Kyoko Mori

Kyoko Mori

Kyoko Mori


non-fiction and fiction

Kyoko Mori is the author of three nonfiction books (Yarn; Polite Lies; The Dream of Water).  The title essay from her book, “Yarn,” was selected for The Best American Essays 2004, and Polite Lies was short-listed for PEN’s Martha Albrand Nonfiction Award.  She has also published novels (Barn Cat; Stone Field, True Arrow; One Bird; Shizuko’s Daughter).  Her essays have appeared in journals such as Ploughshares, the American Scholar, the Missouri Review, and Harvard Review.  Prior to joining the faculty at Mason, Mori taught nonfiction writing at Harvard as a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Creative Writing.

Current Research

book manuscript, CAT AND BIRD

Selected Publications


Yarn: Remembering the Way Home.  Gemmamedia Book (2010)

Polite Lies: on Being a Woman Caught between Cultures.  Henry Holt (1998); Fawcett (1999)

The Dream of Water.  Henry Holt (1994); Fawcett (1995)



Barn Cat.  Gemmamedia Books (2013)

Stone Field, True Arrow.  Metropolitan (2000); Picador USA (2001)

One Bird. Henry Holt (1995); Fawcett (1996)

Shizuko’s Daughter.  Henry Holt (1993); Fawcett (1994)



“Pet Grief,” “Yarn,” Harvard Review

“Cat and Bird,” “Between the Forest and the Well,” Conjunctions

“Alone in the Garden,” Washingtonian

“The Pleasure of Letting Go,” Ploughshares

“Pullovers,” the American Scholar

“Shawls,” the Missouri Review

Expanded Publication List



“Living in Cat Time.”  The Daily Scholar, March 30, 2020.


“Training (With) My cats.”  The Rumpus, August 1, 2019.


“One Man’s Poison.”  Colorado Review: 46:1 (Spring 2019): 90-98.  Apple, Tree: Writers on Their Parents.  Ed. Lise Funderburg.  University of Nebraska Press: 2019: 74-83.


“On Birds, Cats, and Children.”  The Rumpus, May 2018.


“Runner’s Body.”  Conjunctions 69 (Being Bodies): 321-332.


“A Difficult Balance.” The Literary Hub, September 6, 2017.


“Learning to Watch.”  Soap Opera Confidential.  Eds. Elizabeth Searle and Suzanne Strempek Shea.  MacFarland Press.  2017: 72-82.


“Homebodies.”  The American Scholar: 86:1 (Winter 2017): 70-81.


“Repetitions.”  Friday, December 16, 2016.  Essays Daily Advent Calendar.


“Pet Love.”  The American Literary Review, Fall 2016.  


“Grandmother.”  Aging: An Apprenticeship.  Ed. Nan Narboe.  Red Notebook Press.  2017: 8390.


“Cat Stories.”  Wave-Form: Twenty-First Century Essays by Women.  Ed. Marcia Aldrich.  The University of Georgia Press. 2016: 42-55.


“Revisiting the Last Millennium: the Best American Essays 2000.” Monday, December 21,

  1. Essays Daily: Take One Daily and Call Me Every Morning. http//


“Pet Grief.”  Harvard Review: 47 (2015): 96-113.


“Cat and Bird.”  Conjunctions: 61 (A Menagerie): 317-334.


“Alone in the Garden.”  Washingtonian: April 2013: 177-180.


“Through the Bamboo Blinds.”  Fourth Genre: 14:1 (2012): 147-158.


“Between the Forest and the Well: Notes on Death.”  The Inevitable: Contemporary Writers Confront Death.  Eds. David Shields and Bradford Morrow.  Norton, 2011: 33-49.


“The Purple Coat and the Pink Dress.”  The Written Wardrobe:


“The Pleasure of Letting Go.”  Ploughshares: 36.2 & 3 (2010): 165-169.


“Cardigans.”  Southern Indiana Review: 16.2 (2009): 82-88.


“Forgetting to Remember: Why I keep a Journal.”  Writers and Their Notebooks. Ed. Diana M. Raab.  The University of South Carolina Press, 2010: 154-161.


“The Beauty of Help.”  Dirt: the Quirks, Habits, and Passions of Keeping House.  Ed. Mindy Lewis.  Seal Press, 2009: 69-78.


“Shawls.”  Missouri Review: 31.4 (2008): 36-47.


“Pullovers.”  The American Scholar: 77.3 (2008): 66-80.


“Between the Forest and the Well: Notes on Death.”  Conjunctions: 51 (2008): 51-62.


“The Language of Flowers.”  Chattahoochee Review: 38.1 (2008): 120-128.


Courses Taught

528  Forms of Nonfiction

506  Research for Narrative Writing

513  as "the art of the memoir"; "nature writing," "food writing"

608  as "the personal essay: the tradition and the practice"; "writing about family"; "home and away: writing about cultures, your own or others"; "personal narrative, long and short"

616  nonfiction writing



Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing: the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Recent Presentations

readings and panel appearances at the AWP, and at various colleges, universities, and book stores