Kim Senklip Harvey

Kim Senklip Harvey
Kim Senklip Harvey

Category: Emerging Alumni Awards

Name: Kim Senklip Harvey

UVic degree and year: Master of Fine Arts in Writing, 2021            

Current hometown: Coast Salish Territories            

Birthplace: Syilx Nation

Kim Senklip Harvey is a proud Syilx and Tsilhqot’in director, writer and actor who is known for her ability to craft powerful stories that inspire, nourish and delight. In 2018, her play Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story had a three-city world premiere and won the 2019 Jessie Richardson Award for Significant Artistic Achievement, Best Production and the Sydney J. Risk Prize for Outstanding Original Play. Senklip Harvey and the Fire Company were also the recipients of the 2020 Governor General Literary Award for Drama. Senklip Harvey is currently developing three television series, working on her first book of prose and earning her PhD in Law at UVic. Senklip Harvey believes that storytelling is the most compelling medium to move us to a place where everyone is provided the opportunity to live peacefully.

Q: What was the moment you realized your career calling?

KSH: When I was cast as a shepherd in my preschool holiday production and knew I needed to write better roles for myself.

Q: Many people are not following one career for life. What other work might interest you in the future, even as a hypothetical?

KSH: My work as a storyteller and cultural guardian for my people traverses many sectors. I’ve worked in child welfare, community engagement, served tables and to make pocket money in my undergrad I’d give people haircuts. For me, the opportunity to listen to other people’s stories and help ignite their power happens everywhere.

Q: What is a favourite book you read in the last five years and why?

KSH: The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein. This book blew open what I thought intersectional writing could be. To hear a Black Queer scientist speak to her journey in a white cis male dominated field, inspired and nourished me in a profound way. Chanda is a remarkable thinker and storyteller and since stories and space are my fave things, this was a book I could never have dreamt into existence, and I’m so glad it is.

Q: What is a movie or television show that always makes you laugh?

KSH: Bridesmaids. ’Nuff said.

Q: What is your advice to younger people entering your line of work or who feel lost or confused about their future?

KSH: Live life robustly and often. Thrust yourself into it courageously, safely and generously and learn and practice deep listening often.

Q: What’s a part of your daily routine that you can’t do without? Do you have a mantra that you can share?

I meditate at least 30 minutes a day and workout six days a week. I was a high-level athlete, and I took that training into my artistic practice. My mind, body and spirit have to be in good relations for the work to happen.

I guess my mantra is–engage with life on all spheres. Courageous with your actions and in humbly service to your peoples and the awesome nature of Nenquay/the universe.

Q: The pandemic has come with lessons for many of us. What is something you learned that you will carry forward with you?

KSH: Solitude teaches us how we can uniquely engage with others. If we learn to love being alone without being ‘lonely’ we will be able to capture the astounding complexities of life in many relations. 

Q: How did UVic, or your faculty specifically, shape you as a person? What is the best advice a mentor has given you?

KSH: [UVic Writing chair] Kevin Kerr is one of the most generous and kind human beings I have ever met in the whole world. His act of beingness has taught me that to be a great writer and artistic leader you do not have to be an asshole. You can be a benevolent person and an extraordinary artist. In the early stages of the pandemic when the world was so chaotic and scary, he told me that in trying times we have a responsibility to write. He grounded me, helped me dig my heels in and produce one of the hardest pieces of work I probably will ever write. His belief in me is a gift and teaching I will cherish with me until I die. 

Q: What do you hope you and your work will ultimately contribute toward a better future for people and the planet?

KSH: My work is in deep service to my peoples. I say my stories are a place of respite for their trying lives and if I make them laugh once or momentarily nourish their spirits I’ve done my job. I hope my continued work supports the next generation in the ongoing practice of making a more equitable and peaceful future.


For the full list of 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, click here.