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Athabasca University

Drew Hayden Taylor

Photo of Drew Hayden Taylor

Drew Hayden Taylor is a writer in many genres and is well known for his plays about Native people. His published plays include: Toronto at Dreamer’s Rock/ Education is our Right (which won the Chalmers Canadian Play Award for Best Play for Young Audiences), The Bootlegger Blues (which won the Canadian Authors Association Literary Award for Best Drama), and its sequels, The Baby Blues (which won first prize at the University of Alaska Anchorage Native Playwriting Contest), and The Buz’Gem Blues, which recently ran in Los Angeles. Other published plays include Someday and its sequel, Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth which won the 1996 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play. His other plays include The Girl Who Loved Horses (nominated for another Chalmers Award and published with another play for young audiences, The Boy in the Treehouse.

He has written, directed, or worked on approximately 17 film and video documentaries about Native issues. During an experimental journalism phase in his life, Drew spent a year and a half with CBC Radio as a Native Affairs reporter and later dabbled with Macleans, This Magazine, The Globe and Mail, Now Magazine, Southam News, and various other periodicals.

Drew reports that he went through a "television phase" where he worked in various capacities on the Spirit Bay television series, a consultant on Danger Bay and Liberty Street, and later as a publicist for the made-for-TV movie Where the Spirit Lives. During this period he also wrote scripts for The Beachcomers, Street Legal and North of Sixty. More recently he has written for Prairie Berry Pie and The Longhouse Tales. As one of Canada’s first Native scriptwriters, he has story edited numerous writing workshops for visible minority writers.

Drew’s leading passion for many years has been the Theatre world, thanks to a stint as Playwright-In-Residence for Native Earth Performing Arts in the late 1980's. From 1994 to 1997, Drew proudly served as Native Earth’s Artistic Director.

In the last thirteen years, the world has seen fit to witness over sixty professional productions of his plays, including his most recent, an adaptation of the Brecht/Weill musical Mahagonny, titled Sucker Falls: A Musical About Demons of the Forest and the Soul.

He has also been dabbling in the world of prose, writing short stories for various anthologies, not to mention satirical columns in the Peterborough Examiner, Windspeaker, The Prairie Dog, etc. A collection of his best was published in a book titled Funny, You Don’t Look Like One: Observations of a Blue-eyed Ojibway and the sequels, Funny, You Don’t Look Like One Too/Two and this year, Funny…Three. An anthology he co-edited titled Voices: Being Native in Canada was published by the University of Saskatchewan Press. Drew’s collection of short stories published by Talon Books is called Fearless Warriors.

More recently, Drew has been seen directing a documentary on Native humour titled, Redskins, Tricksters and Puppy Stew, produced by the National Film Board of Canada and researching a new one on Native erotica. The Strange Case of Bunny Weequod, a television mystery/drama written by Drew, was filmed entirely in Ojibway, and aired on the CBC several times in 1999. Drew also directed Circle of All Nations, a documentary about Algonquin elder William Commanda and his spiritual conference.

Updated February 12 2015 by Student & Academic Services

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