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Lyn Hancock

Lyn Hancock

Lyn Hancock was born and raised in West Australia, hitchhiked through Africa, taught school in Australia, England and Canada, received several degrees, was saved from further academia by staying in Canada to spend a decade raising seals, raccoons, cougars, bears, apes and sundry other wild orphans which eventually populated the pages of books such as the classic, There's a Seal in My Sleeping Bag, There's A Raccoon in my Parka and now Tabasco the Saucy Racoon. 

For almost all of the next three decades, she wandered alone with a camera, notebook and backpack through the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, recording her experiences in thousands of magazine and newspaper articles and over a dozen books including Winging it in the North. Her passion for winging it while living on the edge continues as she stalks jaguars in the jungles of Belize or tramps through the gorges of the Bungle Bungles in the remote deserts of Australia or paddles her kayak through the dangerous waterways of offshore British Columbia. Her latest adventure is trek and truck overland from Cape Town to Cairo through a dozen countries in Africa. She will be writing a book comparing Africa 2012-2013 with her hitch hiking trip from Cape to Cairo in the 1960's. From Africa she will tour Israel and Jordan (the Holy Land).

She now lives on Nanoose Bay in Lantzville, Vancouver Island where wild animals such as otters, eagles, herons, deer and bears are frequent visitors to her backyard and seals, sealions, salmon and whales linger awhile or pass by. Books continue to be born in her backyard. She lives life with passion and she motivates others to feel the same way.

In the year 2009-2010 Simon Fraser University honoured her with its Outstanding Alumni of the Year Award for her lifelong contributions to Art and Culture, specifically writing, photography and nature education.
Lyn's 20th book was published in 2010.The Ring; Memories of a Metis Grandmother, the pioneer love story of Sam and Jane Livingston, the first settlers in Calgary, Alberta. It's a family history for all ages. But amazingly it begins with Gypsy, an orphan gibbon ape that spent a whole year in Lyn's grade six class. Who would think that Gypsy would lead to the family of two of Lyn's students, asking her to write their family history? The book would be 40 years in production.
Their great grandfather Sam was a charismatic, Irish immigrant, explorer, gold prospector, buffalo hunter, fur trader and early farmer. Their Metis grandmother Jane, rode a Red River cart across the prairies and its rivers at 16. She raised 14 children. Her 14th at the age of 50. She grew vegetables, dried buffalo meat, tanned buffalo hides and decorated clothes and moccasins with beads and porcupine quills.
This book also has a miraculous ending; Sam and Jane's grandson, Sam Livingston III, adopted out at 2, was lost to the family for 64 years. He turned up in the Chemainus area, where he read an earlier version of The Ring called Tell Me Grandmother. The book led him to reunite with his dying sister, who had been searching for her brother all her life. The Ring is written as a conversation between Grandmother Jane and one of her grandsons, the father of Lyn's two students. Lyn hopes that this book will encourage readers to write their own family histories, especially of differing cultures.

Lantzville, BC


There's a Seal in My Sleeping Bag. Toronto: HarperCollins Canada, 1972, 2000
Pacific Wilderness/Wild Islands. Hancock House, 1974
The Mighty Mackenzie. Hancock House, 1974
There's a Raccoon in my Parka. Doubleday, 1977
Love Affair with a Cougar. Doubleday, 1978
Vanderhoof the Town that Wouldn't Wait. Nechako Valley Historical Society, 1979
An Ape Came out of my Hatbox. McClelland and Stewart, 1979
Gypsy in the Classroom. Everest House, 1980
Tell Me, Grandmother. McClelland and Stewart, 1985
Northwest Territories: Canada's Last Frontier. Autumn Images, 1986
Alaska Highway:Road to Adventure. Autumn Images, 1988
Nunavut. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 1995.
Looking for the Wild. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 1996.
Winging It in the North. Lantzville, BC: Oolichan Books, 1996.
Yukon. Lerner Publications, 1996
Northwest Territories. Toronto: Grolier, 1997.
Western Canada Travel Smart. John Muir Publications, 1998
Destination Vancouver: a Port City. Lerner Publications, 1998
Western Canada Travel Smart. Avalon Travel, 2001
Tabasco the Saucy Raccoon. Sono Nis Press, 2006
The Ring; Memories of a Metis Grandmother. Lyn Hancock Books, 2010


Book of the Month Alternate Selection for There's a Seal in My Sleeping Bag, 1972.
Pacific Northwest Bookseller's Award for There's A Seal in my Sleeping Bag, 1973
Francis H. Kortright Conservation Award for Excellence in Outdoor Writing for There's a Raccoon in my Parka, 1978.
American Express Travel Writing Award, 1983 and 1981.
Francis H. Kortright Conservation Award for Excellence in Outdoor Writing for Looking for the Wild, 1987.
Outdoor Writers of Canada, Writing and Photography Awards, 1990, 1991, 1995.
Diamond Willow Award nominee, 2007
Rocky Mountain Book Award nominee, 2007
Simon Fraser University Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award, 2009
Eligible for National Public Readings Program:


Presentation Description

As a teacher, actress, author, and full-time journalist, she uses intriguing slides, unique video clips, original journals, successive drafts, vivid displays, rarely seen artifacts, examples of student stories, poems and art, lively readings, dramatic stories from personal experience and a lot of humour to turn on kids and teachers to love reading and writing, and to appreciate the natural world, differing cultures, Canadian history and the sheer joy of living. Lyn emphasizes wildlife, the environment, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon, British Columbia and Australia, pioneer history and the writing process.

Her presentations: Books Begin in Backyards - from the Idea to the Bookshelf and Beyond, Encounters with Animals, Living in Canada's North, Using Camera Techniques to Improve your Writing and The Ring; Memories of a Metis Grandmother are unforgettable.

In The Ring presentation best suited to intermediate grades and higher, Lyn teachers social studies, language arts and cultural diversity. She makes history come alive and encourages students to write their own histories.

See Lyn in action on her website:, in a video: Lyn Hancock: A Passionate Presentation produced by Simon Fraser University.

A typical testimonial is: I have taught for 30 years and by far this is the most stimulating presentation I have attended. The combination of the slide presentation, your reading of excerpts from your book Tabasco the Saucy Raccoon, as well as your many personal anecdotes made this book come alive. By talking about the steps you follow to write a book, plus the details about your illustrator, the students gained a greater understanding of the tremendous amount of work involved. Wonderful. I felt I HAD to read your books. (Lynda Scott, Bridlewood School, Ottawa, Ontario);

Presentation Length:
60 min to full day.
4 and up
Audience Size:
Workshop Description:

Lyn will customize her presentations to the needs and ages of the audiences inviting her to speak. However, she prefers to combine a lively one-hour presentation of power point images, dramatic readings, story telling and audience participation to a large group of any size followed by a smaller grouping no larger than class size for an intense workshop or as many workshops that can fit into the time allotted.

During this workshop Lyn answers questions, structures answers into a teaching opportunity such as the art of the interview, and encourages students and teachers to start writing stories themselves, using the motivation of her books and the earlier big group presentation. Her methods are highly inspiring and packed with tips for writing and story telling.

Of particular importance is Lyn's emphasis on writing daily journals, using camera techniques, painting pictures with words, telling stories with pictures, and harnessing personal experience to tell riveting stories.

Lyn provides handouts listing activities that can be used in the classroom to enhance language arts and biology. Contact her for a free 10-page booklet, "Some Things to Think About as You Read" - a chapter by chapter accompaniment to her best-selling book Tabasco the Saucy Raccoon. Fees for workshops to be negotiated. Please contact the author.