Joy Kogawa's Obasan: for One Book One Vancouver program at VPL

Joy Kogawa's Obasan is the perfect nomination choice for One Book One Vancouver 2005 program at VPL

Wayson Choy's “Jade Peony” was the introductory choice for the
inaugural One Book One Vancouver program by the Vancouver Public
Library in 2002.  OBOV was an exciting book club for the entire
city.  Based on similar programs in other cities, library patrons
were all invited to read “Jade Peony” and programs featuring Wayson
Choy and related issues and authors were created such as “Dim Sum with
Wayson Choy”, a film showing of “Unfolding the Butterfuly” – a
documentary about Wayson, readings by noted Chinese-Canadian authors
Paul Yee, SKY Lee and Jim Wong Chu, walking tours in Vancouver's
Chinatown where the book was set.  I was a member of the inaugural
committee that helped develop programming.

For 2005, I have nominated Joy Kogawa's Obasan, because I believe it
is the best choice for a book “All Vancouverites should read.”

is a novelist born and raised in Vancouver that has recieved the
Order of Canada and had November 7th pronounced “National Joy Kogawa
Day.” And Obasan is widely considered to be one of Canada's most
important and influential works ever created.

I present to you 20 reasons that create a “ready-made” One Book One Vancouver program – that no other possible choice can touch.

“Obasan, a novel that I believe is the most important literary work of
the past 30 years for understanding Canadian history.  – Roy Miki
– SFU University Professor and 2003 Governor General's Award Winner for

2. 11th most influential novel – named by Quill & Quire.

3. Partially set in Vancouver.

4. Vancouver born and raised author.

5. Joy named Order of Canada in 1986.

Obasan is studied in universities and colleges – It is this important
that literary critiques about the book itself are published.

7. “An old jewel” – forgotten by many readers, unknown to many people – definitely a book Vancouverites MUST read!!!

Vancouver Opera is doing a touring production of “Naomi's Road” – her
children's story to debut in September/October – perfect for Word on
the Street cross-over.

9. New edition of Naomi's Road is re-published set for book launch in May 2005.

10. Movement to save the Kogawa Homestead

11. Book is historically relevant as it helped to launch and support the Japanese redress movement.

12. Timely with growing support of Chinese head-tax redress movement.

Vancouver Opera just did Madama Butterfly and created a whole list of
Japanese Community events and links that VPL could tap into. kind of a
“One Book One Opera” type program.

14. Asian Heritage Month
coincides with One Book One Vancouver launch and Central Library's 10th
Anniversary celebrations.  Ideal cross-over for Joy Kogawa

15. Strong Asian-Canadian and Japanese Canadian
community festivals and events already in place to support it eg. Asian
Heritage Month, and Powell Street Festival.

16. Asian Canadian
Writers' Workshop will be doing a Community Builder's dinner to honour
Joy Kogawa (post-poned since November 2004 -possibly reset for May).

17. Lots of Japanese-Canadian authors to support a related author program eg. Roy Miki, Hiromi Goto, Harry Aoki, David Suzuki

Obasan is available in paperback and easily accessible to millions
of readers throughout Vancouver, Canada and the world.

19. Nikkei Heritage Centre and Museum – Vancouver Museum possible tie-ins.

20. Joy will be accessible to Vancouver based programs, as she will be featured by Vancouver Opera and other programs. 

Please consider Joy Kogawa's Obasan for OBOV 2005.
Contact Vancouver Public Library at

Send a letter to
Jane White
One Book One Vancouver Committee
Vancouver Public Library
350 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 6B1

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