March 1, 2019

Jamie Chai Yun Liew the winner of the 2018 Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Writers Award for fiction

The Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop is pleased to announce Jamie Chai Yun Liew the winner of the 2018 Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Writers Award for fiction. Her manuscript DANDELION ROOTS revolves around one Chinese family in a small mining town in British Columbia struggling to fit in the Canadian Chinese community, revealing class struggles, discrimination, and questions of belonging for Chinese people that don’t speak or resemble the majority Chinese. Telling the untold story about conflict and diversity within Canadian Chinese communities, Liew's elegant prose and storytelling evoke a "literary reflection of Canadian migration, identity, and statelessness."

The Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Writers Award is a community building initiative of the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop named in recognition of Jim Wong-Chu, a pioneer of Asian Canadian writing and mentor to many writers. The award continues his lifelong passion to encourage and develop quality manuscripts and finished works by new writers in the community. Originally established in 1999, the JWC Emerging Writer Award encourages and promotes authors of Pacific Rim Asian heritage to be published with an established publishing house. Previous award winners include Rita Wong's Monkeypuzzle, published by Press Gang; Madeleine Thien’s Simple Recipes (McClelland & Stewart), Catherine Hernandez, Scarborough (Arsenal Pulp Press), and Philip Huynh’s The Purple Forbidden City (Goose Lane Editions).

Jamie Chai Yun Liew is a Chinese Canadian writer who has Hakka, Hainanese, and Nyonya roots in Southeast Asia and is a student of Hokkien and Mandarin Chinese. She is also a lawyer and a law professor who teaches immigration, refugee and citizenship law in Ottawa.

February 5, 2019

Chop Suey Nation Book Launch: Hua Foundation celebrates Ann Hui

February 24, 2019
2:00 – 4:00 PM
Chinatown House, 188 East Pender Street

How is it that chop suey can be found in virtually every small town in Canada? Is chop suey "authentic?" What does it mean to tie one's livelihood to ancestral food, which forms the heart and soul of life in so many immigrant households?

Join Toronto author and Globe and Mail journalist Ann Hui in conversation about family secrets, the surprising history of ginger beef, and the brave ingenuity with which people across the country get by in a celebration to launch her new book, Chop Suey Nation: The Legion Cafe and Other Stories from Canada's Chinese Restaurants.

In a reported memoir that uncovers the author's own family history alongside the stories of families across Canada, Chop Suey Nation tells the sweet and sour story of immigration through the kitchens of small-town Chinese Canadian restaurants.  Learn more and register here

January 9, 2019

GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY | Robbie Burns Chinese New Year

Join us for an evening of cultural festivities at Floata Seafood Restaurant!

This year's schedule of events include:

A Chinese banquet dinner & Scottish haggis
  • Reading by John MacLachlan's White Angel
  • Presentation of the Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Writers Award
  • Wine and . . . Scotch! 
  • More readings, music, and fun!
Purchase an individual ticket for $75 or a table of ten for $700.  Please purchase tickets online.

About Gung Haggis:

Gung Haggis Fat Choy started out as a small fundraiser of 16 people in 1998 in a crowded living room. Twenty years later it serves dinner at the biggest Chinese Restaurant in North America, and has spun off a CBC television performance special, and the SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Canadian Games.   The idea for this intercultural celebration originated in 1993 when a Simon Fraser University student was asked to help out with the University’s annual Robbie Burns celebrations. Todd, a fifth-generation Canadian, quickly learned about Scottish-Canadian culture with its traditions of men wearing kilts, carrying swords, playing bagpipes and eating exotic foods.

As 1993 was the year that the Chinese Lunar New Year fell on January 27, only two days away from Robbie Burns Day, which is always January 25, Todd decided to celebrate the Scottish Bard’s birthday along with the Lunar New Year.

“Gung Haggis Fat Choy!” said Wong, “I can celebrate two cultures at the same time.” And thus was born the persona of “Toddish McWong” with his growing appreciation of Scottish Canadian history and culture.  This is the “Little Dinner that Could” which is now growing into a Vancouver premiere! Creator Todd Wong has been interviewed by BBC Radio Scotland, plus local and national media.

Today, it is a major fundraiser event for Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop and LiterASIAN Festival – helping to create positive examples of interculturalism in our community!

For more information, visit

October 18, 2018

LiterASIAN Toronto - Asian Literary Activism

On November 1, 2018, the University of Toronto and Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop is hosting a new literary event in Toronto as an extension of the existing LiterASIAN festival in Vancouver which celebrates the best in Asian Canadian arts. For LiterASIAN in Toronto in 2018, the theme is Asian Literary Activism in which we will examine the history, cultural influence and the outcomes of Asian Canadian writers involved in changing society as a whole with their work.

The event features two panels with three writers on each panel discussing the past, present, and future of literary activism along with two catered receptions. Honoured guests for our first annual event in 2018 include Joy Kogawa, Cheuk Kwan, Lynne Kutsukake, Kai Cheng Thom and Shani Mootoo. We look forward to their lively discussions and sharing of ideas.

Admittance is free to all members of the public! | RSVP through this Eventbrite

September 25, 2018

(Un)framed: Half a Century of Asian Canadian Magazines

The Long Sixties kicked off in earnest in Vancouver after moving north from California, as news of the countercultural movement began spreading across the world. However, this period was never just
limited to the Hippies and the Flower Power movement—it involved a renewed sense of activism that
began to dissect power structure, race, sex, and privilege. Asian Canadian magazines, which began with Overseers at the University of British Columbia, took on a new form in Toronto when The Asianadian was founded open three principles: It was anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-homophobic.
This led to other magazines like Ricepaper, Bambooda, Rungh, and Looseleaf. Although the nature of the publishing and magazine industry has changed significantly during this time, it is interesting to look back at how the politics of the New Left effectively birthed a new cultural consciousness and became responsible for introducing the works of many prominent writers including SKY Lee, Paul Yee, and Madeleine Thien.

Framed images featuring original and reproductions of front covers from The Asianadian, Ricepaper,
Bambooda, and Looseleaf magazine. Also features a poster designed by Michelle Kuan and Michelle Lu, a reproduction of the Ricepaper anthology, Currents, and photographs of The Asianadian’s founders and collective members.

September 21-22,2018.

In conjunction with LiterASIAN 2018.

Exhibition Credits
Allan Cho, Sarah Suk, William Tham, and Thi Tran. This exhibition was possible thanks to the generous help of the Centre A team.

September 24, 2018

Opening New Frontiers: The Art of Self-Publishing & Traditional Publishing at Word Vancouver Festival

Traditional publishing has been shaken to the core with new digital technologies and the Internet. Unlike a decade ago, when writers finish writing, they face the question of working with a traditional publisher or doing it themselves as self-publishers. Authors not only have to be concerned about polishing their prose and characters, but they also now need to understand the complexities of deciding on an agent or uploading their books to Amazon. Some of today’s most successful authors even do both through a hybrid approach, traversing both the traditional publisher route and as self-publishers. Join us as a panel of authors share their expertise with you on the perils and promises of the new frontiers of getting published.

Presented by: Historic Joy Kogawa House

Location: Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 West 64th Ave.

Time: 7:00 PM to 9:00 pm

With: William Tham, Vincent Ternida & Cynda Yeasting