(Photo courtesy of SFU News)

Written by Srijani Datta, Assistant News Editor


Beginning this fall, Canadian storyteller and filmmaker Ivan Coyote took over as the SFU english department’s 2018–19 writer in residence.

Discussing their new role at SFU, Coyote told The Peak that they will be on campus each week to meet with writers and students and faculty to do one-on-one consultations. They will also be doing some classroom visits for readings and question and answer sessions.

Although the writer-in-residence position is based in the English department, Coyote explained to The Peak that anyone in the SFU community and beyond is able to access the one-on-one consultations with the writer in residence.

“All you have to do is send in a writing sample (10 pages max) and book a session with me by emailing Laura Walker, the English Department Head Organizer of Many Things,” Coyote stated.

On September 27, Coyote held their inaugural reading as the year’s writer-in-residence at SFU Downtown Campus.

Coyote has had a longstanding relation with SFU. “I did one of my first professional writer gigs up at SFU in about 1997, I think, just before my first book (co-authored by Zoe Eakle, Anna Camilleri and Lyndell Montgomery (Press Gang, 1998)). That was over 20 years ago, believe it or not,” wrote Coyote to The Peak.

Following their association with SFU in 1997, Coyote then taught as the non-fiction instructor in the Writer’s Studio at the SFU downtown campus in 2009/2010. In the fall of 2017 SFU awarded them an honorary Doctor of Laws and in February 2018, Coyote’s book Tomboy Survival Guide was selected as SFU Library’s One Book last February.

“So, in a way, I’ve had ties to SFU for a while now,” remarked Coyote.

Coyote has authored 11 books, created four short films, approximately six full-length live shows, and around three albums that combine storytelling with music. Over the last two decades Coyote has also earned widespread popularity and acclaim for being a seasoned storyteller in different continents.

“Live performance has always been a driving element of my work,” wrote Coyote, describing the main motivation behind their work. “Live performance ties me to constant learning and expanding the craft of writing and storytelling. I think storytelling is the single most powerful tool we have as humans to learn about and understand each other and build a better world to live alongside and with each other.”

Talking about what is next on their plate, Coyote mentioned that they are predominantly a live performer, a theatre artist, and a public speaker, and that they hope to keep touring in the future.

“I’m also going to start building a little cabin in the Yukon next June, after I finish my residency gig,” said Coyote.

Their new book is also set to be finished during their residency at SFU and bound to hit the shelves in the fall of 2019. Coyote told The Peak that they are working on a mystery novel and booking a national and then international tour of their new collaboration, a live show called Trader Time, with musician and composer Sarah MacDougall.