Category Archives: Upcoming Events

Playwright Tara Beagan comes to Kogawa House

Playwright Tara Beagan comes to Kogawa House
Sunday, October 30, 2 to 4pm
1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver

Tara is a Toronto playwright of Thompson River Salish heritage. She won
the Dora Mavor Moore Award for her first play, Thy Neighbour’s Wife.
She is currently artistic director of Native Earth Theatre, Canada’s
oldest professional Aboriginal performing arts company, and we've
brought her to
Vancouver for a conversation with our writer-in-residence, Susan Crean, about writing as a means of social change.

Admission by donation – Space is limited
To reserve a seat, please RSVP to

upcoming events for Historic Joy Kogawa House



Writer-in-Residence Susan Crean with Evelyn Lau + life size photo of author Joy Kogawa – photo Todd Wong

so far you have missed newly appointed Poet Laureate of City of Vancouver Evelyn Lau Oct 2nd, and incredible adventure writer Eric Enno Tam Oct 16th.


Kogawa House

1450 W. 64th Ave @ Granville

To reserve a seat email 

Blogging at


Don't miss the following writers!


Tara Beagan  — Writing for Social Change

Tara is a multi-talented and prolific young theatre
artist, best known for her plays which have won numerous awards and
nominations. A “proud halfbreed of Ntlakapamux (Thompson River Salish) and
Irish Canadian heritage”, she is part of the new generation of Native artists
creating ambitious work that is edgy, funny and very smart. Tara is currently
artistic director of Native Earth Performing Arts, the oldest professional
Aboriginal performing arts company in Canada.  

This Sunday,
October 30th


Betsy Warland    Writing for Social Change

Poet, author and editor, Betsy Warland has been
writing on the cutting edge of feminist literature for thirty years. She has
been active in the feminist literary community, a mentor to many, and is currently
the director of the Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University. Her poetry, and
latterly her non-fiction, has pushed the boundaries of genre, even while she
engages in 

Sunday, November


Fauzia Rafiq     Writing for Social Change

Fuazia Rafi’s long-awaited novel, Skeena, was published in Punjabi in Pakistan in 2007, and in Canada
last Spring. It is the story of a Muslim Canadian woman, written in Skeena’s
own voice, which follows her journey from village, to Lahore, to Toronto and,
finally, Surrey.  Novelist Tariq Malik, a
member of the Kogawa House Board , will host the event with me.

Sunday, November


Joy Kogawa –
Book Luanch

Sheena Wilson launches her collection of essays on the
life and work of Joy Kogawa, Joy Kogawa,
Essays on Her Works
(Guernica). Wilson has contributed three articles and
an extensive Kogawa bibliography to the book. Several of the writers will be
present, as will Joy Kogawa.

Sunday, November


Wade Compton  — Writing for Social Change

Wade Compton is a well-known writer and activist who
is currently the writer-in-residence at the Vancouver Public Library. He is an
experimental poet (49th
Parallel Psalm, Performance Bond
), a DJ, who branched into non-fiction in
his most recent book After Canaan: Essays
on Race, Writing and Region.
His work is deeply imbued with history and

Sunday, November


Shirley Bear — Writing
for Social Change

Maliseet visual artist and writer Shirley Bear is from
the Tobique reserve in New Brunswick. Her work is in many collections and in
2009 the Beaverbrook Art Gallery mounted a retrospective of her work. She is who
also a writer who blurs the genres, and her book Virgin Bones  – Belayak Kcikug’nas’ikn’ug,
combines story, poetry, and prose. Shirley lived in Vancouver through the
1990s and was the Aboriginal Advisor at Emily Carr College.

Sunday, December

ACWW and Ricepaper had a good presence at Word On The Street

Asian Canadian Writer's Workshop had some of their best contributions at Word On The Street Festival


Here I am at the Ricepaper Magazine booth, organized by our managing editor Patricia Lim (right) and assisted by volunteer Jerry Tang (left).  Ricepaper is published by Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop for which I have been a director since 2000-2005 + 2008-2011.

Kudos to director Anna Ling Kaye for moderating on Saturday at Carnegie Centre,
and for managing editor Patricia Lim for organizing and staffing the Ricepaper booth on

  • 12:00 :: Ricepaper Magazine with
    Anna Ling Kaye

    recent Green Issue (16.2) features creative writing and non-fiction
    that revolves around nature, the environment, and landscape. Ricepaper
    magazine is a national quarterly magazine devoted to showcasing Asian
    Canadian artists, writers, performers, and innovators, and is published
    by The Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop. Writers and poets from Ricepaper will read and share their creative writing.

