ListenLarger documents may require additional load time.
Ivan E. Coyote
Born: August 11, 1969 in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
Nationality: Canadian
Occupation: Writer
Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit, MI: Gale, 2012. From Literature Resource Center.
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2019 Gale, a Cengage Company
Updated:May 9, 2012

Born August 11, 1969, in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada. Education: Attended Capilano College. Avocational Interests: Knitting, doing leather work, playing street hockey. Addresses: Home: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. E-mail:


Musician, storyteller, and author. Has also worked as a writing instructor at Capilano College, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; "Round-Up," Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), writer in residence; Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, writer in residence, 2008; University of Winnipeg, writer in residence, 2011.


Finalist, Danuta Gleed Award for short fiction, 2000, for Close to Spider Man; shortlist, Ferro Grumley Award, finalist, Vancouver Public Library's One Book, One Vancouver, 2008, both for Loose End; shortlist, Ferro Grumley Award, winner, ReLit Award for best fiction, 2007, and Stonewall Honor Book, American Library Association, all for Bow Grip; shortlist, Lambda Literary Award, 2008, for The Slow Fix.




  • Close to Spider Man: Stories, Arsenal Pulp Press (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2000.
  • One Man's Trash: Stories, Arsenal Pulp Press (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2002.
  • Loose End: Stories, Arsenal Pulp Press (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2005.
  • Bow Grip (novel), Arsenal Pulp Press (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2005.
  • The Slow Fix, Arsenal Pulp Press (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2008.
  • Missed Her: Stories, Arsenal Pulp Press (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2010.
  • (Editor, with Zena Sharman) Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, Arsenal Pulp Press (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2011.

Also wrote CD-ROM You're A Nation, Only Two Reasons, and You Are Here. Contributor to periodicals, including Georgia Strait, Broken Pencil, Nerve, Curve, and Common Ground. Xtra, columnist. Contributor to Boys Like Her, Press Gang Books, 1998.



Ivan E. Coyote is the author of several collections of short stories as well as a novel, Bow Grip. Coyote, who is also a well-known oral story teller, often deals with lesbian themes. However, as contributor Alexander Varty noted: "The wonder of Coyote's stories ... is that even the straightest reader will be touched by their generous heart, and by the seeming immediacy of their kitchen-table clarity." Varty added: "But ... their construction is not always as straightforward as it might appear."

Coyote's debut collection, Close to Spider Man: Stories, deals with remembrances from the author's childhood in Canada's Yukon Territory. As Herizons contributor Maria Stan Borough noted, these stories "captured the essence of how a life unfolds with gentle honesty." The interlocking tales of this first collection depict a fictional protagonist very much like Coyote herself. She grows up in the Yukon, living a tomboy existence, one that ultimately makes her find the boy in herself.

One of the stories, "Manifestation," deals with the protagonist's growing awareness of her true sexuality. A dirt moustache results from a day's work as a landscaper, and she decides to leave it there, much to the dismay of her fellow workers. "With an adept and concise hand, Coyote is able to take the reader to new and unexpected places, the true gift of a talented writer," Borough further remarked. Additional praise came from Lambda Book Report reviewer Rachel Kramer Bussel, who found Close to Spider Man "powerful in its imagery of growing up queer and trans in the Yukon."

In her second collection, One Man's Trash: Stories, Coyote also features tales of the Yukon, as well as road trips, stories about family, love affairs, and the casual enjoyments of everyday life. Bussel, again writing in the Lambda Book Report, stated: "It's the shortest stories that work the most magic, that capture a moment or a personality and reframe them, turning something as mundane as a childhood game or grocery shopping into a chance to meet someone new or see the world in a slightly different way." For Bussel, the stories in One Man's Trash are "the essence of simplicity."

Reviewing Coyote's third collection, Loose End: Stories, in Herizons, T.L. Cowan called it a "Narnia for the bent," and a "a secret passageway into a world that is, well, open." Cowan went on the observe that Coyote "writes stories of queer life in that plain-spoken condensed-milk-in-tea kind of way that simply refuses to make a big deal out of it all."

Coyote turned to a longer format with her debut novel, Bow Grip, a story about "a forty-two year old straight mechanic from Alberta whose wife leaves him for his hockey buddy's wife, and how trading a suicidal man a used car for an ancient cello changed his life forever," as Coyote described the novel on her Web site.

Reviewing the work on the Matrix Web site, James Moran termed this debut novel "a fine, sparse, and moving first effort." Writing for the Xtra Web site, reviewer Sandra Alland called the work "a straightforward, almost classical story, with a mystery twist," as well as a "page-turner that also mirrors the intricacies of life." Kris Rothstein, reviewing the novel in Herizons, thought the "novel questions distinct and conventional families and communities, showing the many ways we are tied to one another." And Booklist contributor David Pitt concluded: "Keep your eyes on this Canadian writer; with a little luck and some word of mouth, she could make quite a splash sometime soon."

