January 27, 2021

Google Celebrates Jim Wong-Chu's 72nd Birthday on January 28

Google Doodle celebrates the birthday of Jim Wong-Chu,  Asian Canadian activist, community organizer, poet, author, editor, photographer, radio producer, and historian Jim Wong-Chu, who devoted his life to amplifying the narratives of the Asian Canadian community.  Jim was one of the founders of ACWW.  

Born in Hong Kong on this day in 1949, Wong-Chu moved to Canada when he was 4, and as a young adult, he settled in Vancouver, British Columbia. During the ‘70s he worked as a community volunteer and became interested in the use of literature to explore his identity as a Canadian of Asian heritage. In 1986, while studying creative writing at the University of British Columbia, he compiled his work into the collection “Chinatown Ghosts,” one of the first poetry books ever published by a Chinese Canadian author.

But Wong-Chu didn’t just want to tell his story; he wanted to tell the stories of all the undiscovered talent in his community. In 1989, he began to sift through every literary magazine in the UBC library to identify pieces written by Asian Canadian writers. With co-editor Bennett Lee, he honed this collection into his first of numerous anthologies, “Many Mouthed Birds” (1991), a touchstone in the emergence of the genre of Asian Canadian literature.

To promote the genre, Wong-Chu co-founded the Asian Canadian Writer’s Workshop in 1996, which–along with its literary magazine Ricepaper (now a digital publication)–has continued to elevate the voices of the Asian Canadian literary arts movement to this day.

Happy birthday, Jim!   We miss you!