Usually I will spend some time behind the Ricepaper booth as an ACWW director, but I also helped to staff the booth for Historic Joy Kogawa House where I am president. 


Joy Kogawa is
currently in town, and made a late surprise appearance at the end of the
day to attend a talk by Susan Crean – the new
writer-in-residence at

Tetsuro attended JJ Lee's reading and gave BIG RAVES!…. I attended
readings by Jen Sookfong Lee, Wayde Compton, and Susan Crean. 


Kevin Chong signed a copy of his
new book “Beauty and Pity” for me, and I chatted with Evelyn Lau
afterwards (we are having dinner next week, following her reading at
Kogawa House on Sunday).


Bob Sung and Hayne Wai – are both are included in the book
“Chinese Canadian and Aboriginal Pot Luck” (along with ACWW co-president Allan Cho and
myself). Also – I saw local Chinatown historian
Larry Wong, with his new book @ the booth for Chinese Canadian
Historical Society – which I bought from Larry last week.  Larry's book features praise on the back cover, from his childhood and lifetime friend, Wayson Choy.


Myung Lee, publisher of Diverse Magazine, holds up an article about Gung Haggis Fat Choy that I co-wrote with my friend Allan Cho.  Allan also recently submitted
an article about Hapa Palooza, with some quotes from my blog.


When I saw Anna Ling Kaye, I called her over to introduce Marisa Alps,
an editor at Harbour Publishing.  Marisa is a former long time ACWW
director, and formerly shepherded the ACWW Emerging Writer Award.  She
is also a poet, and contributed to “Swallowing Clouds” the first
Chinese-Canadian poetry anthology, edited by Jim Wong-Chu, that sees its
12th anniversary this year.

Then I introduced Anna to Tradewinds publisher  Michael Katz… Michael
was a driving force behind the young adult anthology “Henry Lee and
Other Stories”.  Michael was immediately taken by Anna's young daughter
Pacific, and he pulled the Paul Yee book “Bamboo” out of my hands to
give to Pacific (saying to me “I'll give you another book”).

My friend Tetsuro Shigematsu (and ACWW board director) was especially affected by JJ Lee's reading today.  Tetsuro wrote on this FB that :

Today at Word on the Street, JJ Lee along with Sheryl MacKay
took a reading and raised it to a new level. The shivering audience
laughed and cried, as JJ spoke entertainingly and insightfully about his
new book, The Measure of a Man, a memoir about his stormy relationship
with his father reconstructed around the rebuilding of his father's
suit. Buy this book. You will love it. I guarantee it. And by
guarantee, I mean I will personally buy the book from you if you don't
love it. (JJ ran out of books to sign afterwards, so I couldn't buy one)
But I know because I read an advance copy!

Word On The Street Fair features most Asian-Canadian authors yet!

WOTS is featuring the largest number of
Asian-Canadian authors
I have ever seen at this event

Word On The Street – book and magazine Fair

Friday – come to Kogawa House and meet author Susan Crean
Sunday – join us for Ricepaper booth @ Word On the Street

I always attend WOTS – and can sometimes be found:
1) staffing the ACWW Ricepaper Magazine booth
2) staffing the Historic Joy Kogawa House booth
3) hosting an event
4) listening at an event
5) searching for good book deals
6) searching for good silent auction deals
7) visiting my fellow library co-workers at CUPE 391 and VPL booths
8) one year I played accordion at CUPE 391 booth

is a list of Asian-Canadian writers – + First Nations and Afro-Saxon
(as Wayde Compton describes himself). 
I know each of them – except
Sachiko and Richard.  I have made the list in chronological order, so you can start at 11am with Kevin Chong, and finish at 4:10 with Wayde Compton.

author headshot

Kevin Chong was born in Hong Kong in 1975. He is the author of Baroque-a-Nova, Neil Young Nation, and a forthcoming memoir on horseracing. Beauty Plus Pity is his first novel in ten years.

