“Mark Leiren-Young, who has a background in pretty much everything — journalism, television, comedy, theatre and film — is without a doubt one of the most talented, multi-disciplinary voices in Canada.” – National Post
MARK LEIREN-YOUNG is a screenwriter, filmmaker, author, playwright, performer, environmentalist and educator.
Mark consulted on and wrote The Royal BC Museum’s recent exhibit: Orcas: Our Shared Future – which is touring the world for the next ten years.
His latest books: Sharks Forever: The Mystery and History of the Planet’s Perfect Predator and Big Sharks, Small World are being released by Orca Book Publishers this fall.
He has written three books about whales for Orca – the all ages book Orcas Everywhere (winner of the 2020 City of Victoria Children’s Book Award); Orcas of the Salish Sea and Big Whales, Small World.
He directed and wrote The Hundred-Year-Old Whale, a documentary about the matriarch of the southern resident orcas that won the 2018 Writers Guild of Canada Award for Documentary.
He also hosts the popular environmental podcast Skaana, where he interviews scientists, environmentalists, and other experts about orcas, oceans, eco-ethics and the environment.
Mark directed, wrote and produced the award-winning feature film, The Green Chain, starring Tricia Helfer, August Schellenberg, Scott McNeil and Brendan Fletcher.
He wrote and co-starred in the EarthVision award-winning TV special Greenpieces: The World’s First Eco-Comedy, featuring his comedy duo Local Anxiety.
Mark’s book about Moby Doll: The Killer Whale Who Changed the World won the 2016 Science Writers and Communicators Award and was published by Greystone in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation.
His radio documentary for CBC’s Ideas Moby Doll: The Killer Whale that Changed the World received a Webster Award for “Best Radio Documentary.”
He is in post-production on a feature documentary version of Killer Whale Who Changed the World – that he’s writing and directing – for Middle Child Films.
Mark is the author of two comic memoirs Free Magic Secrets Revealed (Harbour) and Never Shoot a Stampede Queen — A Rookie Reporter in the Cariboo (Heritage), which won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. A stage version of Stampede Queen (adapted by Mark) premiered at Western Canada Theatre and starred Ryan Beil as Mark.
Mark’s other books include The Green Chain: Nothing is Ever Clear Cut (Heritage), a collection of interviews dealing with the future of our forests and This Crazy Time (Knopf) written with/about controversial environmentalist, Tzeporah Berman.
As a playwright, Mark’s latest comedy, Bar Mitzvah Boy, debuted in 2018 at Pacific Theatre in Vancouver. The US premiere was at the Chester Theatre in Mass. The play has also been produced in Toronto, Los Angeles and New York.
A Czech translation of his play, Shylock (starring Milan Knazko), just finished a three year run in repertory in Prague and was filmed for Czech TV.
His plays have been produced throughout North America and also staged in Europe and Australia. Shylock has been translated into French, Czech and Dutch. Shylock and Articles of Faith are published by Anvil Press.
As a journalist, Mark has written for TIME, Maclean’s, The Hollywood Reporter, The Walrus and most of Canada’s daily newspapers. Mark has interviewed hundreds of celebrities ranging from William Shatner to Salman Rushdie.
Mark has been an adjunct professor at The University of Victoria’s Writing Department since being brought to the university as the Harvey Southam Fellow in 2015. Classes he has created at UVic include comedy writing and courses that teach storytelling and screenwriting principles through the prism of the DC and Marvel universes.