Memoirs of a Mask Maker – Kathryn Graven
Due out in February 2023. Pre-order now for your early copy.
How does a 5-year old girl navigate deep loss after a tragic car accident leaves her motherless? Charting a lifelong process of sifting through grief and rediscovering hope, Memoirs of a Mask Maker honors the women who stepped in to help the girl stitch together a beautiful life—a grandmother, a neighbor and a pharmacist in Japan…
Years later, when the global pandemic forced Kathryn Graven and everyone else inside, she responded by sewing hundreds of colorful masks for family, friends and complete strangers. She signed each one with a note of encouragement. She discovered that making masks not only called for artistic skills, it tapped all she learned about filling a void and building resilience.
Now, as global society faces immeasurable individual and collective grief, these lessons are collected for a new crop of motherless children and those around them. Memoirs of a Mask Maker invites readers to join a new conversation about how we gather our tears and mend the tears.
Memoirs of a Mask Maker is a powerful, moving testament to meeting monumental loss with passion, determination and outsized creativity. In this tour de force memoir, Kathryn Graven delivers a paean to the ability of artistic endeavor to transform grief into beauty. Again and again, she shows how choosing love over despair can transcend cultural differences and ancient wounds, creating healing connections, a matrix within which to build a triumphant, generous life.
— Susan Deborah King, Poet
Author of Coven, One-Breasted Woman, Bog Orchids and Moon Dance
Kathryn Graven is a writer, mixed-media artist, musician and a lifelong sewer. Fluent in Japanese, she began her journalism career in Tokyo at the ABC News Bureau, and then became a Tokyo correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. In the U.S., she reported for the WSJ from New York and Boston, and taught international business reporting at Boston University.
Kathryn graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in History and a master’s degree in East Asian Studies. She graduated from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She was a fellow at the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at Harvard University, and was awarded an Abe Fellowship by the Japan Foundation.
Pivoting to a new career, Kathryn studied mixed-media painting and abstract art at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She shows her artwork in monthly open studios and participates in solo and group art events.
Originally from Minnesota, Kathryn lives with her husband in Boston, and is mother to their two grown sons. During the summer, she lives on Great Cranberry Island, Maine. Passionate about sharing and preserving the bounty of her Maine garden, she makes delicious jams and irresistible pickles.
Memoirs of a Mask Maker is her first book. Please visit the author’s website for more information and photos.