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  • Published: 4 May 2021
  • ISBN: 9780143775188
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $38.00

Faking It

My Life in Transition

Candid, funny and emotionally powerful, this is writer Kyle Mewburn's true story of growing up transgender.

Kyle Mewburn grew up in the sunburnt, unsophisticated Brisbane suburbs of the 1960s and '70s in a household with little love and no books, with a lifelong feeling of being somehow wrong – like ‘strawberry jam in a spinach can'.
In this book, Kyle describes this early life and her journey to becoming her own person – a celebrated children’s book author, a husband and, finally, a woman.
She shares the dreams, the prejudice and the agony of growing up trans and coming out, the lengthy physical ordeal of facial feminisation surgery, and her experiences as a woman – good, bad and creepy.
This is a heartbreaking, often hilarious, candid true story about what it means to hide from yourself, your partner and the world, and then to attain the freedom and acceptance of being yourself.
A story with the bittersweet beauty you’d expect from the writer of Old Huhu that is relevant for anyone wanting to know and understand the trans experience – or anyone wanting to discover who they are and what they are meant to be.

  • Published: 4 May 2021
  • ISBN: 9780143775188
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $38.00

About the author

Kyle Mewburn

Kyle Mewburn is a multi-award-winning writer.
Born and raised in Brisbane, Australia, Mewburn travelled in Europe and the Middle East before settling in New Zealand.
She has written numerous children’s picture books and chapter books, including the 2010 NZ Post Book of the Year for Old Huhu (illustrated by Rachel Driscoll), and the 2007 NZ Post Best Picture Book Award and Children’s Choice Award for Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck!, which was also a 2007 Storylines Notable Picture Book.
In 2005, she won the Joy Cowley Award, presented by Storylines Children’s Literature Foundation of New Zealand for the development of a picture book text.
A well-known speaker at schools and literary festivals, Kyle was the 2011 University of Otago College of Education Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence and was the President of the New Zealand Society of Authors from 2012-2016.
She lives with her wife Marion in Millers Flat, Central Otago, in a house with a grass roof. Faking It: My Life in Transition is her true life story and her first book for adults.

Awards and shortlistings include: Kiss! Kiss! Yuk! Yuk! (illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly; 2007 NZ Post Best Picture Book Award and the Children’s Choice Award; 2007 Storylines Notable Picture Book; 2010 Flicker Tale Children’s Book Award, awarded by the North Dakota Library Association in the United States); No Room for a Mouse (illustrated by Freya Blackwood; 2008 Storylines Notable Picture Book, in both New Zealand and Australia); Duck’s Stuck! (illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly; nominated in the Picture Book category of the 2009 NZ Post Book Awards); Old Huhu (illustrated by Rachel Driscoll; 2010 NZ Post Book of the Year, along with the Maori language edition (translated by Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira), Huhu Koroheke, and finalist in the Picture Book category; 2010 Storylines Notable Picture Book); Hill and Hole (illustrated by Vasanti Unka; 2011 Storylines Notable Picture Book); Hester and Lester (illustrated by Harriet Bailey, winner of the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award for Illustration; 2012 Storylines Notable Picture Book); Melu (illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly; 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards Children’s Choice Award, and finalist in the Picture Book category).

Kiwireviews said of Salto-scaredypus: ‘Another awesome book from the dream team Mewburn and Bixley.’

My best friend are books wrote of Blue Gnu: ‘You can always rely on Kyle Mewburn to write a book that will make kids laugh and keep them entertained from start to finish … If you are not hooked on Kyle Mewburn’s books, you will be once you read Blue Gnu.’

Melu, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly, was, declared the Otago Daily Times, ‘a fabulously illustrated, well-written, thought-provoking tale.’

Kyle teamed up with Katz Cowley for Seesaw Poo, producing, wrote My best friends are books, ‘a great collaboration from two of our most talented authors and illustrators’.

Also by Kyle Mewburn

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Praise for Faking It

Mewburn, a celebrated children’s author, tells her story with directness and humour. She transports the reader back to the stifling conservatism of suburban Brisbane in the 1960s and ‘70s to meet the little boy who felt like ‘‘strawberry jam in a can marked spinach’’. There’s real pain here as Mewburn recalls the secrecy, repression and violence running beneath the surface of family life, dynamics that shaped the psyche of the young ‘‘boy Kyle’’ and taught habits of detachment and shame that would prove hard to break. But she also finds comedy in the ironies offered up by that era and culture. . . . Ultimately, this brave and revealing story asserts that no life should be constrained by lazy, simplistic binaries. When no-one has to fake it –when everyone can be real, complex, and contradictory –we are all of us the better for it.

Renata Hopkins, Sunday Star-Times

I really enjoyed this biography - Mewburn is adept at describing moments in her life few of us have experienced, or can even imagine; and her humour and resilience shines through, even in the worst moments of her life. . . . Highly recommended.

Jenny Nicholls, Waiheke Weekender

A heartfelt, enlightening story that gives one insight into the transgender world. A beautiful, easily digestible tale.

Eileen Merriman, Goodreads

A wonderful writer with an enlightening story to tell. I loved the inclusion of small details . . . My heart ached in that moment of experiencing a man being aggressively sexual. The closing lines that to be unapologetically yourself is the best and hardest thing to be finished the memoir beautifully

Susan Wilson, Goodreads

I’m not entirely sure where to start. Kyle Mewburn is quite a fascinating person. Her journey from Queensland suburbia to the picturesque landscapes of New Zealand by way of… well, the world is a captivating read equal parts sad and hopeful. Biographies can be a mixed bag at the best of times, but occasionally you come across one that is so unabashedly honest and raw that you feel like you’ve been granted access to someone’s soul and it has the power to touch you more deeply than you expect. In Faking it: My Life In Transition, Kyle doesn’t cover anything up… there are moments where she states quite matter of factly that she behaved in an unpleasant way, there’s no hiding the downs to suggest that she was always in the right or that things were easy… quite the opposite. I should say that if you feel like you yourself may be the opposite gender to what your outward appearance suggests, if you know someone who is trans and want to have a better understanding of what they go through or if you are just curious about what it means to be trans then this really is a great book! I think in many ways this would be a good book to have in the school curriculum because it certainly doesn’t suggest that gender affirmation surgery or being trans is easy… but it does show it is an option and (as you will learn by reading Faking It) that can make a huge difference in someone’s life. The old adage that if even just one person is saved/helped etc by reading this book is actually quite apt here. Though there is far more visibility around trans issues now than even just a few years ago… the easier it is for people to access information and personal stories of trans experiences, the easier it will be for people who feel it may relate to them on a very personal level to not feel the need to “fake it”. A very moving and worthwhile read.

Chris O'Connor, Impulsegamer.com