A native of Los Angeles, California, Kirby attended Harvard-Westlake high school then went to Pomona College where he was a PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics) major. He spent the year after graduation teaching English in South Korea and when he returned moved to San Francisco to get his JD at UC Hastings College of the Law.
Kirby moved out to New York in the spring of 2004 and got his first job in publishing working for Charlotte Sheedy Literary, at that time an affiliate of Sterling Lord Literistic. He then moved to Vigliano Associates where he gradually started representing his own projects. In 2008, he joined Endeavor which the following year merged with William Morris. He stayed at WME for five years before joining Janklow & Nesbit.
Kirby represents both literary and commercial authors. He’s most interested in receiving manuscripts that straddle the fence a bit, with upmarket expression combined with a genre element or plot device. When it comes to straight literary work, he’s alternatively drawn to rich, sweeping stories that try to encompass a time or a place or tightly written, narratively innovative stories or voices with award potential. His commercial interests include thrillers and mysteries, speculative fiction, and young adult.
He also represents a range of nonfiction working with leaders and journalists in the areas of science, culture and current affairs. He’s also known for representing pop culture, in particular music and comedy.
Kirby is currently a board member of the Asian American Writers Workshop. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and two kids.