August 15, 2016

A Tree Grows in Chinatown exhibition at Commercial Street Cafe

As part of the ACWW's mandate to support Asian Canadian artists, the Commercial Street Cafe presents Vanessa Lowe's A Tree Grows in Chinatown exhibition

A Tree Grows in Chinatown is about the early life of Vanessa’s mother who passed away in mid-August. Using family photos of her mother’s early life, memories and texts, Vanessa has created this exhibition as a tribute to her mother.

Vanessa’s family roots are firmly in East Vancouver – her forebears came from China but both of her parents were born in BC. She spent her early childhood around East Hastings and consequently, all of her early memories are of East Hastings, Chinatown, and the area around Chinatown, now known as the Downtown Eastside.

Vanessa is well-known for the Crow Highway mural in which she was able to honour her mother and all the mothers before her. She says: “Ancestors: I have lots, and I’m willing to share them with the rest of the community. I’ve been told [this mural] is now an L1 portal in the Android game Ingress. If you want to see it IRL, it’s at the southwest corner of Hastings and Jackson in Vancouver.” The work can be seen on the blog

August 12, 2016

LiterASIAN: a Festival of Pacific-Rim Asian Canadian Writing

Our Theme – History and Memory - As Canada nears its 150 celebration of Confederation, it is timely for the Asian Canadian community to gather to reflect on its history.

2016 Festival Pass
This year we are launching a festival pass. This $20 festival pass will allow the purchaser unlimited access to all five of our workshops and three panels as well as an annual membership to ACWW which includes subscription to the online version of Ricepaper magazine and discounts to some community partnership events. A good deal plus a great way to show your support to the Asian Canadian writing community.

Opening Event

Panel Discussion: Searching the Past – Locating History and Memory Vancouver Public Library, 350 W Georgia Street Wednesday, September 31, 6.00pm
Our opening event will be hosted jointly by the Vancouver Public Library on Wednesday, Sept 21, 6pm at the Central Branch lower level, Alice MacKay Room. The panel will explore the different ways we chose to gather and record the past and illuminate the deeds of earlier generations. The panel will include Award-winning authors and editors, Paul Yee, Denise Chong, SKY Lee, JJ Lee, Simon Choa Johnston, Jean Barman and Judy Hanazawa.

Additional Panels

Crossing Boundaries: Writing the DiasporaChinese Cultural Centre Museum 555 Columbia Street
Friday, September 23, 6.00pm

Aside from the opening event panel at VPL, we have a Friday evening 6pm panel “Crossing Boundaries: Writing the Diaspora” at the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum (555 Columbia Street). The panel will look at History and Memory from the perspective of diasporic writing when our writers situate their stories beyond Canadian shores. Panelists, Simon Choa Johnston’s new publication, The House of Two Wives begin his story in Calcutta by way of Bagdad and eventually end up in Hong Kong. C. Fong Hsiung traces the plight of the Hakka community following the India-China war of 1962, the Chinese Indians (the Hakka), fearing suspicion and hostility, begin to emigrate. Fong Hsiung’s main character, Jillian Wu was sent to Canada as a picture bride to marry a man she had never met. Filmmaker and director, Cheuk Kwan and cinematographer, Kwoi Jin are partners in a 15 part documentary series “Chinese Restaurants” that tells the stories of the diasporic Chinese from such places such as Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, India, Israel, Madagascar, Mauritius , Norway, Peru, South Africa, Trinidad, Turkey and Canada. They will discuss their new book project to further elaborate on what didn’t ‘make it” into the film. Anna Wang Yuan is a Canadian novelist currently living in California. She edited an anthology “The Strangers” a short story collection by nine new generation ethnic Chinese writers, mostly immigrants who reflect the alienation of being a stranger in a strange land.

