Derek Hanebury


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About Derek

Derek Hanebury is a Vancouver Island writer of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. His first book of poetry, Nocturnal Tonglen (Ekstasis), was released in 2006. His poems and stories have been published in many magazines and broadcasted on CBC radio; and his first novel, Ginger Goodwin: Beyond the Forbidden Plateau (Arsenal Pulp), went to a second printing. He has a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from UBC and taught writing at North Island College on Vancouver Island until 2017. He currently offers private mentorship and public workshops for writers and is available for readings.


"Derek's collaborative style artfully slides learnings in between explanation and participation, giving lots of "aha" moments to the writer. I have always found the workshops both enlightening and enjoyable!"

-Fran Thiessen

"I have lost count of the number of Creative Writing courses I've taken from Derek—I've even taken two courses twice. Why? Because his Creative Writing classes are the best-kept secret on Vancouver Island. Derek has an amazing talent for drawing out a creative energy in his students they never knew they had."

-Vicki Drybrough


Authors: Derek Hanebury, Vicki Drybrough & Libbie Morin.

Release Date: March 24, 2020 by RCN Media

Pages: 176

Both Sides Now is a thought-provoking collection of short stories by Vancouver Island writers Derek Hanebury, Vicki Drybrough, and Libbie Morin. Ranging in time from the 1950s to the present, these stories will draw the reader in to the world of a boy and his younger brother who struggle to find the perfect gift for their ailing grandfather, a troubled veteran who tries to escape the past by settling in a small community, and a young girl who goes to the circus alone and encounters more than she imagined. From beginning to end, you will enjoy stories that are crafted with empathy and insight to give the reader a satisfying experience.

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Praise for Both Sides Now

"This is a rich varied set of stories. It offers a wide pallet of narrative styles and situations to carry readers more deeply into thoughtful consideration of the world." - Peter Mcguire, Author of The Art of Twelve

"If you are wanting to read a book full of diverse subject matter, incredibly detailed settings and interesting characters, then you will appreciate this compilation as much as I did." ​ - Laura Sturgeon, Author of The Big Ugly Sweater

"A kaleidoscope of human stories, from a little girl alone with a potential predator to a hilarious, disastrous camping trip, from prejudice to compassion, love and friendship to fear and loss." - Shelley Penner



RCN Media Store

Buying books from the RCN Media Store puts more money in the author's pockets and supports local businesses. RCN Media ships to the USA and Canada at cost with no extra fess. It's also the only place to get signed copies of the book at a discount rate, as well as ebooks and audiobooks.



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In Nocturnal Tonglen Derek Hanebury has woven a series of poems around the disappearance of his sister-in-law at the time, Carolyn Pruyser. Carolyn was a 19 year old university student in May of 1984 when her car was found abandoned on the hillside road that leads out of the town of Peace River, Alberta, up towards her parents’ farmhouse. Her body was never found, and no one was ever charged with her abduction despite an intensive search and an extensive investigation.

These poems chronicle the anguish and the healing journey that evolved out of that mysterious event.

At times angry and at times elegiac, the poems confront the dark smoke of suffering that too often underscores our time on this earth; but like the Buddhist practice of tonglen, from which the author takes his title, the poems reveal that consciously breathing in that dark smoke of suffering can open the way to breathing out the white light of love and compassion that makes living worthwhile.

Sample from the book


Breathe in black smoke,

says Genshe; breathe back

white light. In Tibet

we call this tonglen.

Comes from Mother;

comes from compassion

After The Pianist

my snores turn to earth shudders

deep implosions camouflaged

guys carpeting hillsides beaches

strewn with overcoats arms

legs of children air heavy

with smoke and mourning.

Through mortared rubble

strides the dreamer who finds me

naked and locked out

at the change house door.

Have you heard what’s playing

at the theatre? he asks,

his fingers fine as cut keys,

Human Suffering, he says

through ivory white teeth.

Oh, I say wondering how much

more smoke a person

can breathe without


It’s okay, he says.

The movie changes

on the weekend.

What’s coming? I ask

Apocalypse Now?

No, he says,

Star Trek,

and opens the door

to the change house.

Stepping inside I am

bathed in white light and waves

of Rachmaninov.