Writer in Residence: Ivan Coyote

Ivan E. Coyote

Writer in Residence, Spring 2010

In the spring of 2010, award-winning author, storyteller and spoken word performer Ivan E. Coyote spent a week in residence at Boston Bar Elementary School and Hope Secondary School, in Hope B.C, through the VIWF’s Writer in Residence program.  During her residency, Ivan held workshops and gave readings for students at Boston Bar Elementary and Hope Secondary School; she contributed to the larger community by holding a writing workshop for adults at the local library.  Ivan’s residency in Hope was inspirational for many students— the writing workshops gave students the chance to share personal stories and an opportunity to uncover a creative outlet.  Ivan created an environment of trust that allowed students to open up. 

Jason Cobey, principal of Boston Bar Elementary, was pleased with Ivan’s residency, especially her ability to connect with students.  He explains, “our school has a low socio-economic base and I believe that [the students] were able to relate to some of the stories she read to us.”  One student in particular was so moved by the writers’ workshop experience, Ivan “was willing to keep in contact via email, to help her finish her story.” 

Similar sentiments were expressed by Johanne Sauvé, a teacher at Hope Secondary School, who praises Ivan’s ability to engage students through storytelling.  “From a teacher’s point of view I can assure you that getting and keeping high school students’ interest for any length of time can be a huge challenge. When students walked in room 1 at Hope Secondary School for a special presentation on May 18, they had no idea what was in store for them. It wasn’t long before all eyes and ears were riveted to this wonderful storyteller. The only noise I heard throughout the whole hour was laughter and sighs of compassion. How often does an adult reach a skeptical audience like teenagers with such force and success? Not very often, that’s for sure. The humour in each story caught the students’ attention and the underlying message got through to them. During one of the stories skillfully delivered by Ivan, I noticed a few teary eyes in the room, not to mention my own. Her talent in storytelling, the poignancy of some of the underlying issues provoked further thinking on the part of many students. “


The Writer-in-Residence program is supported by the Michael R. Shaw Outreach Program.

About the Michael R. Shaw Fund

Michael R. Shaw was a young man who loved the outdoors and whose life was cut short when he and some of his classmates were taken by an avalanche in BC in 2003. The Michael R. Shaw Fund was established through the generosity of the Woodward family and the Festival is honoured to lend Michael's name to the program