Vancouver Sun: Joy Kogawa Story + tonight reading at Vancouver Public Library

Vancouver Sun: Joy Kogawa story + tonight reading at Vancouver Public Library

Today's Vancouver Sun features a
story Joy Kogawa and the plans for the preservation of Kogawa House to
turn it into a Writing Centre.  There is an interview with
Constance Rooke, president of PEN Canada, stating how
excited she is that the proposed writing centre has tremendous cultural
and literary potential.

pitched as refuge for exiled writers

Vancouver Sun, by Kevin Griffin

Turning the Kogawa house into a home for writers in exile would help
cement Canada's international leadership role in helping persecuted
writers from around the world, according to the head of one of the
country's major writers' organizations.

Constance Rooke,
president of PEN Canada, said the history of the house, the childhood
home of writer Joy Kogawa who was interned with 22,000 other Japanese
Canadians during the Second World War, makes it a perfect fit for
writers who have fled imprisonment and restrictions on freedom of
expression in their own countries.

Rooke said if the campaign
to raise $1.25 million to save the house is successful, it would become
the only residence in the country dedicated to housing writers in exile.

initial response to the campaign to save the Kogawa house was that this
was a house that ought to be saved because this is a very important
part of our history and literature,” Rooke said from Victoria.

“I've become increasingly excited about the house becoming a home for writers in exile.”

“I cannot think of any Canadian
writer's house whose destruction would pain me more,” Rooke said in a
letter to Vancouver council urging them to save the house.

Read more of  Kevin Griffin's article in the Vancouver Sun

pitched as refuge for exiled writers

Sun (subscription) – Vancouver,British Columbia,Canada

the Kogawa house into a home for writers in exile would
help cement Canada's international leadership role in helping persecuted
writers from around

Tonight is the Joy Kogawa book reading at Vancouver Public Library

Joy Kogawa's Emily Kato Book Launch

Vancouver Public Library
Central Branch, Alice McKay Room
February 27th, 7:30pm


Celebration of Emily Kato”

featuring author Joy Kogawa
with special surprise literary and musical guests + silent auction  to help raise funds for the preservation of Kogawa House.

I feel very honoured that Joy has asked me to MC tonight's event. 
It was just over a week ago, that she decided she wanted to do
something more celebratory for the Emily Kato book launch.  We had
just had a wonderful reading of “Joy Kogawa and Friends” at Chapters
bookstore on Robson St. featuring Roy Miki, Daphne Marlatt and Ellen
Crowe-Swords.  Joy asked if Roy and musician Harry Aoki would be
able to present something.  I also looked into asking Vancouver
Opera if they could participate, since their production of Naomi's Road
is currently touring BC schools and is still in the Vancouver Lower

Emily Kato was originally planned for a 2005 launch at VPL
during One Book One Vancouver, but was turned into a preview reading
because the book wasn't ready for printing by Penguin yet.

Tonight will be something special:
We have created a program that will hopefully bring “Emily Kato”
alive.  It was originally written in 1992 under the title of
“Itsuka” which means “someday.”  Itsuka fictionalizes the
emotional upheavals, personal challenges and the political drama of the
Japanese Canadian redress movement of the 1980's. 

Harry with Dal Richards at Feb 15th “Order of Canada / Flag Day luncheon”

Musician Harry Aoki will perform and bring some musical guests. 
Harry Aoki, as a young twenty-something young man, left the Vancouver
area in 1942 voluntarily, before being forced to “evacuate.”  He
had to leave behind his prized violin, and only took his harmonica, so
he could carry more belongings.

Roy Miki (Centre) with Rev. Tim Nakayama (Joy's brother) and Joy Kogawa.

Professor Roy Miki, will perhaps read something from his book Redress: Inside the Japanese Canadian Call for Justice which
documents the redress process that he and Joy shared with other redress
leaders such as Cassandra Kobayashi and Roy's brother Art Miki. 
Roy was born after internment, when his parents were assigned to work
on a beet farm in Alberta.

Jeni Kato (Save Kogawa House committee member) and Jeff Chiba Stearns,  film maker.

Jeff Chiba Stearns is a third generation (Sensei) internment
descendent, who has struggled with his identity of being
half-Japanese.  He grew up in in Kelowna and made an animated film
about his experience.  Jeff is currently in Manchester England for
a Film Festival, but we will show clips from his film and his girl
friend Jeni will be present.

And a silent auction!  With books donated by Raincoast publishing,
a Linda Ohama print donated by Roy Miki, Vancouver Opera tickets to
Faust, and tickets for Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre.

How it unfolds, will hopefully allow readers will appreciate Joy's
“Emily Kato”all the more, as both Roy Miki and Harry Aoki helped to
inspire the composite characters in the book.

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