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Writer, designer, and curator Helen McCarthy has been studying Japanese visual narratives for thirty years. She wrote for a wide range of magazines in the 1980s before founding Anime UK magazine in 1991. She edited the magazine until it folded in 1996, after selling in Europe, the USA and Japan, and launching the careers of several writers and designers.
Her published work includes The Anime Encyclopedia, Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation, 500 Manga Heroes and Villains, and 500 Essential Anime You Must Own. She has won several awards, most recently a Harvey Award for The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga, and has contributed to a number of anthologies and academic publications.
Her current research interests are focussed on early anime and manga, especially the artists who influenced Osamu Tezuka. She also curates and presents film seasons and exhibitions, lectures on Japanese pop culture, and gives talks and workshops in schools and libraries.
Helen loves textiles, costume and embroidery. She designs and makes Japan-inspired needle art and historical costume. Her book on anime and manga-inspired embroidery, Manga Cross-Stitch, was published in Britain and America in 2009, and she contributed to the Barbican’s exhibition Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion in 2010. She's currently working on a history of Japanese costume and researching the construction of English seventeenth-century headgear.
She also writes fiction and poetry, Tweets haiku and random nonsense and blogs sporadically. Following in the footsteps of British poets and radicals like William Blake, she has just founded Beckton Books, a small press devoted to poetry and non-fiction in chapbook and e-book formats.
She lives in London, where she and her partner, artist Steve Kyte, run a home for distressed fashion dolls and fallen kaiju.