Jen Sookfong Lee reads Feb 12 for The On Edge reading series at Emily Carr University of Art + Design

The End of East

Jen Sookfong Lee will give a reading on Granville Island at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

I really enjoyed reading Jen Sookfong Lee's debut novel, The End of East.  It updates “the Chinatown story” from past incarnations by Wayson Choy in “The Jade Peony” or “Disappearing Moon Cafe” by SKY Lee.

Jen brings a grittier edgier approach to dealing with family and Chinese-Canadian identity issues.  In fact, the protaganist tries to escape her family and its issues by disappearing into Montreal, until she is dragged back to face then in Vancouver. 

Lee's writing is thoughtful, and her in-person readings and talks are very delightful.  She will sometimes address that it was her grandfather's head tax certificate that inspired her to write some of the aspects of this story.  Sometimes it's the third generation that often tries to rediscover what the 2nd generation was trying to cover up, or deemphasize in their own ambitions to blend in and assimilate into Canadian society.

Check out my May 2007 article about meeting Jen Sookfong Lee at the CBC Book Club

The following information is courtesy of Rita Wong, our featured poet at the 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year's Eve Dinner.

The On Edge readings series presents:
Jen Sookfong Lee
Thurs, Feb 12 – 7 pm

in South Building Room 406
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Granville Island

This reading is free and open to the public. All are welcome.

Sookfong Lee’s novel, The End of East (Knopf Canada, New Face of
Fiction 2007), delves into the underside of Chinese Canadian history
through the eyes of the Chan family. The National Post calls The End of
East “impressive, both in terms of its accomplished prose and its
ambitious three-generational scope.” The Calgary Herald notes that “Jen
Sookfong Lee is aware, it would seem, of the dark side of mythmaking,
its distorting and even parasitic price. It's one of many things that
make her a novelist to watch.” Jen, who edits two online magazines,
Schema and Wet Ink, is a member of the noted writing group SPiN. To
find out more, visit


Here is the spring schedule:

Feb 26 – Taien Ng-Chan
March 12 – Weyman Chan
April 2 – Shirley Bear

readings are at 7 pm on Thursday evenings in SB 406 at Emily Carr
University, Granville Island, Vancouver. Please come, and bring
friends, students, colleagues…

The On Edge series gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council and Emily Carr University.

Note: There is free parking in the parkade under the ECU South Building after 7 pm.

Bios of writers:

Ng-Chan is the author of Maps of Our Bodies and the Borders We Have
Agreed Upon, anthology editor of Ribsauce, and co-editor with Dana Bath
of Navigating Customs.  She has written drama for stage, screen, and
radio, and her short films have played at festivals in Canada and the
US.  Based in Montreal, she currently writes a regular movie column in
Matrix Magazine, and is in post-production on a trilogy of videopoems
called Sum-tung (heartache).  As well, she is trying to finish her
first collection of stories, Blueprints for a Red Paper House.

Chan is the author of Before A Blue Sky Moon, the 2002 recipient of the
Alberta Book Award for best book of poetry.  Noise From the Laundry,
his latest book of poems, was published by Talonbooks in 2008 and
shortlisted for the Governor General's Prize in Poetry.  hypo-derm,
more poetry,will be released in 2010 by Frontenac.  Weyman Chan lives
and works in Calgary.

The author of a book of poems entitled
Virgin Bones (McGilligan Press, 2007), Shirley Bear is a multi-media
artist, writer, activist, and native traditional herbalist.  Born on
the Tobique First Nation, she is an original member of the Wabnaki
language group of New Brunswick, Canada.  Shirley Bear was the 2002
recipient of the Excellence in the Arts Award from the New Brunswick
Arts Board.

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