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Guy Gavriel Kay

Guy Gavriel KayBorn: 7-Nov-1954
Birthplace: Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Author

Nationality: Canada
Executive summary: Silmarillion

Guy Gavriel Kay is the author of historically influenced fantasy novels, including Sailing to Sarantium, A Song for Arbonne, Tigana, and The Lions of Al-Rassan. His Fionavar Tapestry garnered attention for its creative use of Arthurian legend. Kay is also known for his role in co-editing the notes and unfinished manuscripts that yielded The Silmarillion, J. R. R. Tolkien's posthumous prequel to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Also a bar qualified lawyer, Kay wrote for the CBC radio series The Scales of Justice from 1982 to 1989.

Kay's earliest literary exposure included fairy tales and Greek mythology, while somewhat later he discovered Fritz Leiber, Lord Dunsany, E.R. Eddison, and Tolkien himself. As a child Kay dreamed of becoming an author, or alternatively, a lawyer or a professional hockey player. Notably only the third dream remains completely unrealized.

In the 1970s, when Kay was studying at the University of Manitoba to earn his B.A. in philosophy, he became acquainted with Christopher Tolkien, J. R. R. Tolkien's youngest son. When the author passed away in 1973, Christopher was named literary executor of his estate. The younger Tolkien invited Kay to assist him in the monumental task of finishing and polishing the heavily fragmented, and often contradictory, proto-manuscript of The Silmarillion. Kay was thrilled at the offer and moved to Oxford in 1974, where he would remain for an entire year.

When his work with The Silmarillion was finished, Kay returned to Canada and enrolled at the University of Toronto, earning his law degree in 1978, and in 1982 he received his call to the Bar of Ontario. Having thus taken precautions for his economic future, he soon set to work on his first novel. Interestingly Kay's first published novel was The Summer Tree (1984), in which law school students find themselves transported to another world to help Arthur Pendragon battle evil demigods.

Another fortuitous friendship, this time with criminal lawyer Edward Greenspan, led Kay into a new career opportunity, one that combined his law background with this writing skills. Greenspan and writer/producer George Jonas were developing a new radio series for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Scales of Justice, which based its episodes around real life Canadian court cases. Kay came on board as Principal Writer and Associate Producer and the series became an award winning success.

Kay still writes occasionally for television or radio, but most of his professional time is taken up with the research and writing of his novels, including traveling to and working from the exotic settings in which they transpire. Kay's efforts, after the Fionavar series, have tended toward historically inspired projects that combine settings, characters, and events from the past into a unique fantasy tale. In January of 2005 Warner Brothers announced plans to turn Kay's The Lions of Al-Rassan, set during the Christian re-conquest of Moorish Spain, into a major motion picture.

Father: Samuel Kay
Mother: Sybil Birstein
Brother: Jeffrey Kay
Brother: Rex Kay
Wife: Laura Beth Cohen (two sons)

    University: BA Philosophy, University of Manitoba (1975)
    Law School: LLB, University of Toronto (1978)

Official Website:

Author of books:
The Summer Tree (1984, novel)
The Wandering Fire (1986, novel)
The Darkest Road (1986, novel)
Tigana (1990, novel)
A Song for Arbonne (1992, novel)
The Lions of Al-Rassan (1995, novel)
Sailing to Sarantium (1998, novel)
Lord of Emperors (2000, novel)
Beyond This Dark House (2003, poetry)
The Last Light of the Sun (2004, novel)

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