Category Archives: Literary Events

Canada’s First Asian Canadian Writers Festival, September 21 to 25

LiterAsian poster5.6 print-page-001 copy

Our Theme – History and Memory
As Canada nears its 150 celebration of Confederation, it is timely for the Asian Canadian community to gather to reflect on its history.
Festival Pass
This year we are launching a festival pass. This $20 festival pass will allow the purchaser unlimited access to all five of our workshops and three panels as well as an annual membership to ACWW which includes subscription to the online version of Ricepaper magazine and discounts to some community partnership events. A good deal plus a great way to show your support to the Asian Canadian writing community.
Opening Event

Panel Discussion: Searching the Past – Locating History and Memory 
Vancouver Public Library, 350 W Georgia Street
Wednesday, September 21, 6.00pm

Our opening event will be hosted jointly by the Vancouver Public Library on Wednesday, Sept 21, 6pm at the Central Branch lower level, Alice MacKay Room. The panel will explore the different ways we chose to gather and record the past and illuminate the deeds of earlier generations. The panel will include Award-winning authors and editors, Paul Yee, Denise Chong, SKY Lee, JJ Lee, Simon Choa Johnston, Jean Barman and Judy Hanazawa.

Additional Panels

Crossing Boundaries: Writing the Diaspora
Chinese Cultural Centre Museum 555 Columbia Street
Friday, September 23, 6.00pm

Aside from the opening event panel at VPL, we have a Friday evening 6pm panel “Crossing Boundaries: Writing the Diaspora” at the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum (555 Columbia Street). The panel will look at History and Memory from the perspective of diasporic writing when our writers situate their stories beyond Canadian shores. Panelists, Simon Choa Johnston’s new publication, The House of Two Wives begin his story in Calcutta by way of Bagdad and eventually end up in Hong Kong. C. Fong Hsiung traces the plight of the Hakka community following the India-China war of 1962, the Chinese Indians (the Hakka), fearing suspicion and hostility, begin to emigrate. Fong Hsiung’s main character, Jillian Wu was sent to Canada as a picture bride to marry a man she had never met. Filmmaker and director, Cheuk Kwan and cinematographer, Kwoi Jin are partners in a 15 part documentary series “Chinese Restaurants” that tells the stories of the diasporic Chinese from such places such as Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, India, Israel, Madagascar, Mauritius , Norway, Peru, South Africa, Trinidad, Turkey and Canada. They will discuss their new book project to further elaborate on what didn’t ‘make it” into the film. Anna Wang Yuan is a Canadian novelist currently living in California. She edited an anthology “The Strangers” a short story collection by nine new generation ethnic Chinese writers, mostly immigrants who reflect the alienation of being a stranger in a strange land.

The Medium as the Message: Telling Stories Beyond the Written Word

Chinese Cultural Centre Museum 555 Columbia Street, Vancouver, BC
Saturday, September 24, 3.00pm

The written word is not the only way we can communicate our idea. This panel brings together storytellers, filmmakers and those who use other creative means to create effective content. Sarah Ling is a part of a team of producers, writers and filmmakers that are based in U.B.C. and together with elder Larry grant has chronicled Larry dual native aboriginal/Chinese heritage on film. Dan Seto uses youtube as a vehicle for his “Chinese Canadian Roots TV” to explore and chronicling his roots through cooking, culture, travel, history and events. 1985 to 1987, Paul Yee served as Chairman of the Saltwater City Exhibition Committee of the Chinese Cultural Centre and along with David Wong, help put together this seminal Exhibition about the Chinese in Vancouver. David Wong also published an acclaimed graphic novel,”Escape from Gold Mountain”. Filmmaker and director, Cheuk Kwan and cinematographer, Kwoi Jin are partners in a 15 part documentary series “Chinese Restaurants” that tells the stories of the diasporic Chinese from such places such as Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, India, Israel, Madagascar, Mauritius , Norway, Peru, South Africa, Trinidad, Turkey and Canada.  This is a multi-media panel where each panelist will showcase some of their activities and discuss the creative process behind work.

