Interview: How To Live Full & Die Wise – Sylvester​ Mc​Nutt Interviews Stephen Jenkinson

Culture activist, worker, author ~ Stephen teaches internationally and is the creator and principal instructor of the Orphan Wisdom School, co-founded the school with his wife Nathalie Roy in 2010, convening semi-annually in Deacon, Ontario, and in northern Europe.

He has Master’s degrees from Harvard University (Theology) and the University of Toronto (Social Work).

Apprenticed to a master storyteller when a young man, he has worked extensively with dying people and their families, is former programme director in a major Canadian hospital, former assistant professor in a prominent Canadian medical school.

He is also a sculptor, traditional canoe builder whose house won a Governor General’s Award for architecture.

Since co-founding the Nights of Grief and Mystery project with singer/ songwriter Gregory Hoskins in 2015, he has toured this musical/ tent show revival/ storytelling/ ceremony of a show across North America, U.K. and Europe and Australia and New Zealand. They released their Nights of Grief & Mystery album in 2017 and at the end of 2020, they released two new records; Dark Roads and Rough Gods.

He is the author of Come of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble (2018), the award-winning Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul (2015), Homecoming: The Haiku Sessions (a live teaching from 2013), How it All Could Be: A workbook for dying people and those who love them (2009), Angel and Executioner: Grief and the Love of Life – (a live teaching from 2009), and Money and The Soul’s Desires: A Meditation (2002). He was a contributing author to Palliative Care – Core Skills and Clinical Competencies (2007).

Stephen Jenkinson is also the subject of the feature length documentary film Griefwalker (National Film Board of Canada, 2008, dir. Tim Wilson), a portrait of his work with dying people, and Lost Nation Road, a shorter documentary on the crafting of the Nights of Grief and Mystery tours (2019, dir. Ian Mackenzie).