Stephen Jenkinson is a teacher, author, storyteller, spiritual activist, farmer, and founder of the Orphan Wisdom School, a teaching house and learning house for the skills of deep living and making human culture. It is rooted in knowing history, being claimed by ancestry, working for a time yet to come.
Episode 146 - Stephen Jenkinson Dan Sterenchuk and Tommy Estlund are honored to have as our guest, Stephen Jenkinson. Culture activist, teacher, author ~ Stephen teaches internationally and is the creator and principal instructor of the Orphan Wisdom School, co-founded the school 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), 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. Website: The Curiosity Hour Podcast is hosted and produced by Dan Sterenchuk and Tommy Estlund. Please visit our website for more information: The Curiosity Hour Podcast is listener supported! To donate, click here: Please visit this page for information where you can listen to our podcast: Disclaimers: The Curiosity Hour Podcast may contain content not suitable for all audiences. Listener discretion advised. The views and opinions expressed by the guests on this podcast are solely those of the guest(s). These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of The Curiosity Hour Podcast. This podcast may contain explicit language.
Today I interviewed Stephen Jenkinson. He’s not only an author, an activist, a musician, and the founder of a school, but also an inspired etymologist, a spiritual trickster, and a mythopoetic storyteller cracking sticks and tossing them into a low fire as the spirits in the embers rise with his words. He’s a sorcerer of sorts who disenchants us from some of our most habitual and destructive beliefs about what it means to live and to die, to age and—in the title of his latest book—to Come of Age (North Atlantic Books, 2018). The subtitle of his book is The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble, and I spoke to Stephen at a moment when our most imminent trouble seems to be the global pandemic of the coronavirus, one that—on the date of our interview, March 18, 2020—appears as though it will only grow worse and more deadly here in North America and around the globe. Yet Stephen puts this acute trouble into a larger, longer, and ultimately more troubling perspective. He leads us, as he does in his book, into the act of what he calls wondering, “without recourse to certainty or comfort” but with, perhaps the possibility of emerging more clear-eyed and attentive to the world in front of us and what it asks of our living and our dying and our time together.Eric LeMay is on the creative writing faculty at Ohio University. His work ranges from food writing to electronic literature. He is the author of three books, most recently In Praise of Nothing: Essay, Memoir, and Experiments (Emergency Press, 2014). He can be reached at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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2 hours, 1 minute
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