ACWW Community Builder Awards
to Evelyn Lau and Tradewind Books
at the 15th Anniversary Ricepaper Dinner
Foo's Ho Ho Restaurant
It was a successful evening, when somebody tells you that they can hear people laughing from down the hall. Co-hosts Tetsuro Shigematsu and Todd Wong had the audience laughing and feeling they were all part of the Ricepaper community. From their opening welcomes, they acknowledged all the writers in the room: Sean Gunn, Faye Leung, Charlie Cho, Lee Su-Feh, Larry Wong, Jim Wong-Chu, Evelyn Lau, Jenny Uechi, Bob Sung, Gail Yip, Ken Yip. They introduced the Ricepaper editors, Eury Chang and Patricia Lim + Ricepaper volunteers, ACWW Board members, Allan Cho, Ray Hsu, Tetsuro and Todd, as well as the members of the Friend's of Foo's Ho Ho Committee that had helped to organize the event with ACWW, and Ricepaper.
Tetsuro worked the crowd talking about the role that Ricepaper Magazine plays, while Todd playfully held up a cover of Ricepaper Magazine with Tetsuro's picture on it – “The Icon Issue”. Todd gave a very quick history of Ricepaper Magazine from it's humble beginnings as a newletter, acknowledging some of it's founders in the room, Jim Wong-Chu, Sean Gunn and Sid Tan, opening up the 15th Anniversary issue, to the Ricepaper origins stories Jim and Sean had written. Todd also pointed out the people that had been profiled in Ricepaper such as writers Wayson Choy, Joy Kogawa, Denise Chong, environmentalist David Suzuki, dancer/choreographer Andrea Nann, and many others.
Good old Cantonese Pioneer “Soul Food”, is how attendee Bob Sun described the menu. It was very fitting considering the pioneer history roots from which many of the ACWW and Ricepaper organizers have. Soup was followed by an appetizer plate of garlic ribs, pan-fried squid and deep-fried chicken wings. Pan-fried sticky rice chicken is a Foo's Ho Ho specialty. Mushrooms and Bok Choy, followed the black bean vegetables. Pan-fried prawns were followed by black bean fish, and more dishes. It was good eating all around.
During the dinner courses, volunteers sold raffle tickets, people socialized, and also checked out the many prizes such as theatre tickets to Red Letters and Rising Phoenix, bottles of wine, + more.
Tradewind books by Paul Yee, were a very successful live auction item. Todd successfully conducted the live auction taking bids from both sides of the room with Tetsuro's help. The book set contained “The Bone Collector's Son” which is the only children's book to be nominated for the Vancouver Book Prize. Also included were The Jade Necklace, What Happened This Summer, Shu-Li and Tamara, Shu-Li and Diego and also Bamboo – which was a nominee for BC Book Prizes Childrens' Literature Award. Lively bidding went between many different bidders… finally going to Vancouver City Councilor Raymond Louie.
What an introduction to Tradewind Books! Todd next gave a brief history about the ACWW Community Builder Award, citing the first recipients were Paul Yee, Wayson Choy and Roy Mah in 2002. In 2003, awards went to Roy Miki, Fred Wah, Harvey Lowe, and The Japanese Bulletin Magazine. In 2005, recipients were Joy Kogawa, Scott McIntyre publisher of Douglas MacIntyre and Gim Wong. And earlier in May 2010, ACWW had acknowledged Edmonton writer/playwright
Marty Chan as a ACWW Community Builder, while he was in Vancouver for
the book launch of Henry Chow and Other Stories.
And with that, Carol Frank was invited up to the stage to receive a certificate for the ACWW Community Builder Award. Carol gave thanks for the award and talked about working with ACWW and Ricepaper on the “Henry Chow and Other Stories” anthology which also included stories by Paul Yee and Evelyn Lau. She talked about the important role that cultural diversity makes in the books published by Tradewind Books, and acknowledged how grateful she was to Ricepaper Magazine was in helping them find writers for Henry Chow project. It was an earnest and sincere thanks that closed with her hope and promise to work with Ricepaper more in the future
Evelyn Lau was acknowledged for her trail blazing contributions to the community and significant body of work. Tetsuro talked about how her works are studied in classes, as well as inspiring to writers. Todd mentioned how as a young teenager she had first met with Jim Wong-Chu to submit her work to Jim's anthology “Many Mouthed Birds” and how she had only two weeks ago, received the City of Vancouver Mayor's Arts Award prize for Literary Arts.
Evelyn Lau gives thanks for the Community Builder Award and shares stories of being a writer – photo Deb Martin
Evelyn shared with the audience how strange it is to be considered a community builder when as a writer she spends much of her time alone writing and thinking, but it was so gratifying that her work was able to touch so many. She specifically thanked Jim Wong-Chu and Marlene Enns for sharing time and meals with her when she was a wayward youth. It was a very heart-warming acknowledgement. She next went on to read two poems: A Grain of Rice from the 15th Anniversary edition of Ricepaper; and a poem about Sidney Crosby's goal that won the Olympic Gold Medal. Evelyn joked about how her poems are mostly dark, and she wanted to read something happier for the occasion.
It was a wonderful evening, as lots of fun was made when Tetsuro led the raffle draw prizes. More than 25 prizes were shared amongst the ticket buyers. The room became smaller and friendlier as all the winners were introduced to the audience, and many of the prize donors were acknowledge. It was a great end for a small organization and small magazine to acknowledge its community, and its community builders.