Shane Koyczan

The Opening Ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics introduced the world to Shane Koyczan. And the world took notice when his influential, anti-bullying, To This Day Project video went viral in early 2013 with over 13 million views and counting. Powerfully engaging and authentic in attitude, his explorations are relevant to our times in the way that Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Downie, and Leonard Cohen are to theirs. But unlike the musicians that he’s often compared to, poets rarely infiltrate pop culture. Koyzcan emerges in a new wave of 21st-century poetry that dares to belong to the people and speak directly to them in their own voice.

Shane Koyczan is both a writer and spoken word virtuoso. His first published collection, Visiting Hours, was the only work of poetry selected by both The Guardian and The Globe and Mail for their Best Books of the Year lists in 2005. Destined to become a future classic, Visiting Hours is now in its third edition, and includes We Are More, the powerful and moving poem that defines a nation often too humble to define itself. The piece was performed by Shane at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics. 

Shane followed up on the success of Visiting Hours with Stickboy, a novel in verse that chronicles the dark and lonely journey of a bullied child gripped by helpless rage. He shines a light into the bleak world behind some of the most incomprehensible acts in our culture, and also shows the healing power of love. Written for anyone who has ever been a child, Stickboy continues to be hailed by teachers, academics, and mental health experts alike for its deft handling of the subject of bullying. 

Shane has returned to his roots with a collection of poetry titled, Our Deathbeds Will Be Thirsty, which was released in 2012. This book features the piece To This Day. Since its video release, Shane has presented at TED Talks, where the audience leapt to their feet in applause. Sir Ken Robinson has listed that talk as one of his top ten talks on education. It led to his collaboration with TED Education to create a classroom tool that provides teachers a way to discuss anti-bullying with students. 

Shane also breathes life into the new genre of talk rock with his band the Short Story Long. The band is a quartet whose musical range stretches from folk to funk, from ambient to rock. Winning “Best New Artist” at the BC Interior Music Awards in 2009, as well as Best Spoken Word Album and Best Spoken Word Piece in 2012 for CDBaby’s Just Plain Folk Awards, the band has received standing ovations at festivals across Canada, has sold out in theaters, and is turning heads on the Canadian independent music scene. 

Shane is best known, however, for his award-winning spoken word performances. With his rhythmic verse in high gear, he navigates his audience through social and political territory with a furious honesty and a tender humanity that has brought audiences to their feet in New York, London, Edinburgh, Sydney, and Los Angeles, to name a few. He received five-star reviews for his performance at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the video Instructions for a Bad Day was showcased at the 2012 Vancouver International Film Festival. Winner of the US Slam Poetry Championship and the Canadian Spoken Word Olympics, Shane is truly an extraordinary talent that has blown the dust off of the designation “poet”. 

Shane’s trademark poem, To This Day, attracted the attention of Annick Press, where it has been published as a book targeted at anyone who has been bullied, who has witnessed someone being bullied, or has participated in bullying. Thirty international artists were asked to contribute illustrations, creating a visually arresting as well as powerful book. 

Shane makes his home in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Annick Press books
by Shane Koyczan