Dan Yashinsky

This was taken by my friend Luigi Rignanese (a great French storyteller) at a wonderful storytelling festival in Uzès, France, spring, 2011.

Dan Yashinsky is a well-known Canadian storyteller, author, and community organizer. He received, in 1999, the first Jane Jacobs Prize to honour his contributions as a storyteller to enhance Toronto’s cultural life. He also received a 2009 Chalmers Arts Fellowship from the Ontario Arts Council.  Dan founded the Toronto Festival of Storytelling (in 1979) and co-founded the Storytellers School of Toronto. He also began the longest-running open session in North America: 1,001 Friday Nights of Storytelling (in 1978). Dan has performed at festivals in Israel, Sweden, Norway, Holland, England, Wales, England, Germany, Brazil, Austria, France, the U.S., Singapore, and Ireland, as well as all across Canada. He is the editor of four acclaimed collections of Canadian storytelling (Next Teller – A Book of Canadian Storytelling; Ghostwise – A Book of Midnight Stories; At The Edge – A Book of Risky Stories; Tales for an Unknown City) and the author of Suddenly They Heard Footsteps – Storytelling for the Twenty-first Century (Knopf Canada), which won the 2007 Ann Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award, and Swimming With Chaucer (Insomniac Press).

Dan created and hosted Talking Stick, a CBC Radio One show that ran in the summer of 1999. He has been a storyteller-in-residence at Queen’s University, Toronto Public Library, The Stop Community Food Centre, Storytelling Toronto, and UNICEF Canada.  Dan has done much to encourage the renaissance of storytelling in all parts of Canada. His work in schools has led him to create innovative curriculum projects, e.g. the Telling Bee and The Portage Project (part of Ontario 2000).

Talking You In, a piece he created with composer/musician Brian Katz, has toured to the Barbican (London), National Arts Centre (Ottawa), and festivals in Wales, Holland, and Canada.  They have performed it as part of staff training in hospitals in Wheeling (West Virginia), Pittsburgh, and Toronto.

Dan has an M.A. in Sociology in Education from the University of Toronto, and a B.A. in Literature from the College of Creative Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara.

Current projects (2020) include a documentary movie, in collaboration with sociologist Carmen Schifellite, called The Wisdom of Solomons.  

LET’S STAY IN TOUCH:  dan_yashinsky@hotmail.com

7 comments on “Dan Yashinsky

  1. […] Dan Yashinsky is a storyteller and writer.You can learn more about Dan here:https://tellery.com/dan-yashinsky/ […]

  2. Thomas says:

    I am re reading your story TALKING HIM IN. I have loved this story ever since I read it in the Summer 2000 issue of Diving In the Moon and shared it once or twice in church settings over the years.

    After I read this story I always wonder “How is Jacob?” Can you share anything about him?

    All good things,

  3. Moira Walker says:

    Dear Dan, I just read your touching story in the Globe & Mail about being a balabusta in your green ‘hood & searching, as you do so, for connection with those who are no longer with you: your parents & your younger son. I too pick up garbage in the streets of Victoria. Reading your piece today took me back to the Victoria storytelling conference when you thoughtfully lit a fire on a beach to warm a Nfld storyteller turned swimmer and encountered, as a result, the Victoria “constabulary.” Thank you for your story. I am sorry for your losses. Warm regards, Moira

    • danyashinsky says:

      Thanks for writing, Moira. Hope you’re doing well. I remember vividly that flashlight coming towards us on the beach!

      • Maya says:

        Dear Dan,

        Greetings from one of those odd humans known as a Millenial; I just read your brilliantly written essay in The Globe. I wasn’t aware that oral Storytelling could be a profession, and the idea of it feels me with awe and also makes such complete sense at the same time. I, too, clean our local ravinette, as my 7 year old calls it because it’s so little, and because he helps to clean it, too. We mostly find masks these days. I was so saddened to read of your son’s passing. I wish you grace and May his memory be a blessing.

      • danyashinsky says:

        Hi Maya,
        Thanks for reading the piece, and writing this lovely note. Glad to hear you and your son are part of the International Movement of Ravine and Ravinette Cleaners. And I appreciate your condolences. If you check Talking You In on the tellery.com site you can hear a story set to music about my son’s early days in the NICU at Sick Kids. It’s a storytelling take on humanizing healthcare.

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