Award-winning Oak Bay author Kit Pearson was bestowed one of Canada’s highest honours Thursday.
Pearson was appointed to the Order of Canada for her contributions as an author of Canadian literature for children and young adults.
“It is definitely a career highlight,” said Pearson, noting that news of the award came out of the blue. “I wish I knew who nominated me so I could thank them.”
She is one of 103 new appointments announced by Governor General Julie Payette in Ottawa Dec. 27.
Pearson is best known for her novels The Sky Is Falling (1989), Looking at the Moon (1991), and The Lights Go on Again (1993) that were published as The Guests of War Trilogy.
She also won the Governor General’s Literary Award for young people’s literature in 1997 for her book Awake and Dreaming (1996).
“I was 36 when I wrote my first novel and now I’m 72,” said Pearson. “I’ve always been a late bloomer. I have a few more novels in me.”
Kit Pearson is the third person in her family to receive the Order of Canada, joining her father, Hugh John Sanders Pearson, and grandfather, Hugh Edward Pearson.
Hugh John Sanders Pearson was awarded the Order in 1993 for being a pillar of voluntarism in his community. The Alberta businessman set new standards in fundraising for the University of Alberta’s Business faculty and maintained a long-standing commitment to the Salvation Army. He also spearheaded the establishment of Ottawa’s Terry Fox Youth Centre and supported various cultural and environmental initiatives across the country.
Hugh Edward Pearson was awarded the honour in 1976 for helping to establish one of the first radio stations in Alberta and playing a prominent role in the development of broadcasting in the West.
Born in Edmonton in 1947, Kit Pearson spent her childhood in Vancouver and Edmonton, attending high school at Crofton House boarding school in Vancouver.
Majoring in English, she spent one year at UBC before transferring to finish her degree at the University of Alberta.
In 1975, she returned to UBC to complete a Library degree, working as a librarian in St. Catharines and Toronto after graduation. Furthering her education, Pearson went to Boston to do her master’s at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children’s Literature before moving back to Vancouver to begin her first children’s novel, The Daring Game.
She spent 20 years in Vancouver writing before moving on to Victoria in 2005, where she now resides in a house in Oak Bay with her partner artist Katherine Farris.
Her newest novel, Be My Love – the third in a trilogy that includes The Whole Truth and And Nothing But The Truth – will be published in February 2019.
She is also writing a picture book with partner Farris, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, called The Magic Boat, that will be published by Orca in March 2019.
Up next for Pearson, she said, is writing an adult novel, set at the University of Alberta – possibly autobiographical.
“I am equally terrified with every book. But unlike with the first one, now I can look back and know that I’ve done it before,” said Pearson. “That makes it easier.”
For those that are interested in becoming a writer, Pearson recommends reading as much as possible.
“At some point, you will have to learn grammar and dialogue,” said Pearson. “But usually people who like writing, enjoy the nuts and bolts. It’s a game.”
For more information on Pearson’s work, visit kitpearson.com
Created in 1967, the Order of Canada honours people “whose service shapes our society; whose innovations ignite our imaginations; and whose compassion unites our communities.”
Close to 7,000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order of Canada.
To learn more about the Order of Canada or to nominate someone, visit gg.ca/en/honours.
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