Award-winning storyteller and performer Sharon Shorty named VPL’s 2015 aboriginal storyteller in residence
August 12, 2015
Photo: Mark Rutledge
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Public Library is pleased to announce Sharon Shorty – speaker of the Teslin Tlingit Council and an award-winning playwright and actor – as its 2015 aboriginal storyteller in residence.
A member of the Tlingit (Raven Clan), Northern Tutchone and Norwegian People, Shorty has deep roots in the storytelling tradition of the southern Yukon. For more than 25 years, she has fused this tradition with her acclaimed performance on stages around the world.
Shorty’s creative approach is a blend of contemporary genres and traditional storytelling passed down from her grandmothers. She has been recognized with the Aurora Award for storytelling and for her play Trickster in the Old Folks Home, and she received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for significant public service to the Yukon and Canada.
“I am fortunate to have the mentorship of my grandmothers and be part of an unbroken series of oral traditions,” says Shorty. “Having lived in the Yukon and Vancouver for a number of years, I have strong ties to the Lower Mainland and am looking forward to being VPL’s aboriginal storyteller in residence.
“This will be a great opportunity to share the traditions of my people and focus on the use of stories in everyday life,” she continues. “Whether it’s sharing family history, finding stories rooted in identity, or inspiring younger generations to engage with their story, I aim to grow that connection.”
VPL’s award-winning aboriginal storyteller program was created in 2008 and was one of the first at a Canadian public library.
“We are delighted to be able to bring Sharon’s passion for storytelling to Vancouverites,” says VPL chief librarian Sandra Singh. “Our aboriginal storyteller program is just one of the ways libraries showcase the power of stories – to cross cultures, to bridge generations and connect us with ideas and with each other.
“Libraries provide access to a world of information across formats and through diverse channels,” she says. “Coming together to experience stories – such as Sharon’s – provide opportunities that are just as important to learning as reading books or watching films.”
Shorty’s inaugural event as VPL’s 2015 aboriginal storyteller in residence is Tuesday, Aug. 25 (7 p.m.) at the central library’s Alice MacKay room.
This public event will feature a special welcome to the territory and traditional stories from the North. Admission is free.
Additional events at VPL branches across the city will run throughout the fall season. Look for details at VPL branches or at vpl.ca/events.
High-resolution images and media interviews are available upon request.
About Vancouver Public Library
Vancouver Public Library has been dedicated to meeting the lifelong learning, reading and information needs of Vancouver residents for more than 100 years. Our vision is an informed, engaged, and connected city. Our mission is a free place for everyone to discover, create and share ideas and information. Last year, VPL had more than 6.8 million visits with patrons borrowing more than 9 million items, including books, ebooks, CDs, DVDs and magazines. Across 21 locations and online, VPL is the most-visited major urban library per capita in Canada.