Meet the Editor—Kirstie Hudson

Meet the Editor—Kirstie Hudson

Get to know Orca’s nonfiction editor Kirstie Hudson, including what she’s looking for in new submissions!

Hello. My name is Kirstie Hudson, and I edit nonfiction picture books and middle-grade titles at Orca. As you can imagine, I love facts—lots and lots of facts.

Before starting at Orca as an editor, I had a long career as a journalist with CBC Radio. I was a reporter and producer and worked at stations across the country, from the two-person bureau in Prince Rupert, BC to the newsrooms in Vancouver and Toronto.

I always wanted to find a way into publishing, and I was able to do it when a story I worked on as a journalist became a book. I wrote Picking Up the Pieces: Residential School Memories and the Making of the Witness Blanket with Indigenous carver Carey Newman. Orca signed the book, and the rest, as they say, is history (or facts)!

I’ve now been with Orca for more than five years. I’ve edited dozens of amazing nonfiction titles, and I’ve written another book with Carey, also published by Orca, called The Witness Blanket: Truth, Art and Reconciliation for middle-grade readers. I think writing has made me a stronger editor and vice versa.

What are you working on?

Right now, I’m working away on titles for our different nonfiction series, including Orca Timeline, Orca Think, Orca Wild and Orca Footprints. We have books coming up on plastics, octopuses, creativity and communication. We also have books on microbes, bison, greenspace, water and code-breaking. Nonfiction is never dull! I’m also working on books for two new series: Orca Biography and Orca Take Action.

What are you looking for in new manuscripts?

I’m looking for books that make kids think. I want titles that give them the knowledge to understand the big issues and ideas in the world today and be inspired to get involved and make changes at home and in their communities. I’m looking for authors who are connected to and passionate about their topic, and who bring a perspective or diverse background we don’t hear from as often.

What’s your favorite book?   

Oh, that’s a tough question. I’ve had different favorites at different times in my life. As a kid, I went through Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books and The Time Quintet series by Madeleine L’Engle. Now I’m a big fan of biographies and autobiographies, including the young readers edition of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and A Different Kind of Daughter by Maria Toorpakai. I also love coming-of-age middle-grade titles like We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly, Letters from Cuba by Ruth Behar and Weird Rules to Follow by Kim Spencer (it’s set in Prince Rupert!).