Lily Iona MacKenzie


Author's Bio

Lily Iona MacKenzie has crossed many borders in her life, moving from Calgary, Canada, to the San Francisco Bay area as a young woman. An avid traveler, she has journeyed all over the world, just recently completing a trip to Scandinavia, St. Petersburg and Moscow.

She also travels every night to exotic places and has kept a dream journal for many years. These experiences inseminate her writing, which ranges from poetry, short and long fiction (she’s written four novels), non-fiction (she has a collection of essays), to children’s stories. For two years, she co-created a radio program called “Aunt Sally’s Story Shoppe” in Marin County. She and her partner adapted traditional fairy tales and myths, as well as their own stories, for an audience of children and adults.

A high school dropout and a mother at 17, she once was a groupie, hanging out with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks. Levon Holmes and Robbie Robertson were then part of the group before they created The Band with Bob Dylan.

Over the years, she has supported herself as a stock girl in the Hudson’s Bay Company, as a long distance operator for the former Alberta Government Telephones, and as a secretary (Bechtel Corp sponsored her into the States). She also worked as a cocktail waitress at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, briefly broke into the male-dominated world of the docks as a longshorewoman (she was the first woman to work on the SF docks and almost got her legs broken), founded and managed a homeless shelter in Marin County, and eventually earned two Master’s degrees (one in English with an emphasis on Creative writing and one in the Humanities). She taught writing part-time at the University of San Francisco for over 30 years and was vice-president of the part-time faculty association.

ALL THIS, a poetry collection, was published in 2011. Her novel FLING! was published in 2015. BONE SONGS, another novel, will be published in the spring of 2017. FREEFALL: A DIVINE COMEDY will be released in 2018.

All of the arts inspire her, and she dabbles in painting and assemblage when she isn’t writing, messing around in her garden, working out at the gym, or spending time with her husband.

Publications & Prizes

Fling! (Pen-L Publishing, 2015)
Prizes won: 

Won first prize for the poem “Pursuing Ay” from WTF Magazine.
Won third place in the 2007 S. Portia Steele award for excellence in prose.
Received honorable mention in “Focus on Writers Contest,” Friends of the Library, Sacramento, for a short story, “Biting Through.”
Received honorable mention from 1100 entries for introductory chapter to Fling in novel category “Focus on Writers Contest,” Friends of the Library, Sacramento.
Received grant from Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation to compile a poetry anthology of Bay Area women poets.
Was a finalist in Marin Art’s Council poetry grants competition.

Personal Favorites

What I'm reading now: 
How To Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch, A Poet's Craft by Annie Finch, Quick Question by John Ashbery , American Hybrid by Cole Swenson & David St. John

More Information

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Calgary, AB
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Last update: Sep 08, 2016