Coyote delivers thirty-one very short stories in her 2008 collection, The Slow Fix. Each of the brief tales averages about three pages and follows an anecdotal style, introducing characters she has encountered on her travels around Canada. Herizons contributor Karen Darricades, called this collection a "storyteller's travelogue, an ode to Coyote's Northwestern roots and a guide to navigating public spaces for those who defy the gender expectations of others." Darricades further felt that these tales defy the stereotype of the author being simply a "a butch from the bush, using well-natured humour to bring us the universal in the specific." Similar praise for the collection was offered by a Book Chick Web site contributor who noted: "Coyote challenges our views about gender, tells us a little bit about what it's like to be a lesbian in a small town, tells us about her childhood, and in general she entertained me to the end."

In her 2010 collection, Missed Her: Stories, Coyote again explores themes of love, gender, and identity in thirty short-short stories. Here she mixes tales of growing up queer in the Canadian north along with one dealing with a year spent as writer in residence at a college in Ottawa, her return to the west coast, meeting up with an old flame, or talking sexual politics with her lapdog. In "Objects in Mirror Are Queerer Than They Appear," Coyote, looking at on old family album, tries to figure out when her family knew she was different in her sexual orientation. In "Straight Teens Talk Queer" the author takes some comfort about the way kids at a library book camp deal with issues of homophobia. Coyote dishes out advice to the lovelorn in "Uncle Ivan's Broken Hearts Club Plan" and provides tie-tying advice to men in a Whitehorse bar in "Let Me Show You." According to a Kirkus Reviews contributor, the "sexuality of Coyote is never far from the center of her narrative arc" in these "fairly short ruminations, all written in a plain, unambiguous style."

Broken Pencil reviewer Lauren Kirshner dubbed this fifth collection "candid and heartfelt," and further commented: "Coyote is a master at drawing stories out of her personal experience and has a range as wide as her wisdom. Each story reads like a person talking to you straight from the typeface, and it sizzles." Kirshner concluded: "It's great storytelling." Writing in Voice of Youth Advocates, Lisa A. Hazlett similarly called the collection as "powerful as it is slim," and went on to remark: "Humor ... is woven throughout, with each story seemingly effortlessly and entertainingly imparting important messages, creating captivating reads." Lambda Literary Web site contributor G. Stein-Bodenheimer likewise commented: "[Coyote] wants to pull at your heartstrings and to educate you about all matters butch. Her stories, all culled from her personal experience, yield a glimpse of a life not frequently spoken of in mainstream queer circles." Further praise for the collection came from Globe and Mail Online writer Brooke Ford, who noted that the book is "full of humorous banter at coffee shops, a diverse portrait of downtown Vancouver and embarrassing, self-revealing tales about family and friends." Many of the stories in the collection were initially published in the online Vancouver newspaper, Xtra. Remarking on this, Ford observed: "What translates onto the pages of Coyote's books is the immediacy of a live performance, the emotions and diction. The stories in Missed Her ... showcase these intersections with an ease that Coyote always seems to find in narrative."




  • Booklist, March 15, 2007, David Pitt, review of Bow Grip, p. 23.
  • Books in Canada, May, 2003, review of One Man's Trash: Stories, p. 22.
  • Broken Pencil, fall, 2010, Lauren Kirshner, review of Missed Her: Stories, p. 54.
  • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, July 19, 2007, "Writers from Vancouver, Victoria, Moose Jaw Win ReLit Awards."
  • Curve, April, 2003, Rachel Pepper, "Ivan E. Coyote," p. 42.
  • Herizons, fall, 2001, Maria Stan Borough, review of Close to Spider Man: Stories; summer, 2006, T.L. Cowan, review of Loose End: Stories; summer, 2007, Kris Rothstein, review of Bow Grip; spring, 2009, Karen Darricades, review of The Slow Fix, p. 42.
  • Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2010, review of Missed Her.
  • Lambda Book Report, February, 2001, Rachel Kramer Bussel, review of Close to Spider Man, p. 20; January, 2003, Rachel Kramer Bussel, "Beauty Secrets," p. 18.
  • This, May-June, 2011, Canice Leung, review of Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, p. 30.
  • Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2011, Lisa A. Hazlett, review of Missed Her, p. 56.


  • Book Chick, (November 10, 2008), review of The Slow Fix.
  • Danforth Review, (September 15, 2007), Nathan Whitlock, review of Close to Spider Man.
  • Globe and Mail Online, (February 8, 2011), Brooke Ford, "Life, Love and Storytelling," review of Missed Her.
  • Herizons Online, (September 15, 2007), Joy Parks, "Straying from the Gender Pack: An Interview with Ivan E. Coyote."
  • Ivan E. Coyote Home Page, (September 28, 2011).
  • Lambda Literary, March 7, 2011, G. Stein-Bodenheimer, review of Missed Her.
  • Matrix, (September 15, 2007), James Moran, review of Bow Grip.
  • National Post Online, (October 20, 2010), Brad Frenette, "VIWF 2010: Q&A with Ivan E. Coyote."
  •, (September 18, 2008), Alexander Varty, "Ivan E. Coyote's Home and Heart Firmly in Vancouver"; (October 14, 2010), Jackie Wong, review of Missed Her.
  • Xtra, (September 28, 2006), Sandra Alland, "Writing Life: Ivan E. Coyote," and review of Bow Grip.

Source Citation   (MLA 8th Edition)
"Ivan E. Coyote." Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2012. Literature Resource Center, Accessed 22 May 2019.

Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000177660