Infinithéâtre is thrilled to have Drew Hayden Taylor as our 1st annual Artist-in-Residence. Born and living on the Curve Lake First Nation in Ontario, Taylor is one of Canada’s most versatile and prolific writers: an award-winning playwright, novelist, journalist and filmmaker.
Drew Hayden Taylor, Infinithéâtre's 1st annual Artist-in-Residence
An Ojibway from the Curve Lake First Nations in Ontario, Drew Hayden Taylor has worn many hats in his literary career, from performing stand-up comedy at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., to being Artistic Director of Canada's premiere Native theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts. He has been an award-winning playwright, journalist/columnist (appearing regularly in several Canadian newspapers and magazines), short-story writer, novelist, and television scriptwriter, and he has worked on numerous documentaries exploring the Native experience. He wrote and directed Redskins, Tricksters and Puppy Stew, a documentary on Native humour for the NFB, and for CBC co-created Searching for Winnitou, an exploration of Germany’s fascination with North American Indigenous culture. Two years later, he followed it up with the documentary Cottagers and Indians, about Indigenous/non-Indigenous conflicts over land and water issues.
Drew has proudly been a part of what he refers to as the contemporary Native Literary Renascence. An author of more than 20 plays, his popular plays such as Toronto at Dreamer's Rock, Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth, The Berlin Blues, and Cottagers and Indians have left their mark on the Canadian theatre scene.
In the world of prose, he enjoys spreading the boundaries of what is considered Indigenous literature. In 2007, Annick Press published his first novel, The Night Wanderer, a teen novel about an Ojibway vampire. 2010 saw the publication of his novel Motorcycles and Sweetgrass (Finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction). More recently, Douglas & McIntyre published a collection of his Native-themed science fiction short stories, Take Us to Your Chief and Other Stories. Last fall, Cormorant Press published his latest novel, Chasing Painted Horses. (PDF here)
His success as a writer has allowed him the opportunity to travel the world, spreading the gospel of Native literature. Through many of his non-fiction books, from the Funny, You Don't Look Like One to the Me Funny, Me Sexy, Me Artsy series, he has tried to educate and inform the world about issues that reflect, celebrate, and interfere in the lives of Canada's First Nations.
He also co-created and was the head writer for the comedy series Mixed Blessings, and he contributed scripts to four other popular Canadian television series, including Beachcombers and North of 60. In 2007, a TV movie he wrote, In a World Created by a Drunker God (based on his play, which was a finalist for the Governor General Award for Drama), was nominated for three Gemini Awards. In 2011 and 2012, he wrote the script for the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, now known as the Indspire Awards.
The last few years have seen him proudly serve as the Writer-In-Residence at the Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon, the University of Michigan, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Luneburg (Germany), Ryerson University, Wilfrid Laurier, as well as a host of Canadian theatre companies. The years of writing have brought him many accolades by his peers, including the Floyd S. Chalmers Award, the Dora Mavor Moore Award, and the Canadian Author’s Literary Award. He has also been the recipient of many other varied honours: an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Mount Allison University, a Plaque of Honour on the Peterborough Walk of Fame, the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award, the Ontario Premier’s Award for Creative Arts and Design, and the Victoria Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement in Theatre, to name a few.
Oddly enough, the thing his mother was most proud of was his ability to make spaghetti from scratch.