Kwantlen instructor’s novel made into The Riverbank film

Thu, Nov 8, 2012

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) creative writing instructor, Genni Gunn, has had her novel,Tracing Iris, made into a film. Filming began in Greater Sudbury, Ontario, in October 2011, and wrapped up in November 2011. The film of Gunn's book, Tracing Iris, premiered and opened the Sudbury International Film Festival this fall, and is titled The Riverbank.

“I had the opportunity to be on set for two days, and it was amazing to see characters I’d created come to life,” said Gunn. “I think the actors are perfectly suited for the roles, and although the film is a much simpler version of the book, it still retains the very important relationship between a father and daughter, and explores issues of abandonment.”

The Riverbank, whose screenplay was written by Graham Ludlow, stars Kari Matchett (Gemini award winner, and two-time nominee) and Kenneth Welsh (recipient of four Gemini awards, one Genie award, and six nominations). The story follows Kate Mason, a thirty-something social anthropologist returning to the emotional crime scene she reluctantly calls home. While Kate mercilessly unearths the remnants of a life littered with evidence of abandonment, lies and loss, she also unravels the coil that binds her to Iris, the mother she never knew.

Gunn has been a half-time faculty member in Kwantlen’s creative writing department for over 20 years, teaching poetry, fiction and screenwriting courses. Gunn is an author, musician and translator. She has published nine books: three novels—Solitaria –nominated for the Giller Prize 2011, Tracing Iris and Thrice Upon a Time; two short story collections—Hungers and On The Road;two poetry collections— Faceless and Mating in Captivity. Her works have been finalists for the CBC Literary Awards in all three categories: fiction, personal essay and poetry; the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Thrice Upon a Time; the Gerald Lampert Award for poetry collection Mating In Captivity; the Premio Internazionale Diego Valeri for literary translation for poetry collection Traveling in the Gait of a Fox; and the John Glassco Translation Prize for poetry collection Devour Me Too. She has received two Praxis Film Development Fellowships for her screenplays.

Kwantlen’s creative writing department offers courses at the Surrey, Langley, and Richmond campuses. The BA, creative writing major, builds on the successful creative writing minor by providing students looking for a dynamic, relevant and interdisciplinary education with the opportunity to complete a full degree in a foundational and vital subject – writing. For more information please visit:

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for 30 years, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts and science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 17,500 students annually have a choice from over 200 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations.


For more information about KPU, contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
Tel: 604.599.2883

For more KPU news: