Born in Mariposa, California on June 2, 1964, Grant Hayter-Menzies came to Canada in 2006. In his writing, he focuses on the lives of extraordinary women such as the Manchu-American author, feminist and personality, Princess Der Ling (Mrs. Elizabeth Antoinette White), the subject of his biography Imperial Masquerade (Hong Kong University Press / UBC Press, 2008).

Most people remember the actress Billie Burke, if they remember her at all, for her role as Glinda the Good Witch of the North in MGM's 1939 film, "The Wizard of Oz," but many years before that she was a famous stage personality, in London and New York, and as well as being the wife of Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. Grant Hayter-Menzies' biography Mrs. Ziegfeld The Public and Private Lives of Billie Burke (McFarland & Company, 2009) is the first to be written about her. The book's release was planned to be concurrent with the 70th anniversary of "Oz". "It is something of an 'authorised' biography," says Hayter-Menzies, "as Burke's daughter and grandchildren cooperated with me in researching Burke's private life." He also interviewed actors who performed with her on stage and screen.

Hayter-Menzies is also the author of the first biography of the American musical comedy star, Charlotte Greenwood [1890-1977]. Based on exclusive access to Charlotte's unpublished memoirs, letters, and memorabilia. Movie critic Rex Reed wrote, "A unique talent and an overlooked chapter in show business history, diligently researched and informatively written. Beloved Charlotte Greenwood has been brought back to life with candor and charm. A movie lover's must-read!"

Yet to be published, A Certain Vision of Truth: The Epic Journey of Olga Ilyin is his authorized biography of Russian émigré poet and memoirist, Olga Ilyin [1894-1991], who was a great-granddaughter of revered Russian poet Evgeny Baratynsky and a powerful and unjustly neglected writer herself.

Among anthologies to which he has contributed is a biographical study of the daughters of Russia's Romanov tsars, The Grand Duchesses: Daughters and Granddaughters of Russia's Tsars, published by Arturo Beeche of the European Royal History Journal in August 2004. A companion volume, detailing lives of the Romanov grand dukes, is forthcoming.

He has written about classical, world and experimental music; visual art; film, books and theatre; and gay and lesbian issues for such newspapers and magazines as The Portland Oregonian, Willamette Week (Portland, Oregon), the Eugene Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon), Just Out (Portland, Oregon), Opera News (New York), BIBLIO, The European Royal History Journal (San Francisco), the Peninsula News Review (Sidney, BC) and Galleries West (Calgary, AB and Vancouver, BC).

He has worked extensively with playwright William Luce, providing original verse for his musico-biography The Divine Orlando (based on the life of the 16th century composer Orlando di Lasso), produced off Broadway in 1988; translations of German poetry for his 1991 Broadway play, Lucifer's Child, written for and performed by actress Julie Harris; and translations of Rimbaud for his play Nijinsky, which premiered in Tokyo in January 2000.

As publicity materials for Shadow Woman (McGill-Queens 2013) state: "Kansas-born Pauline Benton (1898-1974) was encouraged by her father, one of America's earliest feminist male educators, to reach for the stars. Instead, she reached for shadows. In 1920s Beijing, she discovered shadow theatre (piyingxi), a performance art where translucent painted puppets are manipulated by highly trained masters to cast coloured shadows against an illuminated screen. Finding that this thousand-year-old forerunner of motion pictures was declining in China, Benton believed she could save the tradition by taking it to America.

"Mastering the male-dominated art form in China, Benton enchanted audiences eager for the exotic in Depression-era America. Her touring company, Red Gate Shadow Theatre, was lauded by theatre and art critics and even performed at Franklin Roosevelt's White House. Grant Hayter-Menzies traces Benton's performance history and her efforts to preserve shadow theatre as a global cultural treasure by drawing on her unpublished writings, the recollections of her colleagues, the testimonies of shadow masters who survived China's Cultural Revolution, as well as young innovators who have carried on Benton's pioneering work."

In 2015, Hayter-Menzies published Lillian Carter: A Compassionate Life (McFarland & Company $35). With the support of President Jimmy Carter and the Carter family, Hayter-Menzies recalls how Lillian cared for black families in the rural south as a young nurse and later served as a 68-year-old Peace Corps volunteer in 1960s India. Always a fearless supporter of human rights, she was dubbed "First Mother of the world"; by the American press.

Dorothy Brooke and the Fight to Save the Lost War Horses of Cairo (Potomac Books-U of Nebraska Press) recounts the heroics of an English general's wife to help old and retired equines used during wartime. Dorothy Brooke (1883 - 1955) discovered and rescued elderly and abused former war horses and army mules abandoned in Egypt following the end of World War I. She set up a veterinary hospital in a slum area of Cairo in 1934, working there until her death in 1955. The hospital continues today and has inspired other free clinics for vet care working with equines in eleven developing nations.

Woo, The Monkey Who Inspired Emily Carr: A Biography (D&M 2019) by Grant Hayter-Menzies respects the enduring relationship with a Javanese macaque whom Carr adopted in 1923 after she spotted the greeny-brown primate in a Victoria pet store. Hayter-Menzies suggests that Woo was like a surrogate daughter, a reflection of herself, a piece of the wild
inside her boarding house because Carr was never able to reconcile her wild and passionate nature with the stifling mores of the well-to-do Victorian society in which she was raised. After Carr was hospitalized due to heart failure, she arranged for Woo to be sent to the Stanley Park Zoo where Woo died a year later.

BOOKS:

Charlotte Greenwood: The Life and Career of the Comic Star of Vaudeville, Radio and Film (McFarland & Company, April 2007)

Imperial Masquerade: The Life and Legend of Princess Der Ling (Hong Kong University Press, 2008)

Mrs. Ziegfeld: The Public and Private Lives of Billie Burke (McFarland & Company, 2009). Foreword by Eric Myers ISBN 978-0-7864-3800-6 hardcover (7 x 10) 2009/ Soft cover reprint (McFarland & Co 2016) $25 978-1-4766-6596-2

Shadow Woman: The Extraordinary Career of Pauline Benton (McGill-Queen's University Press 2013) 978-0-773-54201-3 $29.99

Lillian Carter: A Compassionate Life (McFarland & Company 2015) 9780786497195 $35.00

Dorothy Brooke and the Fight to Save the Lost War Horses of Cairo (Potomac Books - U. of Nebraska Press 2017)

Woo, The Monkey Who Inspired Emily Carr: A Biography
by Grant Hayter-Menzies; Foreword by Anita Kunz, OC
Introduction by Andrew Westoll (Douglas & McIntyre 2019)
978-1-77162-214-1

[BCBW 2019] "Film" "China" "History"