives and works in Toronto, on the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the New Credit, the Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat. She shares a home with two sons, two cats, and a singer.