John Yunker

John Yunker

John Yunker is a writer of plays, short stories and novels focused on human/animal relationships.

His full-length play Meat the Parents was a finalist in the 2014 Centre Stage New Play Festival (South Carolina) and semi-finalist in the 2015 AACT new play contest. Species of Least Concern was a finalist in the 2016 Mountain Playhouse Comedy Festival.

His one-act play, Little Red...
John Yunker is a writer of plays, short stories and novels focused on human/animal relationships.

His full-length play Meat the Parents was a finalist in the 2014 Centre Stage New Play Festival (South Carolina) and semi-finalist in the 2015 AACT new play contest. Species of Least Concern was a finalist in the 2016 Mountain Playhouse Comedy Festival.

His one-act play, Little Red House, was published in the literary journal Mason's Road, and produced in August 2014 by the Studio Players Theatre in Lexington, Kentucky. Another one-act play, The Sales Rank Also Rises, has been produced as part of the Source Festival in Washington DC and by the Oregon Contemporary Theater.

In 2017, the short play Of Mice and Marines was workshopped and given a staged reading at the ATHE (Association for Theatre in Higher Education) conference in Las Vegas.

John is author of the novel "The Tourist Trail" (www.thetouristtrail.com) and the forthcoming sequel "Where Oceans Hide Their Dead." He is also editor of the anthologies "Among Animals: The Lives of Animals and Humans in Contemporary Short Fiction" and "Writing for Animals." He is co-founder of Ashland Creek Press (www.ashlandcreekpress.com), an independent press devoted to environmental and animal rights literature.

Plays

  • Species of Least Concern
    On the historic day that entomologist WAYNE HATFIELD discovers a bumble bee widely believed to be extinct, he is run over by a reckless mountain biker high above the hills of Ashland, Oregon. The absence of proof of the bee sighting drives WAYNE back up the mountain as his frustrated wife, NANCY, a science writer, is courted by their new (and newly divorced) neighbor DAN, a young retiree and startup publisher....
    On the historic day that entomologist WAYNE HATFIELD discovers a bumble bee widely believed to be extinct, he is run over by a reckless mountain biker high above the hills of Ashland, Oregon. The absence of proof of the bee sighting drives WAYNE back up the mountain as his frustrated wife, NANCY, a science writer, is courted by their new (and newly divorced) neighbor DAN, a young retiree and startup publisher.

    Meanwhile, someone has begun laying traps along the hiking trails, injuring bikers and making WAYNE (who believes that bikers threaten bee colonies) a prime suspect. BRADY, an injured biker, and ETHAN, a local reporter eager for a big story, conspire to elicit a confession out of WAYNE.

    When DAN offers to publish NANCY’s next book, we learn that NANCY and WAYNE are still grieving their late daughter, whom WAYNE believes speaks to him on the mountain. As WAYNE’s mental health weakens and the bikers’ case against him strengthens, WAYNE retreats yet again to the mountain, where tragedy and the truth converge. SPECIES OF LEAST CONCERN tackles issues of conservation and extinction, and what it means to be among those left behind.

    FINALIST: 2016 Source Festival
  • Paleo
    Two couples, separated by 12,000 years, fall apart and come together thanks to a time-traveling watch, the paleo diet, and not-so-natural selection.

    Synopsis:
    Stacey, inspired by her recent trip to an animal sanctuary with her fiancé Greg (who was too cheap to take her to the zoo), has embraced veganism. Greg, who is on the paleo diet, does not share Stacey’s passions. He’s also a software...
    Two couples, separated by 12,000 years, fall apart and come together thanks to a time-traveling watch, the paleo diet, and not-so-natural selection.

    Synopsis:
    Stacey, inspired by her recent trip to an animal sanctuary with her fiancé Greg (who was too cheap to take her to the zoo), has embraced veganism. Greg, who is on the paleo diet, does not share Stacey’s passions. He’s also a software developer and recently invented Stella — a time-traveling app for his smartwatch which has suddenly become his new significant other.

    After an argument over Greg conveniently missing Stacey’s meals (which he blames on Stella), Stacy secretly asks Stella to take her back to the day she met Greg, thinking she can convert him to veganism if he had only met her that way.
    To her surprise, Stacey is taken to the Paleolithic era, where she is captured by Nag, the bride-to-be of Grog, the son of the tribe’s leader, Nog. Grog has been trying in vain to convert his tribe to vegetable farming, a new invention in response to the dire overhunting of wooly mammoths. Grog and Stacey are kindred spirits.

    Meanwhile, Greg has acquired a new watch with a new (albeit snarkier) version of Stella — she’s still in beta, after all. He sets off in search of Stacey and soon finds himself captured by Nag, whom he finds exotically exhilarating. When Greg reconnects with Stacey, she refuses to return with him, having fallen for Grog. She throws her watch into a tar pit to prove her intentions.