Location for all workshops – UBC Learning Centre (612 Main Street)

1. The Self-Publishing Process (September 24, 11.00AM-12.30PM) – Workshop leader – Edwin Lee

2. Writing A Reflective Memoir: Telling a Great Story from Beginning to End (September 24, 1.00PM-2.30PM) Workshop leader – J.J. Lee

3. Literature and Rendering Memory (September 25, 11.00AM-12.30PM)Workshop leader – Denise Chong

4. Food and Inspiration of Storytelling from Memory (September 25, 1.00PM-2.30PM) Workshop leader – Larry Wong

5. Writing Effectively Using a ‘Trace’ and a ‘Hook’ (September 25, 3.00PM-4.30PM) – Workshop leader – Jean Barman

Book Launches

Book Launch: “Gently to Nagasaki” by Joy Kogawa 

Vancouver Public library, Central Branch, Lower floor, Alice MacKay Room
September 22, 6:30pmJoy Kogawa’s new memoir, “Gently to Nagasaki” is presented in partnership with the Historic Joy Kogawa House, the Vancouver Public Library, and Caitlin Press. This intimate exploration, both communal and intensely personal, invites you on a spiritual pilgrimage of forgiveness and resilience. Set in Vancouver and Toronto, the outposts of Slocan and Coaldale, the streets of Nagasaki and the high mountains of Shikoku, Japan, it is also an account of a remarkable life.
Book Launch: Picture Bride by C. Fong Hsiung Chinese Cultural Centre Museum, 555 Columbia Street, Vancouver,
Saturday, September 24, 2.00pm
Following the India-China war of 1962, the Chinese Indians (the Hakka), fearing suspicion and hostility, begin to emigrate. In Picture Bride, set during a period of changing times and changing values, twenty-year-old Jillian Wu leaves Calcutta to marry a man she has never met—Peter Chou, also a Hakka—with much anticipation, only to discover that he is gay. Forced by her husband to keep up the charade of a “normal” marriage, and pressured by her in-laws to have a child, she flees back to Calcutta, only to be disowned by her conservative family. A moving story with political overtones, Picture Bride confronts the politics of family, culture, and women’s rights.
Book Launch: The Strangers edited by Anna Wang Yuan

Chinese Cultural Centre Museum, 555 Columbia Street, Vancouver, BC., Saturday,

September 24, 4.00pm

What kind of images does “Chinese” stir up in your mind? Do you think of strange-looking workers who built the railroads before 1900? Or the quiet math genius from your high school whose strange-sounding name you’ve long forgotten? Perhaps you recall the mysterious man who brought bags of cash to pay for a car or even a house. In a time of globalization, you’ve learned to work with strangers and live amongst strangers, yet you’ve probably only read books written by familiar names. Anna Wang Yuan compiled the nine stories and written the foreword.
LiterASIAN at WORD Vancouver (11.00am to 5.00pm Library Square)

Come join us at the annual Word Vancouver, down at Library Square and meet our featured writers, Paul Yee, Simon Choa Johnston, JJ Lee and Joy Kogawa.  Come and say Hello at the Ricepaper Magazine/literasian table  Word Vancouver is Western Canada’s largest celebration of literacy and reading event. Book and magazine fair celebrating literacy and the printed word. (

Closing Event

Gala Dinner $50 per person 

Sunday September 25, 6pm

Golden Phoenix Restaurant 2425 Nanaimo StreetCome join in to share a meal that includes a 10-course Peking Duck dinner and have a chance to meet and talk to and get your books signed by the featured writers, in our 2016 program. Our Gala dinner is a fun-filled event which includes celebrity MCs and music from our literASIAN house band with lots of prizes and of course, a ten course Chinese meal.

