Jenn Ashton

British Columbia, Canada



Considering herself a writer from the early age of 6, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh First Nation writer and artist Jenn Ashton was first published at age 14 and writes in many genres and forms; from children's books, to newspaper editorials, music magazine columns, course and training materials and academic and literary journals. Currently working on numerous works, Jenn has also just completed a year as a Teaching Assistant in the Simon Fraser University's Writer's Studio, and is studying History at the University of Oxford in 2022/23 and at the University of Edinburgh 2023-25. She was also the Writer in Residence at the British Columbia History Magazine for 2021/22 with her column "Sharing Space: Reclaiming the Indigenous History of BC", and is an Illustrator for the Retrospect History Journal.

Jenn was born and raised in British Columbia's lower mainland and interior. In her youth, Jenn began travelling and lived throughout Canada and the US, before coming back to settle in the lower mainland in the mid-80s. She attended Simon Fraser University as a mature student, while she homeschooled her daughter and completed a five year volunteer term for the Canadian Red Cross. For the next 2 decades Jenn worked, volunteered and researched, continuing her education at SFU and Harvard while working in the non-profit sector at the management level. After a further decade in the music industry, Jenn began working as a professional visual artist in North Vancouver in 2015, drawing on a lifetime of adventure, which is now also reflected in her writing and film work.

Jenn is a member of The Writers Union of Canada, The Creative Nonfiction Collective Society, The North Shore Authors Collection, Access Copyright, The Indigenous Literary Studies Association, The Indigenous Editors Association, The British Association for Local History, The Society for One-Place Studies, The Vancouver Post Alliance and a past Director of The Federation of British Columbia Writers. Jenn is an Authenticity Reader for Penguin/RandomHouse U.S.A., and has recently completed work for David Grann on Killers of the Flower Moon, and work for Knopf Doubleday, The Royal Society of Chemistry, Sasquatch Books, Cengage Canada, the Peel (PAMA) Museum and Archive and The Royal British Columbia Museum.

Jenn Ashton is Mentored by: Stella Harvey, Doreen Manuel, Roxann Whitebean and Shaelyn Johnston, and is herself, a Mentor to Indigenous writers.
Committee Memberships: Director of Congress, Oxford University International Students Campaign
Student Representative, Student - Staff Committee, Oxford Department for Continuing Education
Student Representative, The Committee on Library Provision, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford.
Ambassador: University of Edinburgh


"As a full time artist and writer, I love experimenting with new substrates and tools along with my traditional ancestral methods, and working on projects where I can combine my writing with my visual story-telling.

In my spare time I enjoy transcribing historical documents for the Royal BC Museum as well as the City Of Vancouver Archives.

I love reading and movies, music and Rat Terriers, a hot bath on a cold night and offering up cakey sacrifices to my air conditioner in the summer."


University of Edinburgh

OXFORD University
ADL History

Women In Film and Television Vancouver
National Tricksters and Writers Screenwriting Program

Wise Practices in Indigenous Leadership

Leading Learning Module / Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership (CAEL)

M̓i tel'nexw Leadership Society
Squamish M̓i tel'nexw Leadership Transformation

Simon Fraser University
The Writer's Studio (TWS19)

Harvard & The Derek Bok Center for Teaching & Learning
Computer Science / Higher Education Teaching Certificate

Simon Fraser University
Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology / Criminology

Selected Publications

Ashton, J, "All of the Gore and None of the Glory: Canada's Indigenous Veterans" The Retrospect History Journal Anthology (TBA 2024)

Ashton, J, "Cold Mountain" The Solitary Daisy Issue 20 (February 2024)

Hammond,​ O’Connor​, Piché, Whitney, Rolfes (Ashton, J. Indigenous Content) "Understanding Nutrition, 3rd Edition" Cengage (2024)

Wilson (Ashton, J. Indigenous Content) "Partnerships: Families and Communities in Early Childhood, 7th Edition" Cengage (2024)

Ashton, J, "Physicks, Midwifes, Wise Women and Witches: The Role of Women in Medicine London: 1550-1640." The Local Historian (Fall 2024)

Ashton, J, "Mr. Bruce's Broom Closet (The Diviner)" Chapter House Journal (Winter 24)

Ashton, J, "Autumn Deepens" The Solitary Daisy Issue 15 (November 2023)

Ashton, J, "R is for Red" When You Ask Me Who I Am Chapbook, League of Canadian Poets (Nov 2023)

Ashton, J, "Dandilion Seed" The Solitary Daisy Issue 11 (September 2023)

Ashton, J, "Discovering X̱wáýx̱way" Destinations 10th Anniversary Issue, The Journal of The Society for One Place Studies (Fall 2023)

Ashton, J, "The Invisible Line" The Solitary Daisy Issue 8 (July 2023)

Ashton, J, "Discourse on Guimi You's Watering": Edgar Wind Art Writing Prize Anthology (TT23)

Ashton, J, "rewilding" Your Choices: Community and Identity Bodleian Libraries Student Writing Competition Zine (TT23)