    Desperate, Greg returns to that fateful day with Stacey at the animal sanctuary and instead takes her to the zoo in hopes of a different outcome. After his hopes are dashed, he returns to the cave and abducts Stacey back to the present. Both he and Stacey are surprised when Grog shows up, having rescued Stella from the tar pit — and as he and Stacey begin their future, Greg returns to the past, where Nag awaits him.
  • Meat the Parents
    BONNIE, a high school senior and carnivore trapped within a family of vegans, is dreading the return from college of her older, better-loved sister RACHEL and the new boyfriend GREG. To disrupt the first family dinner, BONNIE invites her new boyfriend WYATT, a football player and voracious meat-eater.

    Bonnie has her suspicions about GREG, as he claims to be both vegan and from Texas. And ADAM,...
    BONNIE, a high school senior and carnivore trapped within a family of vegans, is dreading the return from college of her older, better-loved sister RACHEL and the new boyfriend GREG. To disrupt the first family dinner, BONNIE invites her new boyfriend WYATT, a football player and voracious meat-eater.

    Bonnie has her suspicions about GREG, as he claims to be both vegan and from Texas. And ADAM, Rachel’s ex-boyfriend and animal rights activist, has his suspicions as well. These suspicions are confirmed when we discover that GREG is snooping for information on NATHAN’s animal rights organization.

    When NATHAN takes GREG and RACHEL to a protest of Midwest Poultry & Sons, he ends up arrested, and DEBORAH finds herself not only bailing him out yet again but at the end of her emotional rope. Meanwhile, BONNIE, seeking attention in the most obnoxious of ways, has GREG worried that RACHEL might be pregnant.

    When their home is terrorized by defenders of Midwest Poultry, the family unites. ADAM outs GREG as an insider working for his stepdad – the owner of Midwest Poultry – but GREG’s growing appreciation for animals helps RACHEL forgive him. And BONNIE, the lone family rebel, discovers that WYATT is now embracing a tofu-based diet.
  • Of Mice and Marines
    When a Marine unwittingly takes a photograph of an endangered species of mouse, a battle is set in motion between the military and environmentalists along the coastal sand dunes of Southern California. This play was inspired by a true story of the endangered Pacific Pocket Mouse and the United States Marines at Camp Pendleton, California.
  • Veganish
    JESSICA has been trying in vain to convert her boyfriend ADAM to veganism. When they happen upon a vegan celebrity at a restaurant JESSICA begins to doubt her screen idol’s commitment to the lifestyle, forcing her to choose between a life of truth and a life of doubt.
  • Sanctuary
    RICHARD and LISA have retired early to a small Oregon town with the hope of reinventing themselves. But an injured pet, a rat in the attic, and LISA’s newfound veganism are getting in the way of happily ever after.
    LISA offers their guest studio to her new animal-activist friend MEG and decides to celebrate Thanksgiving sans turkey. RICHARD, in the hopes of forcing LISA to capitulate, invites their...
    RICHARD and LISA have retired early to a small Oregon town with the hope of reinventing themselves. But an injured pet, a rat in the attic, and LISA’s newfound veganism are getting in the way of happily ever after.
    LISA offers their guest studio to her new animal-activist friend MEG and decides to celebrate Thanksgiving sans turkey. RICHARD, in the hopes of forcing LISA to capitulate, invites their exterminator CHARLEY to Thanksgiving dinner. Tensions over food, animals, and LISA’s accidental killing of a neighborhood squirrel push her over the edge, and she attempts suicide.
    At the hospital, LISA asks RICHARD to move out of the house and into the studio. MEG ends up living with LISA. RICHARD tries unsuccessfully to “undo” everything by conjuring up the dead squirrel. In his exile, he realizes he needs to move forward—and evolve—if he hopes to win his wife back. MEG, sensing her time with the couple is coming to end, moves on.
  • The Sales Rank Also Rises
    Two authors, a husband and wife, and how their Amazon.com sales ranks take over their lives.

    Here's the artistic statement I wrote about it:
    To be an author in the age of Amazon.com is to know one’s sales rank. To be unhealthily obsessed with this number. Now we know not only that we’re not popular but exactly how unpopular. Changes in technology reflect changes in society, in which...
    Two authors, a husband and wife, and how their Amazon.com sales ranks take over their lives.

    Here's the artistic statement I wrote about it:
    To be an author in the age of Amazon.com is to know one’s sales rank. To be unhealthily obsessed with this number. Now we know not only that we’re not popular but exactly how unpopular. Changes in technology reflect changes in society, in which we measure everything—miles walked, calories burned, number of friends, likes, retweets. In a world in which everything is measured, how do we look beyond numbers to what matters most?
  • Hunters & Gatherers
    When Tina announces to her family that she’s turned vegan, she is met with confusion, resistance and ridicule. Ten thousand years earlier, a similar family dynamic takes place as Tig tries to convince her tribe to give up hunting in favor of farming. Back in the present, Tina introduces her family to a vegan meal, with more resistance, but room for optimism.
  • Little Red House
    Thrown together by circumstance (the circumstance being, they were thrown out of an establishment), three outcasts bond in shared experience, come to terms with human nature, and make plans for a final journey...or a final stand.