The Medium as the Message: Telling Stories Beyond the Written Word
Chinese Cultural Centre Museum 555 Columbia Street
Saturday, September 24, 3.00pm

The written word is not the only way we can communicate our idea. This panel brings together storytellers, filmmakers and those who use other creative means to create effective content. Sarah Ling is a part of a team of producers, writers and filmmakers that are based in U.B.C. and together with elder Larry grant has chronicled Larry dual native aboriginal/Chinese heritage on film. Dan Seto uses youtube as a vehicle for his “Chinese Canadian Roots TV” to explore and chronicling his roots through cooking, culture, travel, history and events. 1985 to 1987, Paul Yee served as Chairman of the Saltwater City Exhibition Committee of the Chinese Cultural Centre and along with David Wong, help put together this seminal Exhibition about the Chinese in Vancouver. David Wong also published an acclaimed graphic novel,”Escape from Gold Mountain”. Filmmaker and director, Cheuk Kwan and cinematographer, Kwoi Jin are partners in a 15 part documentary series “Chinese Restaurants” that tells the stories of the diasporic Chinese from such places such as Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, India, Israel, Madagascar, Mauritius , Norway, Peru, South Africa, Trinidad, Turkey and Canada.

This is a multi-media panel where each panelist will showcase some of their activities and discuss the creative process behind work.

Location for all workshops - UBC Learning Centre (612 Main Street)

The Self-Publishing Process with Edwin Lee (September 24, 11.00AM-12.30PM)

Writing A Reflective Memoir: Telling a Great Story from Beginning to End with J.J. Lee (September 24, 1.00PM-2.30PM)

Literature and Rendering Memory with Denise Chong (September 25, 11.00AM-12.30PM)

Food and Inspiration of Storytelling from Memory with Larry Wong (September 25, 1.00PM-2.30PM)

Writing Effectively Using a ‘Trace’ and a ‘Hook’ with Jean Barman (September 25, 3.00PM-4.30PM)

Book Launches

Book Launch: “Gently to Nagasaki” by Joy Kogawa
Vancouver Public library, Central Branch, Lower floor, Alice MacKay Room
September 22, 6:30pm

Joy Kogawa’s new memoir, “Gently to Nagasaki” is presented in partnership with the Historic Joy Kogawa House, the Vancouver Public Library, and Caitlin Press. This intimate exploration, both communal and intensely personal, invites you on a spiritual pilgrimage of forgiveness and resilience. Set in Vancouver and Toronto, the outposts of Slocan and Coaldale, the streets of Nagasaki and the high mountains of Shikoku, Japan, it is also an account of a remarkable life.
Book Launch: Picture Bride by C. Fong Hsiung
Chinese Cultural Centre Museum, 555 Columbia Street Saturday, September 24, 3.00pm

Following the India-China war of 1962, the Chinese Indians (the Hakka), fearing suspicion and hostility, begin to emigrate. In Picture Bride, set during a period of changing times and changing values, twenty-year-old Jillian Wu leaves Calcutta to marry a man she has never met—Peter Chou, also a Hakka—with much anticipation, only to discover that he is gay. Forced by her husband to keep up the charade of a “normal” marriage, and pressured by her in-laws to have a child, she flees back to Calcutta, only to be disowned by her conservative family. A moving story with political overtones, Picture Bride confronts the politics of family, culture, and women's rights.

Book Launch: The Strangers edited by Anna Wang Yuan
Chinese Cultural Centre Museum, 555 Columbia Street Saturday, September 24, 4.00pm

What kind of images does “Chinese” stir up in your mind? Do you think of strange-looking workers who built the railroads before 1900? Or the quiet math genius from your high school whose strange-sounding name you’ve long forgotten? Perhaps you recall the mysterious man who brought bags of cash to pay for a car or even a house. In a time of globalization, you’ve learned to work with strangers and live amongst strangers, yet you’ve probably only read books written by familiar names. Anna Wang Yuan compiled the nine stories and written the foreword.

LiterASIAN at WORD Vancouver (11.00am to 5.00pm Library Square)

Come join us at the annual Word Vancouver, down at Library Square and meet our featured writers, Paul Yee, Simon Choa Johnston, JJ Lee and Joy Kogawa.

