Guy Gavriel Kay

Literary Birthday – 7 November – Guy Gavriel Kay

Happy Birthday, Guy Gavriel Kay, born 7 November 1954.


  1. Writing is never, ever easy but I wake up every morning grateful for the gift of being able to do this.
  2. In this world, where we find ourselves, we need compassion more than anything, I think, or we are all alone.
  3. My youngest brother had a wonderful schtick from some time in high school, through to graduating medicine. He had a card in his wallet that read, ‘If I am found with amnesia, please give me the following books to read …’ And it listed half a dozen books where he longed to recapture that first glorious sense of needing to find out ‘what happens next’ … the feeling that keeps you up half the night. The feeling that comes before the plot’s been learned.
  4. One didn’t stop to talk with creatures from one’s nightmares.
  5. I love the way folktale and fantasy tap into the roots of storytelling. The paradox, for me, is that by moving a story into the fantastic we can actually bring it closer to the reader, not move it further away. …Using the fantastic as a prism for the past, if done properly, removes the tale from distancing specificity. It can’t just be read as unique to a time and place; it is universalised in interesting, powerful ways.
  6. Lazy poets try to elicit a reader’s response with words designed to tug at the heart.
  7. It was different, though, knowing something in your thoughts and then hearing it confirmed, made real, planted in the world like a tree. (River of Stars)
  8. We must be what we are, or we become our enemies. (A Song for Arbonne)
  9. It is in the nature of existence under heaven, the dissenting scholars wrote, that we cannot know these things with clarity. We cannot live twice, or watch as moments of the past unfurl, like a courtesan’s silk fan. The river flows, the dancers finish their dance. If the music starts again it is starting anew, not repeating itself. (Under Heaven)
  10. Words were power, words tried to change you, to shape bridges of longing that no one could ever really cross. (Tigana)

Guy Gavriel Kay is a Canadian author of fantasy fiction. He has written 12 novels, which include The Fionavar Tapestry series, starting with The Summer Tree and a book of poetry. His fiction has been translated into more than 25 languages.

Source for Image

Laura Kay, photographer, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

Please click here for our Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 7th November 2014