Ivan Coyote - Tedx Talk Why we need Gender Neutral Bathrooms
Ivan Coyote - CBC DNTO
A Butch Road Map
So the Story Goes Ivan Coyote - Queer Arts Festival
Photo Credit: Jourdan Tymkow
Ivan E. Coyote
on Gender Identity, Family, Class, Social Justice & Queer Liberation
Ivan Coyote was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. An award-winning author of eleven books, the creator of four short films, and has released three albums that combine storytelling with music. Ivan is a seasoned stage performer and long-time road dog, and over the last twenty years has become an audience favourite at storytelling, writer’s, film, poetry, and folk music festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam.
Ivan began performing in 1992, and in 1996 co-founded Taste This, a four person performance troupe that combined live music, storytelling and performance poetry to create a text-driven genre-busting collaborative exchange. Taste This toured North America extensively and in 1998 the four artists published Boys Like Her, a critically acclaimed book that took the stage show to the printed page. Boys Like Her sold out three editions and continues to be considered a notable Canadian contribution to the dialogue around gender identity and sexuality.
Ivan teamed up with Arsenal Pulp Press in 2000, and has since released ten more books. Close to Spiderman (2000) was runner up for the Danuta Gleed Award for short fiction. Then came One Man’s Trash (2002) and Loose End (2005), which was short listed for the Ferro Grumley Award, and was a finalist for the 2008 Vancouver Public Library’s One Book, One Vancouver. Ivan’s first novel Bow Grip (2006) was also short listed for the Ferro Grumley Award, and won the 2007 ReLit Award for best fiction. The Slow Fix, was released in September of 2008, and was nominated for a 2009 Lambda Award. Missed Her was released in 2010, and was shortlisted for a ReLit Award and is now in its second printing.
In 2011 Coyote teamed up with their partner Zena Sharman and co-edited Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, which was shortlisted for a Lambda award and named a Stonewall Honor Book by the American Library Association. In 2012 Coyote released their first young adult title, One In Every Crowd. 2014, Gender Failure hit the shelves. Based on their acclaimed 2012 live show that toured across Canada and the US and in Europe, Gender Failure is a poignant collection of autobiographical essays, lyrics, and images documenting Ivan and Rae’s personal journeys from gender failure to gender self-acceptance.
Ivan writes about their years as a young butch, in the most recent release, The Tomboy Survival Guide (2016) Ivan discusses dealing with new infatuations and old baggage, and life as a gender-box-defying adult, in which they offer advice to young people while seeking guidance from others.
Ivan is still fascinated by the intersection of storytelling and music, and works with a number of well-established Canadian musicians, including pianist and composer Veda Hille, songwriter Dan Mangan, folk artist Rae Spoon, cellist Cris Derksen, and violinist Lyndell Montgomery. Ivan is interested in collaborations where the text and the score are equal players, not just storytelling with musical accompaniment, but a conversation between two artists: the text is listening to the chord progressions and pacing itself with the downbeat, and the music is responding to what happens next in the story. Ivan has released three CDs of storytelling with music, You’re A Nation (2003) and You Are Here (2007) and Only Two Reasons (2010).
In 2001 Ivan landed a little gig teaching short fiction at Capilano University in North Vancouver. This little night school class led to an accidental discovery: Ivan loves to teach creative writing. Coyote continued to teach short fiction and classes and workshops, and in 2007 was invited to become Carleton University’s writer-in-residence. While in Ottawa, Coyote taught a third year fiction class, and three memoir-writing classes for senior citizens. It was while teaching seniors that Ivan realized their true calling. Ivan strongly believes in listening to the stories of our elders, and encouraging them to write down their lives. Not only did these memoir classes sell out, but several of Coyote’s students continue to meet and workshop their writing together to this day. Coyote has since been honoured to be the writer-in-residence at the Vancouver Public Library (2009).
In addition to these literary and teaching accomplishments, Ivan continues to tour extensively throughout North America and Europe, telling stories not only to festival audiences, but to high school students, social justice activists, adult literacy students, and senior citizens all across the continent. Ivan believes in the transformative power of storytelling, and that collecting and remembering oral history not only preserves a vital part of our families and where we come from, but that a good story can help inspire us to reinvent a better future.
"A natural–born Storyteller" - The Globe and Mail
“Coyote is to CanLit what k.d. lang is to country music: a beautifully odd fixture.” - Ottawa X Press
“Ivan has a distinctive and persuasive voice, a flawless sense of pacing, and an impeccable sense of story.” - Quill’s Magazine