Alissa York was born to Australian immigrant parents in Athabasca, Alberta in 1970. Her parents were English teachers and encouraged York in her passion of reading and writing. Before publishing her first short story in 1995, York worked various jobs including acting in local theatre productions, waitressing, working at a bookstore and arranging flowers.
Alissa York’s internationally acclaimed novels include Mercy, Effigy (short-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize), Fauna and, most recently, The Naturalist. York is also the author of the short fiction collection, Any Given Power, stories from which have won the Journey Prize and the Bronwen Wallace Award. Her essays and articles have appeared in The Guardian, Brick magazine, Canadian Geographic and elsewhere. York’s literature has been translated into many languages including Dutch, Italian and French. Her work was acknowledged internationally when Effigy was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2003. York has lived all over Canada and now makes her home in Toronto with her husband, artist Clive Holden.