14.3 C
Byron Shire
April 19, 2021

Telling Stories – Ivan Coyote

Latest News

Head-on crash car traveling in wrong direction

Police say that two men are in hospital after an accident on the M1 overnight, when emergency services responded to reports of a crash involving two cars near Clothiers Creek

Other News

Step up, Ben

Martin Corben, Lennox Head With the cancellation of Bluesfest now would be a good time for the NSW state government’s...

Interview with Jean Kittson

Comedian, writer, and social commentator Jean Kittson has the ability to distil complex ideas into commonsense. Jean is one of the national treasures in conversation with Mandy Nolan and Fiona O’Loughlin at No Eggs for Breakfast, a comedic chat themed around life beyond fertility! It seemed remiss not to ask Ms Kittson on her take on the debacle that is federal politics and gender equity.

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 14 April, 2021

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 14 April, 2021

Hippie fools

Edward Kent, Suffolk Park So, have the ‘hippie’ hipsters of Byron Bay figured out how the new global establishment party at...

Northern Rivers Food Harvest food trail will return in 2021!

The Northern Rivers Food Harvest Food Trail, to be held on the weekend of 1–2 May 2021, is guaranteed to be a very Northern Rivers experience, reflecting and celebrating the distinctive provenance of our region’s food. The Trail will offer lots of wonderful eating and drinking experiences; being jam-packed with our most-acclaimed restaurants, producers, farmers and growers.

Sprout lovers

Sprouts can sometimes be overlooked on the weekly grocery list… except for those in the know, of course!

Ivan Coyote, a natural-born storyteller
Ivan Coyote, a natural-born storyteller

Ivan Coyote is the award-winning author of eleven books, the creator of four short films, and has released three albums that combine storytelling with music.

A natural-born storyteller, ‘Coyote is to Canadian literature what KD Lang is to country music: a beautifully odd fixture’ (Ottawa Express), and often grapples with the complex and intensely personal issues of gender identity as well as family, class and queer liberation.

How does gender identity feature in your work?

It’s a memoir, and I am a trans person, so it features pretty prominently, I guess. That said, this is my favourite quote by a reviewer so far: ‘Coyote resists reading trans-ness in hindsight, refuses to centre trans-ness as the single primary concern in trans lives and, in this regard, is quietly radical. Late in the reading, I realised this is a book about family. An emotionally powerful memoir by a great storyteller about normal life.’ Jade Colbert, The Globe and Mail, Nov 2016.

To me, this reader ‘gets it’. Of course gender identity features in my book, as does the gender identity of nearly every character in any book; we just don’t notice it as much when that character is not trans.

It seems our binary hyper-masculine/feminine gender constructs are rooted in our pronouns. In our very language. What role does language play in gender oppression and how does moving it forward change the way we think or behave? Do you like they? Or do we need new words?

Our English language is full of gender and gender oppression. It’s written right into it. It’s nearly impossible to speak or write about anyone without using a gendered pronoun, almost every sentence. This wouldn’t matter as much if we didn’t live in a patriarchy. If women and men and trans people all had equal access to education, freedom, contraception, dignity, fair wages, healthcare, justice, safe streets… But that is not the world we live in, so gendering people and not valuing women and trans people as much as men is also a way of deciding who has access to what privilege and capital. Look up the etymology of words such as hysterical, testify, or pudendum. Words constructed of misogyny. Plain and simple.

Yes, I love the gender-neutral pronoun they. I searched long and hard inside myself and in the world for a word like they. And yes, of course we need new words, too. Needing new words for things just means we are growing.

Storytelling has made a popular resurgence, with people flocking to story nights all around the world to hear what a writer has to say. What is the role of story, do you think, for human beings? Why is it important?

I think stories are our only means of understanding each other. The best way to teach, to learn, to instruct, to remember, to dream, to warn, to celebrate and to honour. To apologise, to make peace.

What is the essence of powerful  storytelling for you?

Truth. Honesty. Verity. Bravery. Candour.

What should we expect of your appearance in Byron Bay? 

I’m going to tell some stories. I haven’t decided which just yet. The first task of a good storyteller is to find the perfect story for that moment, that space, that crowd. So I will have plenty of options in my pocket.

The Byron Writers Festival presents Ivan Coyote on Wednesday 31 May at the Byron Theatre, straight after Susan Faludi’s conversation with Zacharey Jane. Session one: 6pm; Session two: 7.45pm. Tickets: Members: $30 single session / $40 both sessions. Non-members: $35 single session / $45 both sessions. Bookings: byronwritersfestival.com or 6685 5115. Food will be available for purchase onsite between sessions.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Housing crisis and Council

Avital Sheffer, Mullumbimby Population growth in this Shire is inevitable like it or not. Those who are being pushed out by the unfolding housing tragedy are...

Flawed plan

Kai Beijerbacht, Mullumbimby For those of you who haven’t been living under a rock, I’m sure you are aware of the ever-increasing housing shortage crisis in...

Affordable myth

Patricia Warren, Brunswick Heads There is a ‘myth of affordable housing’ in Byron Shire. Well may councillors lament the lack of ‘affordable housing’ in Byron Shire but...

Midwife quits

Deb Walsh, Fernleigh It’s become untenable for me to continue working in hospitals. I have quit. I will be deregistered soon by my own choice. Working with...