The $50 ticket also offers a one-year membership to the ACWW as well as a one-year subscription to Ricepaper Magazine (online version) and discounts and special opportunities to community partner events. So come and support the creation of new writers and readers in our community and celebrate the end of another successful festival.

AlliterAsian Twenty Years of Ricepaper Magazine

alliterasianA wide-ranging anthology of Asian Canadian literature to celebrate 20 years of Ricepaper.

2015 marks the 20th anniversary of Ricepaper magazine, a pioneering periodical devoted to Asian-Canadian writing. Over the years, Ricepaper‘s focus has shifted from predominantly arts and culture reporting to the publication of original literature; as such, it has both witnessed and cultivated the maturation of an Asian-Canadian literary tradition; indeed, many of today’s most acclaimed Asian-Canadian writers were first published in the pages of Ricepaper.

This celebratory anthology features exclusive interviews first published in Ricepaperwith David Suzuki, Tobias Wong, Ruth Ozeki, Evelyn Lau, Denise Chong, and Madeleine Thien. In addition, exciting voices in Canadian literature are represented by Kim Fu, Doretta Lau, Corinna Chong, Terry Watada, Derwin Mak, Eric Choi, and C.E. Gatchalian. Established and emerging poets such as Fred Wah, Evelyn Lau, Rita Wong, Souvankham Thammavongsa, and Michael Prior also grace the anthology with their work. Finally, three award-winning authors have given permission for excerpts of their works-in-progress to be included: Joy Kogawa (Gently to Nagasaki, a new memoir about Japanese atrocities during World War II), Yasuko Thanh (“Lucky in Saigon,” a novel soon to be published as Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains), and SKY Lee (Progress in Process).

AlliterAsian is an intriguing and multi-faceted record of Asian-Canadian writing that pays homage to the legacy of Ricepaper and its contribution to the evolving and increasingly diverse landscape of Canadian literature.

Think it would make a great present for yourself and your library?   Order a copy today.

Are You Ready? literASIAN is Back! October 9-12, 2014


The Vancouver Asian Writers’ Workshop (ACWW) is pleased to announce the countdown to its much anticipated celebration of Pacific Rim Asian Canadian writing set for October 9th to 12th, 2014 in Vancouver, BC. As a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote awareness of Asian Canadian literature, history, and culture, ACWW provide a supportive and culturally sensitive environment for members from a common Pacific Rim Asian Canadian heritage. ACWW also is the publisher of Ricepaper Magazine.

The main venue for the festival is the UBC Learning Exchange situated in the middle of Vancouver’s historical Chinatown at 612 Main Street. The UBC Learning Exchange is a community engagement initiative that brings together a wide variety of people, and facilitates connections in the Downtown Eastside between local residents, organizations and the UBC Community.

LiterASIAN 2014: A Festival of Pacific Rim Asian Canadian Writing begins Oct. 9 – 12 and will feature authors, Fred Wah, Louise Bak, Tom Cho, Corinna Chong, Doretta Lau,Edwin Lee, Serena Leung, Kim Fu, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Yasuko Nguyen Thanh, Elsie Sze and Lily Chow. There will be author readings, book launches and book signings, a special poetry reading evening with open mike, Book fair, outreach event at Richmond Library and Cultural Centre and our second annual celebration dinner fundraiser at the Pink Pearl Restaurant.

LiterASIAN: a Festival of Pacific Rim Asian Canadian Writing is a community-building initiative by the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop and Ricepaper Magazine.

Interviews and photo opportunities are available.

For media inquiries contact Festival Director, Jim Wong-Chu -604-355-579 5
Website: |

literASIAN 2013: A Festival of Pacific Rim Asian Canadian Writing

literASIAN: A Festival of Pacific Rim Asian Canadian Writing represents a turning point in the Asian Canadian literary world, a maturation of over eighteen years of hard work.   In 1996, an inexperienced ragtag group of writers of Asian descent formed a non-profit society to help fledgling writers who would otherwise be neglected by mainstream publishers to have their voices heard and their words written.   The Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop Society (ACWW) was thus born.

