Nights of Grief and Mystery
An Interview with Stephen Jenkinson

April 10, 2020

Interview by
Joanna Harcourt-Smith

In this week’s episode Stephen Jenkinson speaks with Joanna about: paying attention to the crisis for an understanding of the time we are in; the skillfulness of grief; the greater achievement; the “Nights of Grief and Mystery” experience; the task in the second half of life; drawn in by the particulars of a piece of ground; Earth is a consequence of death; the generativity of dying; being caught after a long persistence.

Culture activist, teacher and 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 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 “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, 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), among other titles.


“I Can’t Sit Still”, original music by Evarusnik

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