Patti Flather is an award-winning Yukon playwright, fiction writer, theatre artist, cultural producer, dramaturg, director, and arts educator. A third-generation Canadian creator of English, Scottish and Irish descent, Patti is a settler who grew up on the unceded, stolen territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam Nations in North Vancouver, B.C. Patti has called the Yukon home for three decades, living with gratitude as an uninvited guest on the territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council – stewards of these lands for millennia, self governing Nations with modern day treaties – in what’s also known as Whitehorse, Yukon.
Patti was fortunate to grow up surrounded by cedar trees and books. She began writing seriously at The Ubyssey student newspaper with an eclectic gang of kindred spirits as “agents of social change” taught by cranky old hacks. Her journalism career took her from Vancouver to Asia, then Canada’s North as a reporter for The Whitehorse Star and CBC. Here she discovered and fell in love with the vibrant Whitehorse arts community, theatre, creative writing, the Yukon and its people. Her acting debut was in an amateur Whitehorse Drama Club production of Romeo & Juliet (Lady Capulet), with a week’s run shuttered due to extreme cold. Patti co-wrote her first play Sixty Below with husband Leonard Linklater, a Vuntut Gwitchin playwright and broadcaster.
Several of Patti’s plays have since been produced in the Yukon and across Canada. Paradise toured nationally and is published with Playwrights Canada Press. A scene is featured in Refractions: Scenes. Her other plays include West Edmonton Mall, Where the River Meets the Sea, Street Signs (formerly The Soul Menders), and the devised work Map of the Land, Map of the Stars, which also toured nationally. Patti’s fiction has appeared in various literary journals. Such A Lovely Afternoon, her first fiction collection, is published in fall 2022 with Inanna Publications.
In 1999 Patti and Leonard co-founded Gwaandak Theatre as an Indigenous-centred, intercultural Yukon theatre company and were Co-Artistic Directors; Patti remained Artistic Director until 2019. The company hit the ground running with a Yukon/Northwest Territories tour of Sixty Below. Plays developed and premiered under her leadership include Yellow on Thursdays by Sara Graefe, Carnaval by Mitch Miyagawa, Café Daughter by Kenneth T. Williams, Justice by Leonard Linklater, Bystander by Wren Brian, Map of the Land, Map of the Stars, Ndoo Tr’eedyaa Gogwaandak – Vuntut Gwitchin Stories, plus other productions including The Unplugging by Yvette Nolan and útszan by Yvonne Wallace. In recognition of their contributions, in 2020 Patti and Leonard were the first recipients of the Borealis Prize: The Commissioner of Yukon Award for Literary Contribution with the BC and Yukon Book Prizes. Gwaandak Theatre continues to be a leader developing and sharing Indigenous and Northern theatre stories.
Patti has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of B.C. and is an alumna of Humber School for Writers. She is a proud member of Playwrights Guild of Canada, The Writers Union of Canada and Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas.
With Reneltta Arluk, Patti co-led (Not) Our Mother Tongue, a Nightswimming Pure Research theatre project. Selected recent dramaturgy: the Dreaming Roots show; Canadian mentor/dramaturg for the CASA Award with a South African playwright; a Writers Union of Canada mentorship; work with Yukon playwrights.
Patti and Leonard were honoured to attend the Caravan Farm Theatre National Playwrights Retreat in 2019 with a new play in development, Treaties. They also were inspired by multilingual playwrights during the Banff Playwrights Lab – Online 2021. During the pandemic Patti created Tomorrow Quilt, a northern audio story quilt. Patti’s short play Helen’s Hangout was among 50+ plays in the 2021 series: Envisioning a Global Green New Deal, with the Arts & Climate Initiative (formerly knowns as Climate Change Theatre Action) Watch for the book in 2023.
As a cultural producer, Patti worked with the Whitehorse 2020 Arctic Winter Games as Manager, Cultural Programs & Ceremonies. She’s on the team for Dreaming Roots, a visionary Yukon Indigenous performing arts legacy project with Yukon First Nations Culture & Tourism, and is equally happy on indie projects including As the Ice Melts: Voices from Kluane. A founding director and current volunteer with Yukon Words, Patti in 2021 co-produced Words Out Loud, their inaugural Yukon words and music series. She also edits the Playwrights Guild of Canada Women’s Caucus newsletter.
Patti loves to be outdoors playing soccer, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, or sitting around a campfire with coffee, fresh bannock cooked in her old cast-iron pan, sharing stories.
Awards & Residencies (Selected)
- Borealis Prize: The Commissioner of Yukon Award for Literary Contribution
- Yukon Heritage Award, Yukon Historical and Museums Association
- Arts Builder Award, with Leonard Linklater, Yukon Arts Centre
- Alderworks Alaska Writers and Artists Retreat, Dyea, Alaska
- Sage Hill Writing Experience, Saskatchewan
- Canadian National Playwriting Competition, Where the River Meets the Sea
- Female Eye Film Festival Script Reading Series; Moondance International Film Festival, Calypso Award, Kiss That Alaska Highway (feature film script)