Come and say Hello at the Ricepaper Magazine/LiterASIAN table!  Word Vancouver is Western Canada's largest celebration of literacy and reading event. Book and magazine fair celebrating literacy and the printed word. (Link:

Closing Event

Gala Dinner $50 per person
Golden Phoenix Restaurant
2425 Nanaimo Street
Sunday September 25, 6.00pm

Come join in to share a meal that includes a 10-course Peking Duck dinner and have a chance to meet and talk to and get your books signed by the featured writers, in our 2016 program. Our Gala dinner is a fun-filled event which includes celebrity MCs and music from our literASIAN house band with lots of prizes and of course, a ten course Chinese meal.

The $50 ticket also offers a one-year membership to the ACWW as well as a one-year subscription to Ricepaper Magazine (online version) and discounts and special opportunities to community partner events. So come and support the creation of new writers and readers in our community and celebrate the end of another successful festival.

August 4, 2016

LiterASIAN 2016 Featured Authors

Paul Yee

Paul Yee’s stories will transport you into the worlds of the overseas Chinese, those people of Chinese origin who live and work in North America. Paul is a Chinese-Canadian historian and writer. He is the author of many books for children, including Teach Me to Fly, Skyfighter, The Curses of Third Uncle, Dead Man’s Gold, and Ghost Train — winner of the 1996 Governor General’s Award for English language children’s literature.


SKY Lee is a Canadian artist and novelist. Lee has published both feminist fiction and non-fiction. Lee’s first book, Disappearing Moon Cafe, published in 1990, explores the Wong family over four generations, as they operate the titled cafe. Nominated for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Governor General’s Award, the novel won the City of Vancouver Book Award.

Larry Grant

Elder Larry Grant is of mixed Chinese and Musqueam ancestry. Born on a hop field as a premature baby in Agassiz, B.C., Grant was raised in Musqueam traditional territory. Today he serves the Musqueam Nation as the Language and Culture Consultant and teaches at UBC. Larry and Sarah Ling published ʔi ɬe nem̓ ʔəm̓xasəm̓ , 我們出去走走啦!, Let’s Take a Walk ” and the accompanying CD contribute to language resources developed to encourage hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ revitalization. Based on the childhood of Larry Grant, this story takes place in the late 1930’s at the village site of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Reserve 2). 

Sarah Ling

Sarah is completing her MA in the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program, through which she works with the Musqueam Nation to revitalize the intercultural history of Chinese market gardening in their community and stories of UBC-First Nations relations. Sarah and Larry Grant published ʔi ɬe nem̓ ʔəm̓xasəm̓ , 我們出去走走啦!, Let’s Take a Walk ” and the accompanying CD contribute to language resources developed to encourage hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ revitalization. Based on the childhood of Larry Grant, this story takes place in the late 1930’s at the village site of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Reserve 2). 

Denise Chong

Denise is a third-generation Chinese Canadian, Chong was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. Denise Chong has published three non-fiction books of literary non-fiction and edited one compilation of short stories. Because of the importance of the Canadian historical research in Chong’s first book, a memoir of her family, The Concubine’s Children, she has become renowned as a writer and commentator on Canadian history and on the family. 

J.J. Lee

JJ Lee grew up on Montreal’s South Shore. He studied fine arts at Concordia University and holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of British Columbia. In 2014, he hosted the CBC radio show, Head to Toe. Before that, he wrote The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit, published in hardcover by McClelland & Stewart and in paperback by Emblem Editions.

Edwin Lee

Edwin Lee was born in Vancouver, British Columbia and has lived in the lower mainland for his entire life. His family was instrumental in developing Vancouver’s Chinatown during the days of the Gold Rush in North America. He is author of Sum Yung Guys.

Larry Wong

Larry is a local historian and past president of the Chinese Canadian Historical Society. His book Dim Sum Stories: A Chinatown Childhood is about his 1940s-1960s childhood in Vancouver’s Chinatown. A close friend of Wayson Choy, author of The Jade Peony, Wong’s personal short stories reveal a world filled with people from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Jean Barman

Jean Barman is a historian of British Columbia. Her work The West Beyond the West: A History of British Columbia has been described as the standard text on the subject [of British Columbia history. She has received the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for historical writing, and the 2006 City of Vancouver Book Award (for Stanley Park’s Secret. She is a professor emerita at the University of British Columbia.