The mission was simple but noble: establish a support network to promote these writers with an inclusive and sensitive environment to produce writing that was personal and representative of their identity.  What was initially an activist project matured eighteen years later into a social and cultural fabric of the Canadian literary canon.

Festival Director Jim Wong-Chu with opening remarks to literASIAN 2013.

UBC Learning Exchange Director Kathleen Leahy welcomes audience.

(Organizing Committee of literASIAN 2013: Left to Right – Chris Koch, Kathleen Leahy, Mark Smith, Allan Cho, Jim Wong-Chu, Sid Tan)

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.

Banana Boys’ Terry Woo coming to literASIAN Writers’ Festival November 21-24

wooIt’s hard to believe, but we’re only a couple of months away from the long-awaited return of Terry Woo to the Asian Canadian literary stage.  The author of of Banana Boys will be the featured author and workshop instructor at literASIAN: a Festival of Pacific Rim Asian Canadian Writing.  Banana Boys is a novel about five Chinese Canadians, “Bananas” (read: yellow on the outside, white on the inside), caught in between two cultures which do not seem to accept them fully. Not quite Chinese and not really Canadian, they stumble through stories, situations, incidents, interactions that are seemingly mundane, but upon closer examination, ultimately explore the nature of identity, and reveal the possibilities within themselves.

Alienated, frustrated and neurally-overactive, the story takes them through a complicated and sometimes bewildering sea of relationships, traditions, values, technological revolution, pop-culture and social change. They struggle with the trials and tribulations that modern Canadian society poses to all marginals, generally finding ignorance and misunderstanding from virtually every source except each other.  Terry will be offering a once in a lifetime workshop, How to Succeed in Writing by Kinda-Sorta Trying on Saturday November 23, 1.00-3.00PM.  Mark you calendars.

Historic Joy Kogawa House welcomes new writer-in-exile Ava Homa

When we started the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society, we asked author Joy Kogawa, what kinds of writers she would like to see at the house.  She answered “Writers of Conscience.”

On May 1st, we will welcome our 5th writer-in-residence, since helping to save Joy Kogawa’s childhood home from impending demolition – A house that was “confiscated” from her family and sold, while her family was locked away in an internment camp for “Enemy Aliens” during WW2.  Joy was six years old at the time, and had been born in Canada. No Japanese-Canadians were ever charged with a crime.

I think that our four writers previously: John Asfour (Montreal), Nancy Lee (Richmond), Susan Crean (Toronto), Deborah Willis (Victoria), have all brought social issues to the forefront.  They have shared their stories, the work of other writers, and have also assisted writers.

Here is the release from PEN Canada:

Historic Joy Kogawa House residency awarded to PEN Writer-in-Exile Ava Homa

TORONTO, April 30, 2013 /CNW/ – Kurdish Iranian author  Ava Homa , a PEN Canada Writer-in-Exile, has been chosen as the next writer-in-residence at Vancouver’s Historic Joy Kogawa House. Homa’s three-month residency, funded by the Canada Council Residency Program and the British Columbia Arts Council, will begin on May 1, 2013, and focus on writing, research and community programs.

The Historic Joy Kogawa House Society is a community-based arts group that supports a writer-in-residence on a volunteer basis. Set in the former home of the author Joy Kogawa , the program seeks to foster a wider appreciation of Canadian literature within the communities of Metropolitan Vancouver. Homa will supervise creative writing workshops, consult with emerging writers and use the time to complete a novel about immigration, displacement and culture shock – themes germane to the fiction of Joy Kogawa and to the mandate of the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society.

Born and educated in Iran, Ava Homa holds an MA in English Language and Literature from the University of Tehran and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Windsor. In 2010 TSAR Publications published her debut collection of short stories, Echoes from the Other Land, which was subsequently chosen as one of ten People’s Choice finalists in the 2011 Canada Reads competition.

