November 17, 2014

The Rise of Cantonese Opera: From village art form to global phenomenon

Defined by its distinct performance style, stage practices, and regional- and dialect-based identities, Cantonese opera originated as a traditional art form performed by itinerant companies in temple courtyards and rural market fairs.

In the early 1900s, however, Cantonese opera began to capture mass audiences in the commercial theaters of Hong Kong and Guangzhou--and changed forever. Wing Chung Ng charts Cantonese opera's confrontations with state power, nationalist discourses, and its challenge to the ascendancy of Peking opera as the country's preeminent "national theatre." Mining vivid oral histories and heretofore untapped archival sources, Ng relates how Cantonese opera evolved from a fundamentally rural tradition into a form of urbanized entertainment distinguished by a reliance on capitalization and celebrity performers. He also expands his analysis to the transnational level, showing how massive waves of Chinese emigration to Southeast Asia and North America further re-shaped Cantonese opera into a vibrant part of the ethnic Chinese social life and cultural landscape in the many corners of a sprawling diaspora.

An engaging examination of a global phenomenon, The Rise of Cantonese Opera rewrites the political, artistic, and economic history of an art form and an industry.

"A comprehensive and colorful picture of the birth and growth of what we know as Cantonese opera today. I applaud his achievement."--Daphne Lei, author of Alternative Chinese Opera in the Age of Globalization: Performing Zero

"Benefits greatly from the extensive use of a rich array of previously untouched archival materials and periodicals. The extraordinary strength of its source materials makes it unique. Rich and comprehensive."--Nancy Rao, Rutgers University

"Delightfully original scholarship. By following its movements over a vast geographical expanse and delving deep into neglected aspects of its operation--such as business organization--Ng offers a fresh, new understanding of Cantonese opera. His masterly narration and analysis of the subject on the local, regional, national and transnational levels reveal, for the first time, its extraordinary complexity. This work raises the bar for future studies of Chinese opera; indeed, of other genres of the performing arts."--Elizabeth Sinn, author of Pacific Crossing: California Gold, Chinese Migration, and the Making of Hong Kong

Wing Chung Ng is an associate professor of history at the University of Texas at San Antonio and author of The Chinese in Vancouver, 1945-80: The Pursuit of Identity and Power.

October 28, 2014

Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) 2014


The Asian Canadian Writers Workshop is proud to be co-present the Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) opening night feature Man From Reno on Thursday November 6, 7.00pm at the Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas.

Synopsis:  In a small town south of San Francisco, Sheriff Paul Del Moral (Pepe Serna) is driving home through the fog when he accidentally strikes a pedestrian, a lone Japanese man. However, before an investigation can take place the man disappears from the hospital without a trace. At the same time, Japanese mystery author Aki Akahori (Ayako Fujitani) takes a trip to San Francisco in order to escape the press tour for her latest book–a potboiler in her world famous “Inspector Takabe” series. Feeling lonely and vulnerable, she begins a romantic affair with a mysterious Japanese traveler from Reno (Kazuki Kitamura). Her new lover is charismatic and charming but abruptly disappears from the hotel, leaving behind his suitcase and a trail of questions…
This is the18th Annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival and will take place from November 6 – 9, 2014 at Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas, located in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown neighbourhood.  VAFF's theme this year is “What’s Your Perspective?” – a question that calls upon our collective past and present, and how we interact with one another in society.  Please join ACWW in supporting local Asian Canadian and Asian American films!

October 22, 2014

Doretta Lau's Presentation "Don't Let Your Stories Languish! How To Submit to Literary Magazines" at literASIAN Festival 2014


Click here to download a PDF of Doretta Lau's presentation, Don't Let Your Stories Languish: How to Submit to Literary Magazines.  Doretta breaks the process down step by step and gave examples.   She also even shares her own personal manuscript submission spreadsheet; you can get a glimpse of all the failure she suffered along the way before she landed her book deal. As well, she offers quick tips and direct links to publishing resources in Canada.  This is a must-view presentation.

October 13, 2014

literASIAN 2014 - That's A Wrap, Folks!

