​​​​David Day was born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia. He is a poet and author who has published over 40 books of poetry, ecology, history, fantasy, mythology and fiction. David Day’s books – for both adults and children – have sold over three million copies worldwide and were translated into twenty languages.

​After high school, Day divided the next decade between work in logging camps and study at universities. His first book of poems, The Cowichan (based on his timber camp journals) was published in 1975, and he graduated from the Department of Creative Writing at the University of Victoria the following year.

He was writer in residence at the Aegean School of Fine Arts in Paros, Greece, and worked for the Canadian Publishers McClelland Stewart in Toronto. He has subsequently travelled extensively, and lived in England, Greece, Spain and Canada. He currently lives in Toronto, Canada.
In 1978, he published A Tolkien Bestiary, the first of his six best selling books on the works of J R R Tolkien. In 1981, his Doomsday Book of Animals was a ‘Book of the Year’ selection for Time Magazine, New Scientist, Los Angeles Times and The Observer. And in 1984, Day wrote Castles, the
first of five books in collaboration with the Academy Award winning artist, Alan Lee.

In 1986, The Emperor’s Panda was runner-up for the Governor General’s Award and the National Library Award, and was adapted for stage by the Toronto Young People’s Theatre. That year, his poems were prize winners in the CBC National Poetry Competition.

Through the 1980’s and 1990’s, Day was also an environmental columnist for Britain’s Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Sunday Times and Punch magazine.

After the 1996 publication of his Quest For King Arthur, David Day was commissioned by the Birmingham Royal Ballet as dramaturge for the epic two-part ballet, Arthur I and Arthur II (2000).

David Day has also written for theatre and television. His 100 part Lost Animals TV series (narrated by Greta Scacchi) was commissioned by the Knowledge Network in US, Channel 4 in UK and NHK in Japan – and later translated into 18 languages. He has worked as creative adviser for Toronto’s Hall Train Studios’ multi-media museum exhibitions.

​​More recently, 2012-15 has seen the publication of Nevermore: A Book of Hours – Meditations on Extinction and Tolkien: A Dictionary, as well as new editions of his six other Tolkien books and his Emperor’s Panda. Also, he is the subject (with artist John Howe) of the French- German ARTE TV network production of ‘Tolkien and the Nibelungenlied’. Forthcoming in 2015 is his study of Lewis Carroll, entitled ‘Decoding Wonderland’ (Random-Doubleday) and Tolkien: An Atlas (Octupus-Thunder Bay).

Books To Read


THE COWICHAN (poems) 1975, 1976 - Oolichan Books, Canada; (Broadsheet – Martlet Press); Illustrated Edition - Harbour Publishing, Canada.

HISTORY AND LITERATURE - Sound Heritage Anthology Series (history) 1975 – Editor, Queen's Printer's - British Columbia Archives, Canada.

MYTH AND THE MOUNTAINS - Sound Heritage Anthology Series (history) 1976 – Editor, Queen's Printer's - British Columbia Archives, Canada.

MEN OF THE FOREST - Sound Heritage Anthology Series (history) 1977 – Editor, Queen's Printer's - British Columbia Archives, Canada.

MANY VOICES: Contemporary Canadian Indian Poetry Anthology (poems) 1977 (Co-Editor with Marilyn Bowering) – J.J. Douglas/Douglas and McIntyre, Canada; Cannongate Books, U.K.

THE BURROUGHS BESTIARY (fantasy) 1978 – New English Library, U.K., Canada, Australia.

A TOLKIEN BESTIARY (fantasy) 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, l989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 - Mitchell Beazley /Emblem / Artists House / Chancellor Press / Bounty, U.K.; Ballantine / Crescent / Crown / Outlet / Gramercy / Barnes and Noble / Random House, / Thunder Bay, U.S.A.; Random House / Harbour / Crescent / Outlet / Gramercy, / Indigo-Chapters, Canada; Mitchell Beazley / Colporteur / Emblem, Australia & New Zealand;  Moewig / Transgalaxis, Germany; Awe Gebers / Norstedst, Sweden; Rostrum / Helmond, Holland; Soderstrom, Finland; Octopus-Hachette, France; Bompiani, Italy; Szepirodalmi, Hungary; Timun Mas / Grupo Editorial, Spain; Gyldendal, Denmark; Mustang, Czech Republic; Guangzhou Culture Media, China. Also published as GUIDE TO TOLKIEN’S WORLD: A BESTIARY; CHARACTERS FROM TOLKIEN; CREATURES FROM TOLKIEN.

