Kimber, Murray 1964–

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Kimber, Murray 1964–


Born 1964, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada; married; children: two daughters. Education: Attended University of Calgary, 1984; Alberta College of Art and Design, degree (visual communications), 1988.


Home—Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Richard Solomon Artist Representative, 305 E. 50th St., New York, NY 10022. E-mail[email protected]


Illustrator. Teacher of illustration and drawing c. 1992–97; magazine advertising art consultant. Exhibitions: Paintings exhibited in Canada and included in private collections.


Society of Illustrators, Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators in Canada.

Awards, Honors

Annual awards from Applied Arts and Communication Arts magazines; inclusion in three Society of Illustrators Awards shows; Governor General's Literary Award for illustration, 1994, Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture-Book Award, 1995, and Studio magazine award, all for Josepha: A Prairie Boy's Story, by Jim McGugan; Alberta Books Award; Lotus Award (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada); Governor General's Award for Illustration nomination, 2001, for The Wolf of Gubbio, and 2005, for The Highwayman.


Jim McGugan, Josepha: A Prairie Boy's Story, Red Deer Press (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 1993, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1994.

Michael Bedard, The Wolf of Gubbio, Stoddart Kids (New York, NY), 2000.

Kate Hovey, Ancient Voices, Margaret McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2005.

Contributor of illustrations to periodicals, including Time, MacLean's, Canadian Business, Harvard Business Review, and Saturday Night.


Growing up on the Canadian prairie, illustrator and painter Murray Kimber became passionate about art and illustrations, particularly the art he discovered in comic-book series such as Superman and Batman, as well as in the stylized images that were popular during the 1930s and 1940s. Kimber eventually developed his childhood passion into a career as a professional illustrator and fine-art painter, and his work has appeared in prominent magazines as well as in several children's books. Compared by some critics to the art of Thomas Hart Benton, Andrew Wyeth, and Marsden Hartley, his most well-known work includes the paintings created for Jim McGugan's picture book Josepha: A Prairie Boy's Story, which earned Kimber the prestigious Canadian Governor General's Award for illustration. Reviewing the paintings the artist created to accompany a new edition of Alfred Noyes' classic poem The Highwayman, Booklist contributor Jennifer Mattson wrote that Kimber's "unusual interpretation" of the poem features "an art deco style and film noir palette."

In Josepha Kimber captures the warmth of McGugan's story about an immigrant boy living on the Midwestern prairie at the turn of the twentieth century. Recently arrived from Europe, Josepha is large for his age, but he must attend school with the younger children because he does not understand English. "Kimber produces the kind of expansive landscape renditions that are rarely seen in children's books," stated Olga Richard and Don-narae MacCann in their review for the Wilson Library Bulletin. A Publishers Weekly critic also enjoyed the book, writing that "ochre, blue, red and brown dominate the painterly illustrations," while in Booklist, Hazel Rochman cited the illustrator's "bold, glowing paintings, in the rural Romantic style."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, October 1, 1994, Hazel Rochman, review of Jo-sepha: A Prairie Boy's Story, p. 328; January 1, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of Ancient Voices, p. 841; May 1, 2005, Jennifer Mattson, review of The Highwayman, p. 1578.

Canadian Children's Literature, number 91, 1996, Joe Sheridan, review of Josepha, p. 48.

Maclean's, December 19, 1994, Diane Turbide, review of Josepha, p. 58.

Quill & Quire, July, 1994, Alison Lohans, review of Josepha, p. 60.

Publishers Weekly, October 24, 1994, review of Josepha, p. 62.

School Library Journal, November, 1994, Ruth K. Mac-Donald, review of Josepha, p. 84.

Wilson Library Bulletin, March, 1995, Donnarae MacCann and Olga Richards, review of Josepha, p. 108.


Canadian Children's Book Centre Web site, (May 5, 2006), "Murray Kimber."

Murray Kimber Home Page, (May 5, 2006).

Nelson Community Newsletter Online, (May 5, 2006), Stephanie Dawson, "High Art of the Highwayman."