Joy Kogawa

Joy Kogawa was born in Vancouver in 1935 to Japanese-Canadian parents. During WWII, Joy and her family were forced to move to Slocan, British Columbia, an injustice Kogawa addresses in her 1981 novel, Obasan. Kogawa has worked to educate Canadians about the history of Japanese Canadians and she was active in the fight for official governmental redress.

Simon Choa-Johnston

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Simon Choa-Johnston came to Canada to attend McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and graduated in 1972, after which he went to New York for postgraduate theatre studies. He has worked in Canadian theatre for over twenty-five years as an Artistic Director, Director (over 200 productions), and Playwright.

C. Fong Hsiung

The eldest of five children, C. Fong Hsiung was born to Hakka Chinese parents in Kolkata, India. At the age of eighteen she immigrated to Canada where she married and raised three sons. She wrote “Alfie,” a short story published by Life Rattle Press for The Totally Unknown Writers Festival 2012, which was also featured in Life Rattle Radio.

Cheuk Kwan

Cheuk Kwan was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. After earning his master’s degree in systems engineering in the U.S., he immigrated to Canada in 1976 where he embarked upon a successful career in information technology. Back home in Canada, the community activist founded The Asianadian, a magazine dedicated to the promotion of Asian Canadian arts, culture and politics in 1978. 

Dan Seto

Dan graduated from Simon Fraser University in business administration and worked in sales, marketing, publishing and promotions. He has been an avid dragon boat and outrigger racer and also a co-author in Finding Memories Tracing Routes and Easting Stories, a Chinese Canadian and Aboriginal Potluck. He established Chinese Canadian Roots TV Channel on You Tube which features his mother’s Chinese village recipes, travels to his ancestral villages, and documentation of CCHSBC events.

Anna Wang Yuan

Anna Wang Yuan (Wang Yuan, 王芫)is a Chinese Canadian novelist and translator. She was born and raised in Beijing, China, and immigrated to Canada in 2006. She is the author of four novels and one short story collection in Chinese. She is also the Chinese translator of Alice Munro's The View from Castle Rock. She is currently living in Irvine, California.

Kwoi Jim

Kwoi Jim has worked as cinematographer for numerous films and documentary including These Shoes Weren't Made for Walking (1995), When Strangers Re-Unite (1999), 5 x 90: The Wake (2005) Re:Orientations (2016). As director of photography for Chinese Restaurants (2000-2003), Kwoi traveled more than 200,000 kilometers with filmmaker Cheuk Kwan to thirteen countries to capture the definitive Chinese diaspora story.

Judy Hanazawa

Judy Hanazawa is one of the co-editors of Honouring Our People: Breaking the Silence a new book published by the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Association. The publication is the result of a journey initiated by a three day conference in September, 2009 that focussed on stories of the Internment and brings to light new stories from the collective memories of a community not told before.

David H.T. Wong

David H.T. Wong was born and raised in Vancouver. He is an accomplished architect and a respected Asian Canadian community activist whose family first came to Canada from China 130 years ago. David serves on a number of arts and cultural organizations, but his favourite is as an Advisor to the Californian amphibian conservation organization:

Wednesday September 21 to Sunday September 25, 2016
The 4th annual Asian Canadian literary festival celebrates the best of Pacific Rim Asian Canadian literary talent. LiterASIAN 2016 features some of Asian Canadian writing’s most innovative and creative writers fiction and history. LiterASIAN is for literary enthusiasts, publishers, literary agents, and anyone interested in writing. This year’s line-up includes:
  • Workshops with featured authors 
  • Panels with industry experts and writers 
  • Asian Canadian book fair 
  • Closing dinner gala

Interviews and photo opportunities are available.  

July 6, 2016

A Reading at Roedde House with Jim Wong-Chu

The event will take place on Sunday July 17. Jim Wong-Chu's reading will be at 3.00pm followed by a small reception (featuring apple and egg tarts from New Town Bakery!). Tickets are $15 and include Tea and Tours of the museum from 1.00-2:30pm. A scheduled Cantonese language tour will be held at 1:30pm. Link to ticketing page is: