Monthly Archives: October 2013

Guess Who’s Coming to Town? Linsanity at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival 2013

1Guess who’s coming to town?   Jeremy Lin’s Linsanity: The Movie, is joining a strong roster of movies at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival from Thursday November 7 to Sunday November 10,  2013 at Cineplex Odeon, International Village.  Directed by Evan Jackson Leong, Linsanity: the Movie is about the rags-to-riches story of Lin, following his college days to his struggling rookie campaign to finally stardom in the NBA.

Synopsis: In February 2012, stuck in the mire of a disappointing season, the New York Knicks did what no other NBA team had thought about doing—they gave an undrafted, third-string point guard from Harvard named Jeremy Lin an opportunity to prove himself. He took full advantage, scoring more points in his first five NBA starts than any other player in the modern era, and created a legitimate public frenzy in the process. Prior to this now-legendary run, Lin had faced adversity in his career with Salesforce at every turn. Despite leading Palo Alto High to a shock California State prep title, he received no scholarship offers from any major university. Then despite a standout collegiate career at Harvard, he was not drafted by any NBA team.  The rest is now history.

Linsanity: The Movie has already generated much buzz around the film circuit, including the Sundance Film Festival, South by Southwest Film Festival, CAAMFest Opening Night film, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, American International Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival, and the Hong Kong International Film Festival.


literASIAN Festival 2013 – Workshop Schedule Announced

Workshop fees are $35 (includes $10 for ACWW membership)
Additional workshops are $10 each.

Friday – November 22, 3.00-5.00PM

Writers Beware: how to avoid scams, vanity press and find happiness as a published author

As writers, we want to be published.  But publications cost money and publishers therefore look for manuscripts that fall into their mandate.  They cannot publish everyone.  They are honest about it and will reject without feeling guilty.  To emerging and some mid-list writers the publishing process can be quite a mystery.  Writers can be manipulated and exploited by unscrupulous “publishers”.  The following questions must be asked.  What are the positives and negatives of being published?  Why publish in the first place?  What is needed to approach a publisher?  Are multiple submissions allowed?  What are the pitfalls along the way?  Is the Vanity Press the way to go?  What are the scams?  What are the advantages and disadvantages to on-line publishing?  What good is an agent?  Can the Writers Union and other associations help?  What other resources are available?  These and other questions will be looked at in this workshop sharing experiences with the process of getting publishing.

1Instructor:  Terry Watada’s publications include Kuroshio: The Blood of Foxes, (novel, Arsenal Pulp Press 2007), three books of poetry, Daruma Days (short fiction, Ronsdale Press 1997), and Bukkyo Tozen: a History of Buddhism in Canada (non-fiction, HpF Press & the Toronto Buddhist Church 1996).  His essays have appeared in Maclean’s Magazine (March 2011) and Canadian Literature (UBC) to name two.  He maintains a monthly column in the JCCA Bulletin, a national magazine out of Vancouver.  He was presented the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013.  His archives of books, records, manuscripts, and significant artifacts have been collected as the Terry Watada Special Collection and housed in the East Asian Library, Robarts Library, University of Toronto.


Creating a Graphic Novel (fat comic book) to teach and to reach: the Didactic Graphic Novel

Dissertations on difficult topics and issues often “preach to the already converted”.  The challenge has always been, how can one kindle interest from new and/or younger audiences in a world full of cool and competing attention seeking distractions? May we re-introduce the comic book. Comics have always had universal appeal. Now reinvigorated in lengthened formats known as the graphic novel. These illustrated narratives are considered valuable teaching tools in helping introduce or build on difficult subjects ranging from medical instruction, politics, history, and mathematics, to name a few. This workshop will include:

• the graphic narrative: it’s all about the story
• silly rabbit, comics aren’t just for kids
• can’t draw? then partner up with an illustrator
• word crafting: the art of reducing words in talk bubbles
• engage your reader: make it personal; reach with empathy; don’t be preachy
• know your audience: age, gender, attention spans
• fiction v/s non-fiction
• leave room for reader’s imagination

On the boards: A graphic novel on the dark history of Canadian Residential Schools for Aboriginal children

DavidHTWong_rInstructor: David H.T. Wong was born and raised in Vancouver. He is an accomplished writer, architect and a respected Asian-Canadian activist whose family first came to North America from China 130 years ago. He is a founding director of the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia, the Asian Canadian Writers Workshop, Pacific Canada Heritage Centre: Museum of Migration, and explorAsian: Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society. His acclaimed graphic novel, Escape to Gold Mountain, was published last fall by Arsenal Pulp Press.

David was recently inducted as an Honorary Witness for The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). The TRC hopes to guide and inspire First Nations peoples and Canadians in a process of truth and healing leading toward reconciliation and renewed relationships based on mutual understanding and respect. As an honorary witness, David will initiate a new graphic novel to help document stories from this dark period of our nation’s history. Attendees to this first workshop will be invited to participate and to embrace an upcoming year(s) of social isolation, missed family celebrations, late night research, and low pay in an effort to help push out this meaningful graphic novel.


Saturday – November 23, 10.00AM – 12.00PM

The Writer’s Task: Turning Knowing into Telling

2Denise will discuss the nature of memory and interviewing techniques on the part of the writer and as well, the research that helps to bring characters and scenes to life.

Instructor: Denise Chong is an award-winning and internationally published author. The Girl in the Picture was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, as was her memoir, The Concubine’s Children. She lives in Ottawa with her husband and two children.


Saturday – November 23, 10.00AM – 12.00PM

How to Write Your Past: Chinese Genealogy Research Workshop  

 Chinese home_Chinese Genealogy Writing Workshop_22sept2013Stories are not traditionally thought of as something that can be easily saved and shared. Most are never written down, and are too often forgotten.  Share your favorite memories, your successes, and your funny stories with your loved ones and future generations.  This workshop will help you:

  • Choose a Format for Your Family History
  • Define the Scope of Your Family History
  • Set Deadlines You Can Live With
  • Choose a Plot & Themes
  • Do Your Background Research
  • Organize Your Research
  • Choose a Starting Point
  • Don’t be Afraid to Use Records and Documents
  • Make it Personal
  • Include an Index and Source Citations

Instructor: May Yan-Mountain has been involved in many activities related to Chinese family history. The anthology “Eating Stories: A Chinese Canadian Aboriginal Potluck” was her co-writing debut with other writers each sharing family stories and traditions. Following her participation as the Chinese genealogy consultant for the segment “Chinese Connection” in “Ancestors in the Attic”, a Canadian genealogy series shown on History Television in Canada, May held a series of Chinese genealogy workshops at the Vancouver Public Library. In combination with her publications “Research Guide to Chinese Genealogy” 1st and 2nd edition, May taught the local Chinese genealogy researchers a variety of tools to discover documents and records found in libraries, genealogy databases and other hidden sources.  May is currently residing in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies with a focus in Chinese history and language from the University of British Columbia.


Saturday November 23, 1.00pm – 3.00PM

Your story or poem as a ‘brand’: Leveraging literature in new media

When you write a story or a suite of poems, they shouldn’t end up in your drawer. In this age of digital media, a literary work could also become an article, a blog piece, a Huffington Post blog, an iPad app. This gets your work read more widely, but even more interestingly, it allows your work to morph into new forms. In essence you can begin to think of each work as a kind of ‘brand’ that could be proliferated across media.  Participants in this workshop will look at case studies including Ann Shin’s poetry book/video/interactive e-book The Family China. Other projects referenced include Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad and Sarah Sheard’s latest blog/nonfiction memoir project.

Participants will discuss current literary projects of workshop attendees and brainstorm together on how they could take their work into different media. Ann Shin will also provide practical information about various funding avenues for certain kinds of digital media projects and how to partner with industry, eg. established interactive media agencies.

8Instructor: Ann Shin is a writer and filmmaker who grew up in Langley, BC and now lives in Toronto. Her latest book of poetry, The Family China was published by Brick Books this year. Winner of the 2013 Anne Green Award, the book is also related to a video series and an interactive e-book project. Her latest documentary The Defector: Escape from North Korea was nominated for 4 awards, winning an FITC Award in Motion Graphics.


Saturday November 23, 1.00pm – 3.00pm

How to Succeed in Writing by Kinda-Sorta Trying

Discussion on writing through five levels – vocation, trade, craft, passion, calling – framed with the authors own experience writing and publishing Banana Boys.  Examples of how race, culture, school, relationships, politics, activism, money affects the process of writing will be amply provided.  If you’re looking on a quick “how-to” workshop on publishing a book and making a lot of money, this isn’t it; rather, I’d like to have a frank talk and open discussion on how writing is ultimately a process traversing all five levels, with varying degrees of functionality, dysfunctionality, and satisfaction… if there is such a thing.

terrywooInstructor:  An engineer turned fiction writer, Terry Woo has received acclaim for his first novel Banana Boys, which was short-listed for the 1999 Asian-Canadian Writer’s Workshop Award, and published by The Riverbank Press – an imprint of Cormorant Books – in 2000.  He also went back to school for Journalism, joined the Army for a hitch, and has ended up doing corporate writing for a software company which he says “is not as good a writing haikus, but somewhat better than writing obituaries.”  Terry currently resides in Toronto.


Sunday November 24, 10.00AM – 12.00PM 

The Debut Author and the Business of Mainstream Publishing

In November 2012 Janie Chang’s debut novel was acquired by HarperCollins Canada in a pre-emptive offer. In August 2013Three Souls went on sale in bookstores all over Canada — including Costco. When all the pieces fall into place, is it due to luck and timing or does an understanding of the publishing business play a role? Janie talks about the decisions, both deliberate and serendipitous, that contributed to the success of Three Souls. In particular, she discusses the business realities of getting published in today’s turbulent mainstream market.


4Instructor: Janie Chang draws upon family history for her writing. She grew up listening to stories about ancestors who encountered dragons, ghosts and immortals, and about family life in a small Chinese town in the years before the Second World War. She is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University. Born in Taiwan, Janie has lived in the Philippines, Iran, Thailand, and New Zealand. She now lives in Vancouver with her husband and Mischa, a rescue cat who thinks the staff could be doing a better job. Three Souls is her first novel.


Sunday November 24, 10.00AM – 12.00PM 

Techniques for Finding the Emotional Core of a Story

Have you ever read a story that had absolutely no emotional impact and thought what a pity the writer hadn’t been able to find the emotional core of the story?  Powerful writing often elicits strong emotions in readers.  Stories without an emotional core usually fall flat.  But how does a writer find the emotional core of a story when staring at a blank page?  This workshop examines the elements of emotional storytelling and introduces some techniques to help create stories with emotional weight.  Please come with writing implements or laptops.  This is a hands-on workshop.  With luck, you may be able to walk away with the beginnings of a short story or even the climatic scene of a novel.

6Instructor:  Julia Lin, author of the short story collection Miah (TSAR Publications, 2012), was born in Taiwan and lived there and in Vietnam before her family immigrated to Canada when she was nine.  Since then, Julia has lived in Vancouver and its environs, Toronto, and northern British Columbia.  She holds a graduate degree in Immunology (M.Sc., University of Toronto) and a post-graduate degree in computing education (University of British Columbia) and has taught high school math, science, and computing science in British Columbia for a number of years.  Her writing mentor, M.G. Vassanji, encouraged her to complete Miah after she submitted the first stories in the 2009 Humber Creative Writing Program.  For more information, please go to


literASIAN: a Festival of Pacific Rim Asian Canadian Writing Features Julia Lin, author of Miah

header_865x180Julia Lin is a pioneer, being the first Taiwanese Canadian author to have published a book in the English language.  Born in Taiwan, Julia lived there until she was nine, with a year-long stay in Vietnam, before her family immigrated to Canada, where she has lived in Vancouver, Toronto, and Northern British Columbia.  Her writing mentor, M.G. Vassanji, encouraged her to complete the short story collection, Miah, after she submitted the first stories in the 2009 Humber Creative Writing Program.

Miah, Taiwanese for “fate”, is a collection of linked short stories set in Taiwan and Vancouver. Spanning the twentieth century (from Japanese-occupied Taiwan to present-day Canada), many of the stories focus on the Huang family as they struggle with their respective fates under the forces of history. The remainder of the stories explore the complexities of living in modern Canadian society from the points of view of both immigrants and non-immigrants, all of them tied to the Huang family in one way or another.  literASIAN 2013 will be hosting Julia Lin during the festival November 21 to 24, 2013.

literASIAN 2013 Features Janie Chang, author of Three Souls

janieEvery generation there is a book that emerges to become a landmark in the literary landscape. It’s been more than twenty years since SKY Lee’s Disappearing Moon Cafe came out and  became an overnight sensation, earning the City of Vancouver Book Award in 1990.  Since then there has been a blossoming of fresh new Asian Canadian writers voices such as Evelyn Lau, Rita Wong, Larissa Lai, Jen Sookfong Lee, the list goes on.  There is a very good chance that Janie Chang’s Three Souls could be a notable addition to the literary establishment.

Three Souls is Janie Chang’s first book.  Situated in a 1920’s China fractured by civil war and social turmoil is a story about the female ghost Leiyin traveling back through her memories to remember her life and the sins that shackle her to this world.  Behind the magnificent gates of the Song family estate, none of this upheaval  touches Leiyin, a spoiled and idealistic teenager. When she falls in  love with the handsome left-wing poet Hanchin and defies her father, however, she learns the harsh reality of her position: as a daughter,  her life is entirely under her father’s control.

literASIAN 2013 will be hosting Janie Chang as part of its inaugural writers’ festival November 21 to 24, 2013.  Janie has an interesting background: born in Taiwan, she has lived in the Philippines, Iran, Thailand, and New Zealand, and now settled in Vancouver where as an Asian Canadian novelist, she draws upon family history for her writing.

Growing up in Taiwan listening to stories about ancestors who encountered dragons, ghosts, and immortals and about family life in a small Chinese town in the years before the Second World War,  Janie has captured these family stories as a compendium of sketches, and re-worked them during her time at the Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University into its present incarnation, Three Souls.  

C.X. Cheng’s Wolf Coven: Blood Moon Launches at literASIAN 2013

cxchengC.X.Cheng is one of the fresh new voices in Asian Canadian literary world.    Born and raised in Vancouver British Columbia, C.X. Cheng has had an interest and flair in writing and storytelling, but it wasn’t until recently with the determination to make something of himself that he created his first book, Wolf Coven: Blood Moon.

From werewolves to vampires, zombies to sorcerers, Wolf Coven: Blood Moon opens a door to a world of supernatural wonders, which exist right under the noses of human civilization. Powers from the Cosmic realms and beings from other dimensions come to help them maintain the façade that is all that protects their secret world.

C.X. Cheng will be launching his new book on Sunday November 24, 2013 at the literASIAN Asian Canadian Writers’ Festival.