September 22, 2023

ACWW at 2023 Word Vancouver Festival "Complex Relationships"

From Japanese internment to France in WWI to mythological landscapes of ancient China, these three authors contend with the depiction of difficult circumstances. Join them in a discussion around developing complex characters and relationships through the challenging environments they find themselves in.  Featuring Hiro Kanagawa, Forgiveness (Playwrights Canada Press) | Alice Poon, The Heavenly Sword (Earnshaw Books) | Janie Chang, The Porcelain Moon: A Novel of France, the Great War, and Forbidden Love (HarperCollins).


Todd Wong is a mild-mannered library worker by day, and in his spare time, he becomes a cultural activist and literary event organizer. A 5th Generation Vancouverite, Chinese Head Tax descendant, known as "Toddish McWong" creator of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, he navigates the literary and multicultural landscape as president of Asian Canadian Writers Workshop, and founding board member for Historic Joy Kogawa House Society. A co-creator of the former Vancouver International Taiwanese Dragon Boat Festival, Todd has now retired to Stand-Up Paddle Boards, and plays accordion with Chinese music, and Celtic Ceilidh friends, and looks for literary excuses to drink single malt whisky.


Hiro Kanagawa is a Vancouver-based actor and writer. He is best known for his guest appearances and recurring roles on popular television and streaming series such as Star Trek: Discovery, The Good Doctor, Altered Carbon, The X-Files, iZombie, The Man in the High Castle and many more. Also a sought-after script doctor and consultant, he was a story editor on several critically-acclaimed Canadian television series: Da Vinci’s Inquest, Da Vinci’s City Hall, Intelligence and Blackstone. His full-length plays The Tiger of Malaya and The Patron Saint of Stanley Park have been performed across Canada as have many of his shorter works. He received the 2017 Governor-General’s Literary Award for Drama for his play, Indian Arm. His latest play, an adaptation of Mark Sakamoto’s best-selling memoir, Forgiveness, premiered in January 2023 in an Arts Club Theatre / Theatre Calgary co-production directed by acclaimed Japanese Canadian director Stafford Arima.

After a childhood spent devouring Jin Yong’s wuxia (or martial arts heroes) novels, Alice Poon has, over the years, fed herself a steady diet of Chinese history, mythology masterpieces and wuxia/xianxia/historical C-dramas. Since the release of her two historical Chinese novels: The Green Phoenix and Tales of Ming Courtesans, nostalgia for the magical world of wuxia has spurred her desire to write in the Chinese fantasy genre. With the passing of the wuxia fiction icon Jin Yong in 2018, she has wanted to do her small part in helping to preserve the legacy of this unique genre of literature. Born and raised in multicultural Hong Kong, she developed from an early age a bilingual (English and Chinese) reading and writing habit. Her fiction writing has been influenced by French and Russian realist classics, the wuxia/xianxia media, Chinese mythology classics and period history. She lives in Greater Vancouver, Canada and wishes to indulge in putting her imagination on the page.

Janie Chang writes historical fiction, often with a personal connection, drawing from a family history with 36 generations of recorded genealogy. Her first novel, THREE SOULS, was a finalist for the 2014 BC Book Prizes Fiction Prize; her second novel, DRAGON SPRINGS ROAD, was a Globe and Mail national bestseller. Both were nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award. Her third book, THE LIBRARY OF LEGENDS, released in May 2020, was nominated for the Evergreen Award and is a Globe and Mail national bestseller. THE PORCELAIN MOON, released in February 2023 was a Globe and Mail historical fiction bestseller; THE PHOENIX CROWN, a novel Janie has co-authored with Kate Quinn, will be released in February 2024. A graduate of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University, Janie was the founder and main organizer of Authors for Indies, a 100% volunteer-staffed event that promoted a national day of support by Canadian authors for Canada's independent bookstores; the event ran from 2015 - 2017 and transitioned to Canadian Independent Bookstore Day which is organized by the Canadian Independent Booksellers Association. Janie was born in Taiwan and has lived in the Philippines, Iran, Thailand, and New Zealand. She now lives with her husband on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada.