Mark Leiren-Young



Areas of Research & Creative Activity

Playwriting (for adults & young audiences), screen and TV writing (including drama, comedy, documentary, variety & animation), non-fiction (books & journalism), memoirs, environmental writing, humour, comedy and satire. Canadian culture, environmental issues, orcas… 


Mark wrote and directed The Hundred-Year-Old Whale, which won the 2018 Writer’s Guild of Canada Award for Best Documentary. He has three previous Writers Guild of Canada nominations — two for radio drama and one for his debut feature, The Green Chain (which he also directed). His latest book, The Killer Whale Who Changed the World, won the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada award.  His current work in orca-land includes working on a documentary based on the book, writing an orca book for young readers and hosting the Skaana podcast. As a playwright, Mark’s most recent comedy, Bar Mitzvah Boy, landed three productions in 2018 (Vancouver, Toronto and Mass.) and his play, Shylock, is playing in Prague until 2020. Mark has written over 100 hours of produced TV (drama, comedy, kids, variety and documentary). His most recent TV credits include scripts for ReBoot: The Guardian Code. His comic memoir Never Shoot a Stampede Queen—A Rookie Reporter in the Cariboo (Heritage), won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, was adapted into a stage play and is now being adapted for film—as is his most recent comic memoir, Free Magic Secrets Revealed (2013). Mark wrote and co-starred in the EarthVision award-winning TV special Greenpieces: The World’s First Eco-Comedy, featuring his musical comedy duo Local Anxiety. Local Anxiety released two CDs - back when CDs were a thing - and their tunes still pop up on iTunes and Spotify.

As a journalist, Mark has written for TIME, Maclean’s, The Hollywood Reporter, The Walrus and most of Canada’s daily and alternative newspapers. Mark has interviewed hundreds of celebrities. Since this bio is for a humour course, here are a few of the funnier people he’s interviewed: Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Kurt Vonnegut, Salman Rushdie, Michael Moore, Bill Maher, Terry Gilliam, Sandra Bernhard, Sandra Shamas, and Weird Al.

Website: (Skaana - A Podcast)

Selected Publications

Never Shoot a Stampede Queen

Published by Heritage House


The Killer Whale Who Changed the World

Published by Greystone Books

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