In the early days of the coronavirus lockdown, like every artist and creator, writer and storyteller Ivan Coyote was faced with a calendar full of cancelled shows and a heart full of questions that all rhymed with what now? To keep busy while figuring out what to write about next, Ivan began to answer the backlog of mail and correspondences that had come in while they were on the pre-pandemic road: emails, letters, direct messages on social media, soggy handwritten notes found tucked under the windshield wiper of their car after a gig, all of it.
In Care Of, Coyote combines the most moving and powerful of these letters with the responses they've sent in the months since the lockdown. Taken together, they become an affirming and joyous reflection on many of the themes and ideas central to Coyote's beloved work as an author and storyteller — a giant love letter to the idea of human connection and the power of truly listening to each other. (From McClelland & Stewart)
Care Of is on the shortlist for the 2021 Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction. The winners will be announced on Nov. 17, 2021.
Ivan Coyote is a writer, storyteller and performer from Yukon. They have written more than a dozen books, created four short films and released three albums combining storytelling with music, and are known for exploring gender identity and queer liberation in their writing. Their other books include Tomboy Survival Guide, Rebent Sinner, Gender Failure, One in Every Crowd and the novel Bow Grip. Coyote won the 2020 Freedom to Read Award, in recognition of their body of work that examines class, gender identity and social justice.
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"I wasn't envisioning it as a manuscript when I first started writing it. I was literally just answering letters. I would just go to the next letter that called to me. Eventually I was working on a book, officially. It shifted then.
"But I kept that random selection, letting my intuition tell me one was the next part of the conversation. If you sit down to read it from back to back, you notice how much magic and coincidence is in there.
If you sit down to read it from back to back, you notice how much magic and coincidence is in there.
"Both the live school shows and publishing books are an act of healing my own self, to some degree. I do what I can do to make sure that everybody gets to be a hero of a story at some point. What a fundamentally beautiful gift that is to be able to give to someone else."