THE SCARLET COAT SERIAL (poems & fiction) 1981 – Press Porcepic, Canada. Adapted for drama in 1984 by Ian C. Nelson, SaskTrust Theatre,  University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

THE DOOMSDAY BOOK OF ANIMALS (natural history) 1981, 1983 - Ebury Press, U.K.; Studio Books - Viking Press / Penguin Books, U.S.A.; John Wiley, Canada.  1995-6 - Basis for LOST ANIMALS: 100 part British Channel Four and Japanese NHK TV series, written by David Day. Series eventually translated into twenty languages – now on YouTube.

THE ANIMALS WITHIN (poems) 1984 - Penumbra Press, Canada. Basis for dramatic reading entitled `The Lost’  on CBC Radio’s ‘Anthology’ Arts Program.

CASTLES (mythology) 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990 – Bantam / McGraw-Hill, U.S.A.; Bantam / McGraw-Hill, Canada; Allen & Unwin / Unwin-Unicorn, U.K., Australia; Timun Mas, Spain.

GOTHIC (poems) 1986 - Exile Editions, Canada. Basis for a mixed media event at the Spirit Quest Festival in 1988 combining poetry, magic, music and visual art and light, Victoria, Canada.

THE EMPEROR'S PANDA (children's novel) 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2013- McClelland & Stewart, Canada; Dodd Mead / Putnum, U.S.A.; Piccadilly, U.K.; Munksgaard, Denmark; Cruilla, Spain; Soderstrom, Finland.  Adapted in 1988 as a stage play, entitled ‘The Emperor’s Panda’  for the Young Peoples Theatre of Toronto, Canada.

THE WHALE WAR (ecology & politics) 1987, 1992 – Routledge, Harper-Collins / Grafton, U.K., Australia, N.Z.; Sierra Club, Random House U.S.A.; Douglas & McIntyre, Canada.

THE ECO WARS (ecology & politics) 1989, 1991, 1992 – Harraps, Virgin, Harper-Collins / Paladin, U.K., Australia, New Zealand; Key-Porter, Canada; St Martin's Press / Ballantine Books, U.S.A. (US title - 'THE ENVIRONMENTAL WARS')

THE SWAN CHILDREN (children's fiction) 1989, 1990, 1991 – Piccadilly Press, U.K.; Doubleday, Canada; Ideal, U.S.A.; Thodes, Denmark.

THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF VANISHED SPECIES (natural history) 1989, 1990 -Universal Books - W.H.Smiths, U.K., Australia, New Zealand; McLaren Books – Classics, Canada; Gallery Books - W.H. Smiths, USA - (U.S. Title: `VANISHED SPECIES'.)

NOAH'S CHOICE (natural history) 1990, 1991, 1992 - Viking-Penguin / Puffin, U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand; Hokuseido Shoten, Japan. Basis of a British Channel Four  1990 ‘For Schools’ program, written and hosted by David Day.

THE SLEEPER (children's fiction) 1990, 199l – Piccadilly Press, U.K.; Doubleday, Canada; Ideal, U.S.A.; Thodes, Denmark; Helgas, Sweden.

TRUE TALES OF ENVIRONMENTAL MADNESS (ecology & humour) 1990 -Pelham / Michael Joseph (in co-operation with Punch Magazine), U.K., Australia, & New Zealand.

THE BIG LIE (children's fiction) 1991, 1992 – Piccadilly Press, U.K.; MacMillan, U.S.A., Maxwell-MacMillan,Canada, Australia, New Zealand. U.S. title: THE WALKING CATFISH.

ASKA'S ANIMALS (children's poetry) 1991 – Doubleday, Canada, U.S.A., Australia, N.Z.

THE WOLF CHILDREN (children’s fiction) 1991 – Picadilly Press, U.K.

TOLKIEN: THE ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA (fantasy) 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 - Mitchell Beazley / Emblem / Ted Smart / Octopus/ Bounty, U.K., Australia, New Zealand; Macmillan / Crown / Barnes and Noble / Random House/ Simon & Shuster, U.S.A.; Maxwell-Macmillan, Canada; Timun Mas, Spain; Soderstrom, Finland; RVG-Interbook Verlag / Otus Verlag, Germany; Mustang, Czech Republic; Octopus-Hachette, Henamu Korea, Motoyum, Japan; Egmont Russia House Publishing, USSR.