Homa’s short fiction and translations have appeared in several English and Farsi journals and newspapers, including The Windsor Review and The Toronto Star. Homa has been a member of PEN Canada’s Writers in Exile network since 2011 and was the 2012 PEN Lecturer-in-Residence at  George Brown  College

PEN Canada is a nonpartisan organization of writers that works with others to defend freedom of expression as a basic human right, at home and abroad. PEN Canada promotes literature, fights censorship, helps free persecuted writers from prison, and assists writers living in exile in Canada. PEN Canada’s Writers in Exile program helps authors and journalists who have been silenced in their country of origin to establish themselves in Canada.

Historic Joy Kogawa House is situated in the former home of the Canadian author Joy Kogawa (born 1935), where she lived until age six. It stands as a cultural and historical reminder of the expropriation of property that all Canadians of Japanese descent experienced after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Between 2003 and 2006, a grassroots committee fundraised in a well-publicized national campaign and, with the help of The Land Conservancy of BC, a non-profit land trust, managed to purchase the house in 2006.


BC Book Prizes

The BC Book Prizes took place on May 12, at the Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema at SFU Woodwards, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.  I always enjoy this event probably because 1) I enjoy books a lot 2) because the books and the authors themselves address what it means to be Canadian and a British Columbian.  Even if they are writing about Paris or elsewhere… there is still as sense of pride that the authors are from BC, and they are addressing world issues, or simply creating joy for young readers.
Host Charles Demers poses with Brian Brett – winner of the Lt. Governors Award for Literary Excellence, while Alan Twigg snaps a picture for BC Book World.  Alan is one of the founders of the BC Book Prizes.   In 2010, Charles’ book “Vancouver Special” was a finalist for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize.  It is a special book for me, because Charles writes about Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner and “Toddish McWong” in his section about Chinatown.
Grant Laurence, his wife Jill Barber, and Todd Wong.  Last year Grant won the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award for his book “Adventures in Solitude: What Not to Wear to a Nude Potluck and Other Stories from Desolation Sound,” which was also a finalist for the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize.   Last year, we tried to invite Grant to a Desolation Sound version of Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner in Okeover, while I was attending Okeover Ceilidh Weekend at the summer home of my friend Allan McMordie.  But a week later, Allan kayaked by Grant’s cabin, and they chatted.
JJ Lee strikes a pose with Linda Johnston, a board member for the BC Book Prizes. JJ’s book “The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit” was nominated for the Hubert Evans Non-fiction Prize.   I have known Linda for many years, initially as a fellow board member for Canadian Club Vancouver.  I first met JJ when he was a member of the Hot Sauce Posse, a skit comedy troupe composed of writers and producers from CBC Radio in Vancouver.
Ann-Marie Metten, Todd Wong, JJ Lee and his wife Melissa.  Ann-Marie served on the board of the BC Book Prizes for many years.  In fact, she is the reason why I first attended in 2006.  We met in 2005 and joined forces to re-create and re-invigorate the Save Kogawa House committee.   In 2006, the house was saved from threat of demolition and purchased by TLC: The Land Conservancy of BC.  Now she is our volunteer Executive Director, and I am Chair of the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society.  We work with the literary community and help to present events, and create the writer-in-residence program at Historic Joy Kogawa House.
Here is a list of winners and notable intercultural finalists:

Half-Blood Blues Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize Winner! Half-Blood Blues – by Esi Edugyan

this is notable because it tells the story of black-American jazz musicians in the salons of Paris and the cabarets of Germany in the 1940’s of WW2.

 Eating Dirt  Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize Winner! Eating Dirt – by Charlotte Gill

 Drink the Bitter Root  finalist -Drink the Bitter Root by Gary Geddes

this is notable because Gary Geddes traveled to Africa to explore the post-genocide, post-Somalia Affair and child soldier issues in Rwanda, Uganda, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Somaliland.  Gary won the Lt. Governor’s Award for Literary Achievement in 2008, and read at Historic Joy Kogawa House in 2009 with his friend and inaugural writer-in-residence at Kogawa House, John Asfour.

