Biography

Eileen Kernaghan grew up on a dairy farm outside Grindrod, B.C., Canada, population 600. The reading material she found on the family shelves - Greek myths, historical novels, G.A. Henty's boys' adventure books, a musty collection of Weird Tales and Thrilling Wonder Stories - helped to shape her writing career.

Her first published story, written when she was twelve, appeared in the Vancouver Sun newspaper. It earned her a byline, an illustration, and a cheque for $12.65. Her next appearance in print, twenty years later, was with a cover story in the New York science fiction magazine Galaxy. She went on to write the "Grey Isles" series, a bronze age trilogy based on the origins of Stonehenge. Journey to Aprilioth, Songs from the Drowned Lands and The Sarsen Witch were published by Ace Books during the 1980's.

Along the way Eileen has published poems and fiction in a variety of North American publications, both mainstream and speculative, including PRISM international, On Spec, Tesseracts, TransVersions, The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror,, Space & Time, Northern Stars, Crime Through Time and Ark of ICE:Canadian Futurefictions. As well, she co-wrote the first writers' handbook for the northwest, and with the five-woman poetry group Quintet published a collaborative poetry collection, Quintet: Themes & Variations.

Research for a non-fiction book on reincarnation inspired her first young adult fantasy, Dance of the Snow Dragon, set in 18th century Bhutan, and based on Tibetan Buddhist mythology. It was followed by The Snow Queen, which explored echoes of northern shamanism and the Kalevala in Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale. Her third YA fantasy, The Alchemist's Daughter, is set in Elizabethan England, a year before the Armada. Winter on the Plain of Ghosts: a novel of Mohenjo-daro, which also appeared in 2004, is a historical fantasy set in the ancient Indus Valley civilization.

As for her day jobs, they've included elementary school teaching, arts administration, operating a used bookstore with her husband Pat, and, for many years, teaching creative writing at Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Burnaby, and Port Moody's Kyle Centre. She has three adult children and four grandchildren.

See also BC BookWorld's article on Eileen Kernaghan

Novels

  • Journey to Aprilioth, Ace Books, 1981.
  • Songs from the Drowned Lands, Ace Books 1983.
  • The Sarsen Witch, Ace Books 1989, Juno Books 2007.
  • Dance of the Snow Dragon, Thistledown Press, 1995.
  • The Snow Queen, Thistledown Press, 2000.
  • The Alchemist's Daughter, Thistledown Press 2004.
  • Winter on the Plain of Ghosts: A Novel of Mohenjo-daro, Flying Monkey Press, 2004
  • Wild Talent: a Novel of the Supernatural, Thistledown Press, 2008
  • Sophie, in Shadow, Thistledown Press, 2014

Non-fiction

  • (Co-authored with Patrick Kernaghan, Edith Surridge and Ross Westergaard) The Upper Left-Hand Corner: A Writer's Guide for the Northwest, International Self-Counsel Press (3rd Ed), 1986.
  • (Co-authored with Jonathan Kay) Walking after Midnight, Berkley Books, 1990.

Poetry

  • (Co-authored with Mary E. Choo, Margaret Fridel, Sue Nevill and Laurel Wade) Light Like a Summons, Cacanadada Press 1989.
  • (Co-authored with Pam Galloway, Jean Mallinson, Sue Nevill and Cle´lie Rich), Quintet: Themes and Variations, Ekstasis Editions 1998.
  • (Chapbook) The Dark Gardens of the Zodiac Neville Books, 1999.
  • Tales From the Holograph Woods: speculative poems, Wattle & Daub Books 2009.

Awards

  • Silver Medal Award for original fantasy from West Coast Review of Books, 1980, for Journey to Aprilioth;
  • Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy (CASPAR) Award, 1984, for Songs from the Drowned Lands: A Novel of High Fantasy and in 1990, for short story, "Carpe Diem";
  • Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Award (Aurora) for The Snow Queen
  • 2001;
  • Canada 124 Medal for community arts activism, 1992.
  • Shortlisted for the Sheila Egoff Prize in Children's Literature, 2005, for The Alchemist's Daughter
  • Shortlisted for the YA Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, 2009, for Wild Talent
  • Shortlisted for the 2015 BC Book Prizes Sheila Egoff Award for Children’s Literature, for Sophie in Shadow