Ashton, J, "Qualifying Hymns" subTerrain Issue #94 (2023)

Ashton, J, "Good Dog" The Isis Magazine (tba)

Ashton, J, "The Vanishing" The Good Life Review (April 2023)

Ashton, J, "Us-ness" British Columbia History Magazine 55.4 (Winter 2022)

Ashton, J, "Indigenous Harm Reduction Colouring Book" Ed. Angel Gunn, Vancouver Coastal Region, First Nations Health Authority (2022)

Ashton, J, "Indigeneity: Who Decides?" British Columbia History Magazine 55.3 (Fall 2022)

Ashton, J, "Making Good Medicine: An Interview with Beader Valerie Davidson" Digits & Threads: Canadian Fibre & Textile Arts Magazine (June 2022)

Ashton, J, "In the Round" Anglican Journal (September 2022)

Ashton, J, "Kafka's Writing Group" (reprint) Miramichi Flash (Fall 2022)

Ashton, J, "Food for Thought" British Columbia History Magazine 55.2 (Summer 2022)

Ashton, J, "The Dixie Cup Font" Anglican Journal (April 2022)

Ashton, J, "States of Matter" British Columbia History Magazine 55.1 (Spring 2022)

Ashton, J, "Flatland" Worth More Standing Anthology, Ed. Christine Lowther, Caitlin Press (Spring 2022)

Ashton, J, "House of Mirrors" British Columbia History Magazine 54.4 (Winter 2021)

Ashton, J, "Yes, We Remember" British Columbia History Magazine 54.3 (Fall 2021)

Ashton, J, "In The Bentwood Box" (reprint) Healing Across Generations, Living Hyphen Issue 2, Vol 2 (October 2022)

Ashton, J, "I Hear Celestine Cry" ¡HASTINGS! Journal Vol 2 (Summer 2021)

Ashton, J, "Mind the Gap: A Gassy Jack Story" British Columbia History Magazine 54.2 (Summer 2021)

Ashton, J, "The Purser's Dilemma" British Columbia History Magazine 54.1 (Spring 2021)

Ashton, J, "Still" (reprint) WordCity Monthly, Issue #3 (Nov 2020)

Ashton, J, "Kafka's Writing Group" Five South Literary Journal Issue #1, (Fall 2020)

Ashton, J, Lister, A, "Balancing History. Warp, Weft, Weave: Joining Generations Study Guide" (Summer 2020)

Ashton, J, "Warp, Weft, Weave", British Columbia History Magazine (September 2020)

Ashton, J, "People Like Frank and other Stories from the Edge of Normal", Tidewater Press (October, 2020)

Barman, J and Barman, R and Ashton, J, "North Valparaiso" Parallels 02, Polygon Gallery, (Summer 2020)

Ashton, J, "The Bag and I", Funny Pearls UK (Spring, 2020)

Ashton, J, "We", Everyday Fiction (Spring, 2020)

Ashton, J, "Still", NUNUM (Spring, 2020)

Ashton, J, "Flatland", Wordworks, British Columbia's Magazine for Writers (Winter, 2020)

Ashton, J, "The Placement of my Heart", " The Awkwardness of Bill Hayden", The Baram House (February 2020)

Ashton, J, "Cheat", Trampset Literary Journal (Winter, 2019)

Ashton, J, "Jolly Me", "Morning Sky", Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal (Issue 2 Winter, 2019)

Ashton, J, "Branches", "Eco Printing on Paper", "Pudge", Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal (Issue 1, Fall 2019)

Ashton, J, "Siamelaht", British Columbia History Magazine 52.4 (Winter 2019)

Ashton, J, "On the Importance of a Deadline", Medium (July 2019)

Ashton, J, "Flatland", Fire From The Heart Chapbook, Three Oceans Press (2019)

Ashton, J, "Inside a Ring of Owls", Dreamer's Creative Writing Magazine 2nd Print Anthology (2020)

Ashton, J, "Inside Ring of Owls", Dreamer's Creative Writing Magazine Online (July 2019)

Ashton, J, "The Loving Gift", Emerge 19, Simon Fraser University Literary Journal (October 2019)

Event: Arising - Liberte Conquerante / Growing Freedom. The Instructions of Yoko Ono and the Art of John and Yoko. FONDATION PHI POUR L’ART CONTEMPORAIN, Montreal, Quebec. Contributor, words and art. (April - September 2019)

Ashton, J, "Sad Ashton", DIS(S)ENT, in/Words Magazine and Press Ed George Elliott Clarke and Sanita Fejzic (2018)

Ashton, J, "Inside the Bentwood Box", ROOM Magazine, Family Secrets Issue 41.1 Ed Rachel Thompson (2018)

Ashton, J, Issue 1: "Brownstones", Issue 2: "All The Dreams I've Had About Bears", Issue 3: "A Puddle Of Words For You To Jump In", Issue 4: "Lists". Vancouver Public Library ZINE Collection. (2018)

Ashton, J and A. Cifuentes, "The Lines I Make: Promoting Your Art In The Digital Age, A Primer for New and Emerging Artists", ISBN#9781483561141 (2015) Content Creator and Writer 2011-2016

