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Sandra Hayes-Gardiner’s (l.) memoir recounts her upbringing in a racially divided town in Manitoba and her journey from ignorance to understanding the impact of systemic racism.” FULL STORY

Hugh’s News #8 Leiren-Young

September 03rd, 2014

Writer-in-Residence Mark Leiren-Young Offers Writing Workshops in Richmond

by Hugh Henderson

Easily one of the most versatile and affable authors in B.C., the critic, playwright, screenwriter, humourist and man-about-town Mark Leiren-Young has applied for the writer-in-residency post at Vancouver Public Library on several occasions, but he doesn’t get chosen. Maybe his hair is too long. Maybe he’s male. The world is full of mysteries, like the disappearance of that jetliner, that might never get solved. But he perseveres.

Having just been selected as Vancouver’s first Jewish Literary Laureate, a new distinction shepherded into existence by cultural activist Yosef Wosk, Leiren-Young has been chosen to also serve as  Richmond’s Writer-in-Residence for 2014.

Mark Leiren-Young, will offer free writing workshops at the Brighouse (Main) Branch of Richmond Public Library this fall. Registration opens September 27th. To register call 604-276-4300 or online at Richmond.ca/register. Pre-registration is required.

Telling Your Story” is for ESL adult writers and it takes place on Tuesdays, Oct. 14, 21 and 28 from 7-9 p.m. in the Brighouse Branch Community Place room, 7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond. When registering, quote program #653958. Maximum 15 participants. Registration opens September 27th.

“Participants at this workshop can uncover their own authentic writing voice and explore different approaches to telling and sharing stories,” said Leiren-Young.  At the end of the course Leiren-Young will compile the students’ writing and create a chapbook.

Participants and guests are invited to a Chapbook Launch  and Public Reading with the participating ESL writers on November 18th from 7-9 p.m. at the library. The chapbook will also be featured on the library’s Create & Learn site after the residency.

“Words Online for Adults” is a 3-hour class taking place on October 7th from 6-9 p.m. in the Community Place room at the Brighouse Branch. When registering, quote program #653908. Maximum 35 participants. Registration opens September 27th.

“Participants will learn about new online opportunities and how to craft stories for a web audience,” added Leiren-Young. “Blogging, podcasting, YouTube, and social media – all these are ways to share your stories online.”

On Friday, Sept. 26th the Writer-in-Residence Public Reading Launch takes place in the Cultural Centre Performance Hall from 7-9 p.m. This is a free event for adults and older teens. Pre-registration for this event is recommended: call 604-276-4300 and quote program #653858.


As a journalist Mark Leiren-Young has written for such publications as Time, Maclean’s and The Utne Reader, and he’s received a National Magazine Award as a columnist. He’s has been a regular contributor to The Georgia Straight and is a humour columnist for The Tyee.

Mark Leiren-Young’s Never Shoot a Stampede Queen: A Rookie Reporter in the Cariboo (Heritage 2008) won the 2009 Stephen Leacock Medal for humour. It is a collection of true-life tall tales about a rookie reporter’s adventures in Canada’s still-very-wild West. According to promotional materials: “The night Mark Leiren-Young drove into Williams Lake, British Columbia, in 1985 to work as a reporter for the venerable Williams Lake Tribune, he arrived on the scene of an armed robbery. And that was before things got weird. For a 22-year-old from Vancouver, a stint in the legendary Cariboo town was a trip to another world and another era. From the explosive opening, where Mark finds himself in a courtroom just a few feet away from a defendant with a bomb strapped to his chest, to the case of a plane that crashed without its pilot on board, Never Shoot a Stampede Queen is an unforgettable comic memoir of a city boy learning about — and learning to love — life in a cowboy town.”

Mark Leiren-Young wrote, directed and produced the feature film The Green Chain—a documentary-style drama about a dying B.C. logging town. The Green Chain opened at the Fifth Avenue Cinemas in Vancouver in March of 2009, having won a major prize at the 15th annual FICMA Film Festival in Barcelona. It was touted as “a powerful, funny and thought-provoking film about the conflicts between people who love trees—on both sides of the battle—and are willing to risk anything to protect their personal visions of the forest.”

His stage plays have been produced throughout Canada and the U.S. and have also been seen in Europe and Australia. His scripts Shylock and Articles of Faith are published by Anvil Press. His satirical comedy troupe, Local Anxiety, has been featured on CBC and NPR and has played major festivals across Canada. Local Anxiety’s TV special Greenpieces received an Earthvision Award for its satirical take on environmental issues. He has released two CDs with Local Anxiety—Forgive Us We’re Canadian and Greenpieces. Both feature the troupe’s hit song “I’m White, I’m Straight, I’m Sorry.”

He’s half of the comedy duo Local Anxiety and has released two CDs—Greenpieces and Forgive Us We’re Canadian and stars in the 2012 solo stage comedy Greener Than Thou. His other books include The Green Chain—Nothing Is Ever Clear Cut and This Crazy Time, written with/about Canadian environmentalist, Tzeporah Berman. His candid, often painful, but always amusing memoir of post-pubescent ambitions for fame and love is Free Magic Secrets Revealed (Harbour 2013).

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