Kevin Chong is at the Canada Writes at 11:00

author headshot

JJ Lee is the menswear columnist for the Vancouver Sun
and broadcasts a weekly fashion column for CBC Radio in Vancouver. For
years, journalist and amateur tailor JJ Lee tried to ignore the navy
suit that hung at the back of his closet—his late father’s last suit. JJ
Lee will read from The Measure of a Man and…

JJ Lee is at the Authors Tent at 11:30

author headshot

Richard Wagamese is Ojibway but was separated from
his people for 20 years. When they reconnected, elders told him that he
was to be a storyteller. This has led to an award-winning career as a
writer and a journalist.

Richard Wagamese is at the Poetry Tent at 11:30

author headshot

Sachiko Murakami’s first poetry collection, The Invisibility Exhibit,
was a finalist for the Governer General’s Award for Poetry and the
Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. She is a past member of Vancouver’s
Kootenay School of Writing collective and now co-hosts the Pivot Reading

Sachiko Murakami is at the Poetry Tent at 11:45

author headshot

C. E. Gatchalian is the author of three books of
drama and one book of poetry. His plays have appeared on stages
nationally and internationally, as well as on radio and television. His
most recent undertaking, Crossing and Other Plays contains three plays: Crossing, Diamond and Ticks, that explore themes of sexuality…

C. E. Gatchalian is at the Authors Tent at 12:00

author headshot

Jen Sookfong Lee was born and raised in
Vancouver’s Eastside and is now the voice behind “Westcoast Words,” a
weekly writing column featured on CBC Radio One’s On the Coast and All Points West.

Jen Sookfong Lee is at the Canada Writes at 12:20

author headshot

Evelyn Lau is the author of four volumes of poetry, two works of non-fiction, two short story collections and a novel. Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid was a Canadian bestseller and was made into a CBC movie starring Sandra Oh in her first major role. Living Under Plastic won the 2011 Pat Lowther Memorial Award for Poetry.

Evelyn Lau is at the Carnegie Centre at 1:45

author headshot

Wayde Compton is a Vancouver writer whose books include After Canaan: Essays on Race, Writing, and Region, Performance Bond, Bluesprint: Black British Columbian Literature and Orature and 49th Parallel Psalm. Compton is also a co-founding member of the Hogan’s Alley Memorial Project, an organization…

Wayde Compton is at the Authors Tent at 4:10

Early media stories on Hapa Palooza – we got a buzz!

Early media stories on Hapa Palooza

– we got a buzz!

Hapa-Palooza challenges mixed-race stereotypes

Vancouver Sun – Vivian Luk – ‎Sep 7, 2011
The nickname Super Nip – partly derived from a Second World War term to
describe Japanese people – and racial jokes followed Jeff Chiba Stearns
everywhere when he was growing up in Kelowna.

Hapa-Palooza showcases Vancouver's 125 years of cultural passion

The Province – Tom Harrison – ‎Sep 7, 2011‎
This is especially true of Vancouver, where just boarding a SkyTrain is
a multi-cultural experience, or walking the streets can be an
eye-opening exercise in cultural diversity and acceptance.

Hapa-Palooza revels in fest of ethnic mashups – Jessica Werb – ‎14 hours ago‎
Here's to mixed heritage: circus artist Chris Murdoch will be among the
performers at the Hapa-Palooza event's wildly diverse Friday cabaret
night. Growing up, Zarah Martz never felt like she fully belonged.

Hapa-palooza hype builds, but will it deliver?

Open File – Meghan Mast – ‎Sep 6, 2011‎
It wasn't until this year, at age 56, that Jonina Kirton connected her
story with that of other mixed-race women. “I hadn't really put two and
two together that someone else could have almost the same experience as I
had,” says Kirton, who identifies

The Georgia Straight presents Hapa-Palooza – staff –  ‎Sep 6, 2011‎
Hapa is a Hawaiian word to describe someone of mixed heritage from
islands in the Pacific Ocean. And in recent years, it has gone on to
become a term to describe people of multiple ethnicities from around the
world. The following night in the same room

Interracial identities part of the mix at Hapapalooza Festival's Mixed – Craig Takeuchi – Sep 5, 2011

Interracial identities part of the mix at Hapa-palooza Festival's Mixed Flicks Anyways?” are part of the Mixed Flicks program at Hapa-palooza.

Upcoming Japanese-Canadian Festivals for July

Check out these upcoming events at the National Nikkei Museum
& Heritage Centre.
view image of Nikkei Place

Japanese Star Festival

July 7, 11am-9pm
Celebrate this traditional summer festival by making paper decorations
and writing your wish onto a colourful paper streamer, and then hang the
decoration on bamboo. A fun activity for all ages!