Ashton, J, "The Tale Of Donkey Otey", ISBN-13: 978-1631927034 (2015)

Ashton, J and Bouzyte, E, "The Great Oak Joke" ISBN-13: 9781483544144 (2014)

Ashton, J, "Mobile Educational Multimedia Studio TechKno Camp Instructor's and Student Manuals and Course Materials", MEMa Studio Annual Internal Publication (2011- 2015)

Ashton, J, "Memoirs of Matti Hopia: 1948–1951", Part 1 Siirtolaisuus – Migration 2/2009 36. vuosikerta / 36th year ISSN 0355-3779 Julkaisija /Publisher Siirtolaisuusinstituutti Migrationsinstitutet The Institute of Migration Eerikinkatu 34, 20100 Turku, Finland. (2009)

Ashton, J, "Memoirs of Matti Hopia: 1948–1951", Part 2 Siirtolaisuus – Migration 3/2009 36. vuosikerta / 36th year ISSN 0355-3779 Julkaisija /Publisher Siirtolaisuusinstituutti Migrationsinstitutet The Institute of Migration Eerikinkatu 34, 20100 Turku, Finland. (2009)

Ashton, J, "Memoirs of Matti Hopia: 1948–1951", Part 3 Siirtolaisuus – Migration 4/2009 36. vuosikerta / 36th year ISSN 0355-3779 Julkaisija /Publisher Siirtolaisuusinstituutti Migrationsinstitutet The Institute of Migration Eerikinkatu 34, 20100 Turku, Finland. (2009)

BC Musicians Magazine 2007 - 2009 Interviews and Features

Gonzo Magazine 2009-2010 Interviews and Features

North By Northeast 2005 - 2010 Interviews and Features 2008 - Present, Art & Music Blog (2007-2010)

Ashton, J, "Health and Safety Protocols: Policy and Training Manual", for Cameray Centre Internal Publication (2003)

Gordon, R "Incarcerated Gang Members in British Columbia: A Preliminary Study", A Working Document. Department of Justice, Canada, WD1994-13e (1994)

Ashton, J - "Pulmonary Sarcoidosis Presentation" Medicine North America (1993)

Ashton, J, Guest Columnist - The Courtney/Comox Valley Free Press (1985)

Ashton, J, Poetry and Reviews - The Salmon Arm Observer (1979 - 1984)


  • Winner, Indigenous Voices Award for Unpublished Prose (2024) for "Hungry".
  • Finalist, 2024 National Magazine Awards, Personal Journalism category for "Qualifying Hymns".
  • Award of Merit, Canada Shorts - Canadian & International Short Film Festival (2023) For Spoken Word Film: "What the Dirt Don't Like"
  • National Indian Brotherhood (Future Generations Foundation) Trust Fund Scholarship (2023/24)
  • Finalist, Life Screenings One Minute Short Film Festival(2023) For Spoken Word Film: "What the Dirt Don't Like"
  • Indspire's Building Brighter Futures Scholarship (2022/23, 2023/24)
  • Finalist, Vancouver Island Short Film Festival (2023) For Spoken Word Film: "What the Dirt Don't Like"
  • Honourable Mention, Subterrain Magazine, Lush Triumphant Literary Award for Nonfiction (2022) For "Qualifying Hymns"
  • Longlist: Susan Crean Award for Nonfiction(2022) For "100 Better Days"
  • British Columbia Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, Full Scholarship, Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) (2022, 2023, 2024)
  • Shortlist: Indigenous Voices Award for Unpublished Prose in English (2022) For "Hail Mary, Mother of Pearl"
  • 1st Place - Doula Support Foundation’s Birth Story Contest (2021)
  • Suncor Energy Foundation, Full Scholarship, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Wise Practices in Indigenous Leadership (2021)
  • Shortlist: Indigenous Voices Award for Published Prose in English (2021) For "People Like Frank and Other Stories from the Edge of Normal" (Tidewater 2020)
  • Arts on the North Shore (FANS) 25th Grant Program – At Home with Artists Grant (2020)
  • Dystonia Medical Research Foundation Canada, Jackson Mooney Grant (2020)
  • British Columbia Historical Federation Honourable Mention for 2019 Anne and Philip Yandle Best Article Award "Siamelaht" volume 52 number 4, Winter 2019 (2020)
  • Kanturk Arts Festivals’ Flash Fiction Long List, Ireland (2020)
  • Canada Council Creating, Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples Small-Scale Activities Grant (2020)
  • 1st Place - Muriel's Journey Poetry Prize (2019)
  • Jericho Writer's Flash Contest, UK (2019)
  • Friends of the British Columbia Archives Indigenous Research Grant (2019)
  • 3rd Place - 'Letters To June' Voices of Motherhood (2016)
  • 2nd Place - The Courtney/Comox Valley Free Press Short Story Contest (1985)

Thank you to all of the Elders and my family past and present,
sources and friends who have helped me on my journey.

I gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts

Responsive image

Photo Courtesy of Rennie Brown