“Dinner with Jan Wong” in Vancouver Chinatown

Jan Wong is coming to Vancouver…. and we’ve created a fun event you can attend!

I first met Jan Wong in 1993, when she was bureau chief in Beijing for the G&M. I was the guest speaker at the Terry Fox Run, at the Canadian Embassy. Since then I have read her books “Red China Blues”, “Jan Wong’s China”, as well as her “Lunch with Jan Wong” features in the Globe & Mail.  Her books give a special insight to China, because she first was one of the first foreign students to study in communist China during the “1970”, overcame her Maoist beliefs, and saw behind the Chinese government presentations and propaganda.

A few days ago, Allan Cho and I were asked by Jim Wong-Chu to help create some events for Jan Wong, as she promotes her new book Out of the Blue: a Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption, and Yes, Happiness.  Allan & I created 3 events within 24 hours, and they are going to be a special treat!  I hope you can join us at these events…


May 24th Thursday – 5-6pm Free Reading at UBC Main Library,free author talk, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, Lillooet Room (Rm #301). Doors open to public 4.45pm.

May 24th  Thursday May 24: 7pm Asian-Canadian Writers Workshop “Dinner With Jan Wong” and author talk, Foo’s Ho Ho Restaurant in Chinatown, 102 East Pender Street. $30 RSVP

May 26th, Saturday 12 noon, “Lunch With Jan Wong” at Historic Joy Kogawa House. reading/chat with light lunch. 1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver. Tickets: $10. RSVP to kogawahouse@yahoo.ca. All proceeds to writer-in-residence program www.kogawahouse.co


An Evening with Jan Wong

Join us for a dinner with Jan Wong, local writers, and friends on Thursday, May 24 at Foo’s Ho Ho in Vancouver, BC.

Jan Wong, a third-generation Canadian journalist, is most notable for her role as the Beijing correspondent for The Globe and Mail from 1988 to 1994.  Born and raised in Montreal, Wong graduated from McGill University, Peking university, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.  She currently writes for Toronto Life and Halifax Chronicle Herald, and teaches journalism at St. Thomas University in Fredericton.

As a self-proclaimed Canadian who does not consider herself “Chinese” or “Chinese-Canadian”, Wong seems to defy labels or stereotypes traditionally imposed on minorities and Asian –Canadians.  She has had an unconventional, if not radical, past.  In 1972 at the age of nineteen, Wong traveled to China during the Cultural Revolution to attend Beijing University.  There, she became the first of only two Westerners to study in China during this period.

Following her education in China, Wong worked as a correspondent in Beijing for six years where she fled the Tiananmen Square massacre, escaped from potential kidnappers, and caught Chinese officials driving her stolen Toyota as a squad car.

Wong started her career as a journalist in 1979 as a news assistant for The New York Times agency in Beijing.  She later returned to Canada, then studied at Columbia University where she received her Masters degree in journalism and worked for the Montreal Gazette, Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal, before becoming a business reporter for the Globe and Mail.

Including her most recent book, Out of the Blue: a Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption, and Yes, Happiness, published earlier this month (May 2012), Wong has written four other books.  They are:

– Red China Blues: My Long March from Mao to Now (1996)

– Jan Wong’s China: Reports from a Not-So-Foreign Correspondent (2000)

– Lunch With Jan Wong: Sweet and Sour Celebrity Interviews (2001)

– Beijing Confidential: A Tale of Comrades Lost and Found, published in the U.S. as Comrades Lost and Found and in the U.K. as Chinese Whispers. (2007)

Date: Thursday May 24.
Time: 7:00 pm
Price $30
Foo’s Ho Ho – 102 East Pender Street

Reserve your ticket with a credit card by phone (604-872-3464) or pay online here.

Check out these reviews of Out of the Blue

Maclean’s “Out of the Blue is the first of a new genre: the workplace divorce memoir.”

Q&A with CBC.ca “This is also a funny book. There’s a love story in there too, about the support that came from your sister, your husband and your two teenage sons.”

Ottawa Citizen “Jan Wong’s latest book should be titled: Reporter Eats Newspaper for Lunch… [a] gossipy, gripping page-turner”

Now Magazine “Tapping into her journalistic rigour, she gathers research on societal attitudes, symptoms and treatments – especially of the pharmaceutical variety – to give a complete profile of the disease and its history.”

Huffington Post “What happens when you’re a leading journalist at a national newspaper — and workplace stress leaves you too depressed to write? For Jan Wong … it meant completely re-evaluating her perspective on work, family and mental health.”

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