 The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit  finalist The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit by JJ Lee

This is notable because JJ Lee tells the story of his Chinese immigrant father, and how he apprentices as a tailor at Vancouver Chinatown’s last tailor shop “Modernize Tailors”, run by my family friends Bill and Jack Wong.  This book was also a finalist for  Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction (2012) and Governor General’s Literary Award – Non-Fiction (2012).

 Something Fierce  finalist Something Fierce by Carmen Aguirre

This is notable because Carmen writes about her childhood growing up as a revolutionary in Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile.  She describes fleeing Chile to Canada as a child, then returning to Chile to become part of the resistance movement.

crawlspace  Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize Winner! crawlspace by John Pass

Demeter Goes Skydiving  finalist Demeter Goes Skydiving by Susan McCaslin

This is notable because it conjures up all the gods, goddesses and demi-gods of ancient Greece.  And Susan used to teach Joy Kogawa’s book Obasan

Discovery Passages  Discovery Passages  by Garry Thomas Morse

This is notable because “With its continuous poetic dialogue of “discovery” and “recovery”, Discovery Passages sets out to recover the appropriated, stolen and scattered world of the author’s ancestral people, the Kwakwaka’wakw.”

The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver  Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize

Winner! The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver  by Chuck Davis

This is notable because the history of Japanese, Chinese, First Nations and South Asians are all included in the history of Metropolitan Vancouver, as well as the history of Scots, Irish, Italians, Jewish and English immigrants and descendants.


Blood Red Road  Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize Winner! Blood Red Road  by Moira Young


When I Was Small   Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize Winner! When I Was Small by Sara O’Leary – Illustrated by Julie Morstad




John Asfour, our first writer-in-residence, returns to Historic Joy Kogawa House

John Asfour with his friend Judy Rebick, author and activist. – photo T.Wong
The return of John Asfour to Historic Joy Kogawa House
– our inaugural writer-in-residence from 2009. Tuesday, April 17, 7:30 till 9:00pm, for readings from his new poetry collection, Blindfold.

John Asfour served as our inaugural writer-in-residence in 2009, and during his three-month residency he completed this moving collection of poems on the distance surrounding disability. The poems were published in 2011 by McGill-Queens University Press and were recently selected to tour North America for the Association of American University Presses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show.

“Asfour provides readers with a deeply moving glimpse into the frustrations and disorientation of physical loss, as well as the heroic effort to find the language and metaphors that will translate his experience into poetry.” Harold Heft, The Montreal Gazette

John Asfour with friends: Shelagh Rogers, Jean Baird, George Bowering and George Stanley – photo T. Wong


John Mikhail Asfour is a translator and former professor of literature. The editor of the landmark anthology When the Words Burn: An Anthology of Modern Arabic Poetry, he has written four previous books of poems.

Admission by donation, but space is limited. To reserve a seat, please RSVP to

Kogawa House farewell event to Deborah Willis, our 4th writer-in-residence

Deborah Willis hosted her final reading at Historic Joy Kogawa House where she has been writer-in-residence since January.  John Asfour, our first writer-in-residence, was a surprise guest, as he is in town from Montreal for book launches of his new work Blindfold.
Deborah now goes on to her next writer in residence in Spain, and at University of Calgary,
Deborah Willis read a new short story that she had written while at Kogawa House.  The final event at the house was attended by friends, students and members of Kogawa House Society.
Prior to the reading, we had a dinner with members of the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society Board.  We were joined by Tamsin Baker, Vancouver area manager for The Land Conservancy of BC – owners of Kogawa House.  Author John Asfour was a surprise guest.  left to right in the photo is Tamsin, Deborah, Christine, Ann-Marie Metten and John Asfour.