ASKA'S BIRDS (children's poetry) 1992 – Doubleday, Canada, U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand.

GREEN PENGUIN CHILDREN’S BOOK GUIDE  (ecology) 1992, l995, 1998, 2000 - Penguin Books, Britain, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Singapore and Hong Kong.

A TO Z OF TOLKIEN (fantasy) 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2012 – Mandarin, / Chancellor Press, / Mitchell-Beasley, / Reed Books, / Bounty, U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Canada;  Barnes and Noble / Thunder Bay, USA; Timun Mas, Spain; Mustang, Czech Republic.  Also published as THE TOLKIEN COMPANION , GUIDE TO TOLKIEN.

TIPPU (children's fiction) 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Piccadilly Press / Pan Books, Macmillan Press, U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa; Barron’s Books, USA.

KING OF THE WOODS (children's fiction) 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - Andersen Press / Pan Books, U.K.; Little Brown, Canada; Random-Century, Australia; Four Winds-Macmillan Children’s Books Simon & Shuster Children’s Books U.S.A.; Sjostrands Forlag, Sweden; Host & Son, Denmark; Casterman, Edebe, Spain; Belgium & France; Sejong, Bookid, Korea; Motoyum Japan.

ASKA'S SEA CREATURES (children's poetry) 1994 - Doubleday, Canada, U.S.A., Australia, N.Z.

THE COMPLETE RHINOCEROS (ecology and humour) 1994 – EIA Books – Environmental Investigation Agency, UK and USA.

TOLKIEN'S RING (fantasy) 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2011 , 2012, 2013, 2014- Harper-Collins / Pavilion / Chrysalis / Anova  U.K.; Harper-Collins / Barnes & Noble / Metro / Chapters-Indigo U.S., Canada; Harper-Collins / Pavilion,  Australia, New Zealand; Minotauro, Spain; Bourgois, France; Norsted, Sweden;  Glydendal, Denmark, Uitgeverij Het Spectrum, Netherlands; Motoyum, Japan; Henamu, Korea. 

THE QUEST FOR KING ARTHUR (mythology) 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2007, 2009, 2013 - De Agostini, Michael O’Mara, UK, Australia, New Zealand; Facts on File, USA, Canada; Bechtermunz Verlag, Gemany; Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands; Motoyum, Japan; Internet e-book (Alan Lee illustrated edition). US title: THE SEARCH FOR KING ARTHUR.

VISIONS AND PROPHECIES OF ST LOUIS THE METIS (poems and history) 1997 - Thistledown Press, University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

JUST SAY `NO' TO FAMILY VALUES (poems) 1997 - Handshake Editions, France and Holland;  Exile Editions, Canada. (Exile Press version of JSNTFV - the Felix Topolski Illustrated Edition.

THE HOBBIT COMPANION (fantasy) 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014 - Pavilion Books / Cameron-Brown / Chrysalis / Pavilion-Anova, U.K.; Turner / Barnes & Noble, USA; Turner / Chapters Books / Barnes & Noble, Canada; Gerstenberg GmbH, Germany; Uitgerverij Het Spectrum, Fontaine Uitgevers Holland; Editions Glenat, France; Motoyum, Japan; New Holland, New Zealand; Blume, Spain (HOBBIT COMPANION CALENDAR 2002 & 2003 – Chrysalis, U.K.; Barnes & Noble, U.S.A. & Canada.)

THE WORLD OF TOLKIEN: MYTHOLOGICAL SOURCES OF LORD OF THE RINGS (Fantasy) 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2012, 2013 – Octopus-Mitchell-Beasley, Bounty, U.K.; Random House / Chartwell Books – Book Sales, USA & Canada; Gyldendal, Denmark; Oceano Ambar, Spain; Arxjovem, Brazil & Portugal; Octopus-Hachette, France; Fontaine Uitgevers, Netherlands; Klett-Cotta, Germany; Motoyum, Japan.

NEVERMORE: A BOOK OF HOURS –Meditations On Extinction – (natural history/poetry) 2012, Fourfront Editions – Quattro Books, Canada.

TOLKIEN: A DICTIONARY (fantasy) 2013, 2014, 2015 Octopus-Bounty, U.K.; Thunder Bay-Baker and Taylor, U.S.A.

TOLKIEN: AN ILLUSTRATED ATLAS (fantasy) 2015 Octopus-Bounty, U.K.; Thunder Bay-Baker and Taylor, U.S.A.

ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND DECODED – 2015 – Penguin-Random-Doubleday, Canada and USA.




1984 – Play based on David Day's book `THE SCARLET COAT SERIAL'. Commissioned for Theatre Saskatchewan as a heritage project by SaskTrust. Performed- Saskatchewan, Canada


1984 – CBC National Poetry Contest Award-winning dramatized reading of ‘THE LOST’ - a long sequence of poems from David Day’s `THE ANIMALS WITHIN' broadcast on ‘ANTHOLOGY’ the CBC's weekly national arts program.


1988 - Stage performances in three day festival: DREAM QUEST - MAGIC, POETRY, SHAMANISM. Performed with magician Simon Drake and  Hunt Family traditional Kwaguith (Kwakiutl) Native Indian Dancers, Royal Victoria Museum Theatre, Victoria, B.C., Canada.


1988 – Stage dramatization of David Day’s Governor General’s Award Nominated, National Library Award; and IBBY International Award Winning children’s novel, ‘THE EMPEROR’S PANDA’. Directed by Peter Moss as a full-length stage play for the national Young People's Theatre of Toronto, Canada.


1990 - British ‘Channel Four For Schools’ Television Program on extinction and survival of species based on the Kestrel/Puffin book of the same name. Hosted by author David Day.


1992, 1993, 1994 – David Day’s book Doomsday Book of Animals is the acknowledged inspiration for David Bintley’s Royal Birmingham Royal Ballet's production. Choreographed by David Bintley and first performed at the Birmingham Hippodrome, English National Opera House London, and the Metropolitan Opera, New York, as well as 1994, 1995, 1996 - World Tour with Royal Birmingham Ballet.  . 

1996 - Filmed version at Royal Opera House Covent Garden and televised on BBC TWO Television, UK  - Christmas Day. 1997-8 became available on BBC Film Video - General Release.


1993 - One hour British ITV undercover documentary on the whaling industry entitled `THE WHALE WAR' based on David Day’s book of the same title. Produced by ITV in co-operation with the Environmental Investigation Agency. 1995 THE WHALE WAR’ - Feature Film option bought by 20th Century Fox.


1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 – ‘LOST ANIMALS’ SERIES – in translated formats have been broadcast in twenty languages and networks worldwide: Australia, Italy, Germany, Spain, Holland, France, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, USA, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, India, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Pakistan, South Korea, China, Hungary, Indonesia. Currently, a selection can be found on DAVID DAY - LOST ANIMALS on YouTube.

Series of 100 short films, originally created for Britain's CHANNEL FOUR and Japan’s NHK TELEVISION NETWORKS. Produced by CLARK TV, London, WALK PRODUCTIONS, Tokyo, DISCOVERY CHANNEL – USA. SERIES OF 100 SHORT TV FILMS - one hundred individual stories of animal species that have become extinct in the 20th century. All scripts by David Day.Series is based on David Day's DOOMSDAY BOOK OF ANIMALS. Narration of English language versions by Greta Scacchi.

Multiple screenings over the years on Japanese and British prime-time television and US Discovery Network, and Japanese and British schools programming – also  Channel Four Videos with accompanying booklets and learning aids for student.

Poetry and Jazz performance with the Juno-award winning Hugh Fraser Quintet. Poetry performed to jazz accompaniment. Also original lyrics by David Day for Hugh Fraser's compositions

2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 - David Day's book, `QUEST FOR KING ARTHUR' is the reference   

for the Royal Birmingham Ballet’s ARTHUR I & ARTHUR II.

David Day was commissioned by Royal Birmingham Ballet as dramaturge under the direction of David Bintley for two full-length ballets in the King Arthur Cycle:


These ballets also have linking texts to accompany the performances.

These are the longest ballets ever staged.

Premiering at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Royal National Ballet, Birmingham Hippodrome and Sadler’s Wells, ARTHUR I & ARTHUR II was the flagship arts project for the Royal Birmingham Ballet and the City of Birmingham’s Millenium Commission.      


 2010, 2011 - Hour long documentary and interview with David Day, based on his Queen’s Quarterly ‘The Oxford Alice: Who’s Who in Wonderland’ on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Victorian Oxford – ABC Radio, Australia.

2014, 2015 – Documentary with David Day and artist John Howe on the mythological sources of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit – French-German ARTE TV network.