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Departments & programs, Community, English
Ivan Coyote, Canadian storyteller and author of Boys Like Her and Tomboy Survival Guide, will be closing out their residency as the 2018/2019 Writer-in-Residence in the Department of English with a reading event and reception on April 18.
In addition to being the award-winning author of 11 books, Coyote is also the creator of four short films, six full-length live shows, and three albums combining music and storytelling. Coyote is a seasoned stage performer, and over the last two decades has become an audience favourite at storytelling, writing, film, poetry, and folk music festivals worldwide.
Coyote’s works, often revolving around complex issues of gender, identity, and social justice, are critically acclaimed. Tomboy Survival Guide was longlisted for Canada Reads, shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for nonfiction, and named a Stonewall Honour Book in 2017.
During their time as Writer-in-Residence at Simon Fraser University, Coyote was available for one-on-one consultations with creative writers from SFU and the wider community.
“I’ve really loved my time at SFU,” says Coyote. “The caliber of the work that has come across my desk has been excellent, so doing the work itself has been a pleasure. My colleagues have been fantastic. This has been an amazing eight months.”
Coyote has been writer-in-residence at various organizations, including the University of Winnipeg, the Vancouver Public Library, and the University of Western Ontario.
“I like the opportunity to work with writers in different communities, the chance to spend some time in that city and get to know it a little, and to meet colleagues in the host department,” says Coyote. “I’ve been introduced to some very fine writers this way over the years, and have gone on to witness them doing some fantastic work. Some of the connections I’ve made have been profound and lasting."
Coyote is an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights. For 17 years, Coyote has toured public schools around the world, using the power of personal stories to fight bullying and make schools safer and more inclusive.
“I want to make schools safe for all students, teachers, staff, and parents,” says Coyote. “For the queer and trans or non-binary people, of course, but really, for everyone.”
Coyote believes schools should do more than just educate people on a prescribed curriculum. “I don’t want schools to just teach subjects and conformity,” says Coyote. “I want schools to teach us how to be better humans, and to be educated citizens, and how to better contribute to our communities and our planet.”
In 2017, Coyote was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from Simon Fraser University for their writing and activism.
When asked about transformative moments in their career, Coyote admits that they’re just proud they’re still at it.
“I’m still excited and challenged by my work every day, and I’m still learning and growing—as a writer, as a teacher, and as a person. 27 years after my first public performance, and I still love that element of my work the best. Every day is a different transformative experience.”
Coyote’s next book, Rebent Sinner, will explore what it means to be trans and non-binary today in the context of the patriarchy while also discovering joy and triumph for younger trans generations.
“I feel good about how it is shaping up,” says Coyote. “I’m writing a mystery novel next, once this new book is out the door.”
Coyote invites you to attend the reading and reception on April 18 and hear from some of the great writers that they got a chance to work with during their residency. The event will feature readings and performances by Carleigh Baker, Carlie Blume, Tania de Rosario, and Juliane Okot Bitek.
Thursday, April 18
Segal Centre Rooms 1420–1430
SFU Harbour Centre
515 West Hastings Street