(Left to Right - Todd Wong, Yasuko Thanh, Chris Wong, Louise Bak, Elaine Woo, Kim Fu, Ed Koo, Doretta Lau, Elliot Chan, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Corinna Chong, Sharon Miki, Elsie Sze, Lily Chow, Tom Cho, Jim Wong-Chu, Edwin Lee)

August 30, 2014

literASIAN Workshops 2014 Schedule Released

All workshops are held at the UBC Learning Exchange 612 Main Street.  

Friday, October 10, 2014 - 10:00 – 12:00pm
Title: The Importance of Oral History
Workshop Leader: Lily Chow
Description: This workshop is to delve into the preparations and strategies and finer points of conducting oral interviews. It will also cover the handling of and making use of archival collection materials and using it as an aid to building a historical impression to aid in meeting your objectives and constructing an in-depth and compelling story.
LilyChowLily Chow was born in Malaysia, but has lived in Canada since the mid-sixties. She has taught in the Prince George School District and at the University of Northern British Columbia. She now devotes her time to researching and writing. Her first book, Sojourners in the North, won the Jeanne Clarke history award and is used in many colleges and universities as a reference text. She has also published Chasing Their Dreams, and Legends of Four sages. Her new book is Blood and Sweat Over The Railway Tracks: Chinese Labourers Constructing the Canadian Pacific Railway (1880-1885).

Friday, October 10, 2014 - 12:00 – 2:00pm  (Venue: UBC Learning Exchange 612 Main Street)
Title: Capturing Memories: a Beginner’s Guide to Writing and Publishing your Memories
Workshop leader: Edwin Lee
Description: Sharing his trials, tribulations, frustrations and ultimate reward of producing a personal memoir. Edwin will take you through the journey of a successful first-time writer. The step-by-step journey of research and interviews and the euphoria and relief on the day you get to hold the finished product - hot off the press.
EdwinLeeEdwin Lee is a second generation Chinese Canadian, born in Vancouver, B.C. before World War II. After retiring 15 years ago from the banking industry, he realized the importance of sharing the many “untold stories” relating to his family and childhood friends, living in Vancouver’s Chinatown. At the age of 78 years he self-published a book called “SUM YUNG GUYS”.

Friday, October 10, 2014 - 1.30 - 3.00pm
Title: Poetic Beginnings
Description:  This workshop brings together aspiring writers to share challenges and tips, and to exchange information on local writing contests and publications. Part of literASIAN 2014. Contact the UBC Learning Exchange to register.
Amanda_WanAmanda Wan is a reader, writer, and student of English and Philosophy at the University of British Columbia. Her poem, A Time and Place, was featured in the student-run art publication leMook after having won UBC Literature Etc.’s 2014 writing contest. She was born in Canada, and considers herself a hybrid of Chinese and Canadian cultural identity. She is fascinated by stories, and continues to pursue the poetry in each one.

Friday, October 10, 2014 - 2:00 - 4:00pm   
Title: "What? Me? A Writer and Author? I Am Not Supposed To Be Here…"
Workshop Leader: Souvankham Thammavongsa
Description: Who are you? Where are you from? What should you write about: what you know, what you think you know, what readers want to read--should a reader matter? How do you put yourself at the centre of your own language? This is a workshop about the material of writing and will include a slideshow presentation that touches on, picks up, collapses these questions.
Souvankham ThammavongsaSouvankham Thammavongsa was born in a Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand in 1978. She was raised and educated in Toronto. She is the author of three poetry collections, most recently, Light, won the 2014 Trillium Book Award for Poetry. Her first book,Small Arguments, won the 2004 ReLit prize for poetry, and her second book, Found, was made into a short film by Paramita Nath and screened at film festivals worldwide, including TIFF, L.A. Shorts Fest, and Dok Leipzig.

Friday, October 10, 2014 - 2:00 - 4:00pm
Title: How Do You Know When a Poem is Ready For Publication?
Workshop Leader: Elaine Woo
Description: This workshop is about taking a raw poem through a revising process and making it acceptable for publication.  Whether you want to revise for revision’s sake and cherish your work for yourself or want to share them or are trying to establish a publication track record by submitting them to literary journals or  working towards developing your own poetry manuscript, discover new ways for reaching that goal." If you’ve got one or two poems you are having difficulty revising, bring them along and we’ll have some fun working on them.  This workshop is also for writers who have not written poetry before but would like to have a better understand of the process required.
ElaineWooElaine Woo is the author of the poetry collection, Cycling with the Dragon.  A graduate of the University of British Columbia's creative writing program, she has conducted writing workshops in community settings and homeless shelters in the DTES, the West End, and North Vancouver. She is the recipient of an 2014 Empowered Poet award from World Poetry.  Elaine is a contributor to Shy:  An Anthology, a winner of a silver medal IPPY (independent Book Publishers award) in 2014.  Her art song collaboration with composer Daniel Marshall won a Boston Metro Opera festival prize in 2013.  A contributor to V6A: Writing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, the book was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book award in 2012.

