Interview: 2021 June – What does it mean to die wise? Dr. Jeremy Goldberg interviews Stephen Jenkinson

Culture activist, teacher, author ~ Stephen Jenkinson teaches internationally and is the creator and principal instructor of the Orphan Wisdom School, co-founded with 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 a former program 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 Nights of Grief and Mystery with Gregory Hoskins in 2015, he has toured this musical/tent show revival/storytelling/ceremony of a show across North America, the U.K. and Europe, and Australia and New Zealand.

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 is 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).

His books, recordings and DVDs are available for purchase at the Orphan Wisdom Shop: orphanwisdom.com

Watch the Lost Nation Road documentary here: orphanwisdom.com/lost-nation-road

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