Elizabeth Stewart

Elizabeth Stewart was born in Hamilton, Ontario, and now lives in Vancouver, B.C., where she and her husband raised their two daughters. Having started her career as a researcher and producer at CBC-TV current affairs in Toronto, she made the switch to dramatic screenwriting at about the same time she moved to the West Coast.

Living beside the Pacific Ocean proved conducive to Elizabeth’s newfound avocation for writing fiction for the screen. She has written for several award-winning TV series, focusing on programs for children and youth. She is the recipient of two Writers Guild of Canada Top Ten Awards, one for the YTV “tween” mystery series The Adventures of Shirley Holmes, and the other for Guinevere Jones, a 26-episode action-adventure series for teens that she created, wrote and executive produced. Elizabeth’s work has taken her across Canada and to the U.S., U.K., and Australia, where Guinevere Jones was produced.

More recently, Elizabeth has shifted her professional focus to writing feature films and movies for television. Her screen credits include the CTV movies of the week Tagged: The Jonathan Wamback Story, an examination of teen violence based on a true incident, and Luna: Spirit of the Whale, again based on a true story, this time the arrival of a stray killer whale in Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island. Luna chronicles the whale’s transformational effect on a local First Nation, whose members believe that Luna is the spiritual embodiment of their late chief. Both of these films were nominated for Gemini Awards.

Based on her experience writing on a First Nations theme for Luna, Elizabeth was approached by Annick Press in early 2011 with a unique opportunity to write about a travesty that took place in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia in 1884. A 14-year-old First Nation boy was unjustly accused of murder by an American lynch mob, and summarily executed on Canadian soil. Cursory examination of the facts makes it plain that the real murderer was one of the leaders of the lynch mob, who succeeded in his plan to frame Louie Sam. It was not until 2006 that Washington State acknowledged this truth and officially apologized to the Stó:l? Nation for the unlawful death of one of their young people.

As she developed her ideas and decided to tell the story from the point of view of a 15-year-old white boy who accompanied the lynch mob, Elizabeth found her comfort level better suited to a more fictionalized approach that allowed her to fill in some gaps and flesh out the characters, while still remaining true to the facts of the incident. The result is the based-on-a-true-story YA novel, The Lynching of Louie Sam (2012). The Lynching of Louie Sam has won multiple awards, including the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction, the John Spray Mystery Award, a 2013 Skipping Stones Honor Award, and was named a 2013 Notable Book for a Global Society. Elizabeth introduces and shares some of the backstory for creating The Lynching of Louie Samclick here

Elizabeth’s latest book, Blue Gold (Spring 2014), is an ambitious novel that interweaves the story of three girls on three continents whose lives are changed forever by the world’s increasing appetite for electronics.

Elizabeth continues to write for television and film, and is active in the screenwriting community as a mentor and instructor.

Annick Press books
by Elizabeth Stewart