Saturday October 11, 2014 - 9:00am – 11:00pm
Title: Don't Let Your Stories Languish! How to Submit to Literary Magazines
Workshop Leader: Doretta Lau
Description: You've done the work and finished writing a short story. Now it's time to seek publication. This workshop will cover how to format your manuscript, how to choose which literary journals to solicit, how to organize your submissions, and why it is important to take this first step for your writing career.
DorettaLauDoretta Lau is a journalist who covers arts and culture for Artforum International, South China Morning Post, The Wall Street Journal Asia, and LEAP. She completed an MFA in Writing at Columbia University. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Day One, Event, Grain Magazine, Prairie Fire, PRISM International, Ricepaper, sub-TERRAIN, and Zen Monster. She splits her time between Vancouver and Hong Kong, where she is at work on a novel and a screenplay. In 2013, she was a finalist for the Writers’ Trust of Canada / McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun? (Nightwood Editions, 2014) is her debut short story collection.

Saturday, October 11, 2014 - 9.00am - 11:00pm
Title: What is a poem?
Workshop Leader: Fred Wah
Description: What is a poem? Is it inside of your head? Inside of your body? What is a poem? Where can you find one? Is it something you remember, something you can't forget? Is it inside of a book? Inside of a word? This short workshop will offer a variety of ways to locate the poem you could write; the poem you are inside of and the inside of a poem.
FredWahFred Wah was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan in 1939 but grew up in the Kootenays in southeast British Columbia. He has published widely since the early 1960s and frequently presents internationally on Canadian poetry and poetics. Recent books areDiamond Grill, a biofiction about growing up in a small town Chinese-Canadian cafe (1996), Faking It: Poetics and Hybridity, a collection of essays (2000), both from NeWest Press, and two collections of poetry, Sentenced to Light (2008) and is a door (2009). He is a former Parliamentary Poet Laureate and an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Saturday, October 11, 2014 - 12:00 – 2:00pm
Title: Proposal and Grant Writing for Artists
Workshop leader: Tom Cho
Description: Government funding, private sponsorship, philanthropic funding, residency programs and even crowd-funding campaigns all demand the same core skill of artists: to write persuasively about their creative project. Focussing on proposal writing to institutions, this workshop will provide an overview of proposal writing basics and get you started with an exercise or two. Bring along pen and paper/a laptop and a sample idea for a creative project (all art forms welcome).
TomChoTom Cho is an artist with over 70 fiction pieces published in journals and anthologies. His collection of fictions, Look Who's Morphing, was originally published to acclaim in Australia and was shortlisted for multiple awards, including the 2010 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book. This year, it was released by Arsenal Pulp Press for North America and Europe. Tom also works as a freelance writer/editor, specialising in proposal writing for not-for-profit organisations and academic editing. He has a PhD in Professional Writing and is currently writing a novel about the meaning of life.

Saturday, October 11, 2014 – 12:00 - 2:00pm
Title: Exploring the Erotic in Chinese Canadian Writing
Workshop Leader: Louise Bak
This workshop will explore approaches to the erotic in Chinese Canadian writing, introduced from the poet and sex journalist Louise Bak's work and opening to participants, to share segments of the erotic in their writing, including sexual journalling, erotica, memoir, blog, poetry or literature for discussion.
LouiseBakLouise Bak is the author of Syzygy (DC Books), Tulpa and Ginko Kitchen (Coach House Books). She's the co-host of Sex City, Toronto’s only radio show focused on intersections between sexuality and culture. Her performance work has appeared in varying video contexts, including CheesePartial Selves and Crimes of the Heart. She co-wrote the feature film project, The Ache with Keith Lock, involving aspects of Chinese folklore and fetishism. She also curates/hosts a salon series called The Box, which encourages communication across literary and artistic borders.

Saturday, October 11, 2014  – 2:00 – 4:00pm
Title: Aspiring to be a Blockbuster Bestselling Author?  Reconciling the Dream with the Reality
Workshop Leader: Elsie Sze
Description: Every potential fiction writer’s dream is to have his/her published work become an overnight bestseller.  However, the winding path to success and recognition is not a smooth or easy one; There can be bumps and hurdles, disappointments and rejections along the way. This workshop is to offer you helpful hints after you have completed, revised and edited your first manuscript. It will offer you what to expect, and how to overcome those inevitable trials and tribulations experienced by most aspiring writers.
Elsie SzeElsie Sze is the author of three published novels, Hui Gui: a Chinese story (2005), The Heart of the Buddha (2009), and most recently,Ghost Cave: a novel of Sarawak (2014). In 2013, Sze won the inaugural Saphira Prize, a literary prize offered by Women in Publishing Society, Hong Kong for her manuscript "Ghost Cave". Ghost Cave: a novel of Sarawak was published and launched in Hong Kong in March, 2014.

Sunday, October 12, 2014 – 10.00am – 12.00pm
Title: Do You Dream in Picture Books?
Workshop Leader: Raymond Nakamura
Description: Picture books are a gateway drug to literacy and civilization. Find out how to get in on this enduring technology through a fun discussion of approaches to writing picture books, how to submit your gems of creativity to publishers, and how to deal with all the fame and fortune after that.
raymondnakamuraRaymond Nakamura is a writer, cartoonist, and educator. His story, in Peach Girl, was inspired by the Japanese folk tale of Momotaro.Raymond’s own spunky daughter inspired the character of Momoko in Peach Girl. It was published this year by Pajama Press, with illustrations by Rebecca Bender.

Sunday, October 12, 2014 – 10:00am – 12:00pm
Title: Conquering the Blank Page
Workshop Leader: Corinna Chong
Description: For many writers, the blank page can be a dreaded wellspring of fear and anxiety, and a serious barrier to creativity and productivity. This workshop will offer tips and strategies for sparking ideas, exploring and manipulating those ideas on the page/screen, and maintaining creative momentum throughout the writing process.
CorinnaChongCorinna Chong holds an MA in English and Creative Writing from the University of New Brunswick. Her writing has appeared inEcholocationGrainThe Malahat Review, and Ricepaper, and her first novel, Belinda’s Rings, was published by NeWest Press in 2013. She lives in Kelowna, where she teaches English literature at Okanagan College and co-edits Ryga: A Journal of Provocations.

Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 12:00 - 2:00pm
Title: The Second Draft 
Workshop Leader: Kim Fu
Description: You’ve completed the first draft of a novel – congratulations! Now what? Many writers get stuck at this critical stage: after getting the words down on the page, but before polishing and editing within the text is useful. This workshop will include tips and concrete activities to help you build the second draft out of your first, by identifying areas to move, expand, and contract; correcting and rearranging timelines; and determining the optimal structure for your story.
KimKim Fu is a graduate of the UBC’s MFA in Creative Writing and the author of the novel FOR TODAY I AM A BOY (HarperCollins, 2014), a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, shortlisted for the Canadian Authors Association Emerging Artist Award and longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. She is the news columns editor for This, a magazine of progressive Canadian politics now in its 48th year, and a freelance manuscript editor, with clients who went on to secure traditional publishing deals.

Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 2:00- 4:00pm   
Title: What’s Love Got to Do with It? Writing Characters with Depth
Workshop Leader: Yasuko Thanh
Description: Every writer aims for well-rounded characters. The challenge is always to strike deeper than the surface. The famous adage is “Write what you know.” But what about writing what someone else knows? The time will come in every writer’s career where they must write from the point of view of someone they know woefully little about, and they feel inadequately equipped. Whether you’re just conceiving a new character or are polishing one in a nearly-completed draft, these exercises will help move us beyond character-as-author-mouthpieces and into a place characters breathe with life.
Yasuko Thanh photoYasuko Thanh's short story collection, Floating Like the Dead (McClelland &Stewart 2012), which includes the Journey Prize-winning title story, was on Quill & Quire's list of best books of 2012. Floating Like the Dead was longlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Award and the BC Book Prize, and a selection won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Short Story. She was named one of ten CBC Books' writers to watch in 2013.