Yukata kitsuke workshop
Saturday, July 16, 2pm

Would you like to wear your Yukata more often to the summer fireworks
and festivals? This is your chance to learn step by step how to put on
your Yukata and look good.
Please bring a yukata, obi, 2 or 3 koshihimo, and wear a t-shirt or tank
top with shorts.
Minimum 3 people, maximum 10.
Parents can learn how to dress their kids. Children over 10 years old
can learn how to dress themself.
Registration fee $10. Tel 604.777.7000

National Nikkei Museum & Heritage Centre
6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby, BC

Marty Chan is coming to Kogawa House Wednesday – special price tickets for The Forbidden Phoenix

Special Marty Chan Reception at Historic Joy Kogawa House
on Wednesday March 30th

The Forbidden Phoenix

Playwright Marty Chan (Mom, Dad, I'm Living With A White Girl) is coming to Historic Joy Kogawa House.

This is a special reception, hosted by Kogawa House Society.  Marty is coming, and so is the costume designer.  They will talk about this new exciting play about the Chinese immigration to Canada, and how Monkey King is involved.

The evening is moderated by Todd Wong, creator of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, and who is active on the executive boards of Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop, Historic Joy Kogawa House Society and The Land Conservancy of BC.  Todd loves is a 5th generation Chinese Canadian, and loves Monkey King stories and Asian Canadian history.

Wednesday, March 30th.  7:30 to 9pm

Discount tickets to Marty Chan's
The Forbidden Phoenix

Marty Chan's The Forbidden
opens next month at the Gateway Theatre in Richmond. Become a
member of the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society and get the discount
ticket price.

Bonus: Meet the playwright this Wednesday, March 30, 7:30 to
at Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver.

$25 = Tax-deductible one-year membership in Historic Joy Kogawa House

$39 = One ticket to any production of The Forbidden Phoenix,
running April 7 to 23 at the Gateway Theatre in Richmond

$64 total

This event is a fundraiser for our writer-in-residence program at
Historic Joy Kogawa House, which September 15, 2011, to April 15, 2012.

For tickets, email email

About the play
The Forbidden Phoenix, combines adventure and martial arts to
present an eye-popping musical that tells the story of a father who
comes to Canada looking for a better life. High drama and visual
spectacle combine for a unique evening of family entertainment.
Performed in English with Chinese surtitles. The play runs April 7 to 23
at the Gateway Theatre in Richmond.

About the event
On Wednesday, March 30, please join us in the living room of Historic
Joy Kogawa House, childhood home of the author Joy Kogawa, for a rare
opportunity to sit with this master author, hear him read from the
playscript, and discuss the issues of history and mythology he raises in
his work.

About the playwright
Marty Chan explores the tensions between opposing forces of assimilation
and the search for heritage and cultural roots.

Marty Chan is an award-winning playwright. His Mom, Dad, I’m Living
with a White Girl
won the Sterling Award for Best New Play and Best
Sound Design, and Harvard University’s A.C.T. Award. The Forbidden
won the Alberta Literary Awards Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award
for Drama in 2004.

For tickets, email email

Gung Haggis dragon boat team 1st practice is this Sunday March 27th

Gung Haggis dragon boat team starts practice this Sunday, March 27

Gung Haggis dragon boat team at
Rio Tinto Alcan Festival – a mix of veteran and novice paddlers that
proudly made it to Rec B medal finals!

We start paddling this Sunday – March 27th 11am
Zone / South East False Creek Community Centre.

11am Sunday
6pm Wednesday
meet at Creekside Community Centre
Dragon Zone
for more information
contact coach Todd Wong
email gunghaggis at


was wonderful for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team. We
started paddling in January then took a break for the Olympics. We
celebrated with a big Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner at Floata where we
first met a Chinese lass born in Scotland, who came to join the dragon
boat team, starting the string of Irish, Yorkshire, French, Belgian and
Australian visitors to Canada who came to paddle and race with us.

boat races found us first time in A Division at
Lotus Races with the Community Spirit Award, in Rec B at Rio Tinto
Alcan Festival with a silver medal in Senior B Race, Silver medal and
2nd overall at Richmond with 1st prize of free entry for 2011 in the
challenge race. We partnered with Spirit of Vancouver and went to Banff
for a silver medal in C Division. In Ft. Langley both teams were in
the A Final. Wow!

The Gung Haggis team for 2011 – It will be

2011 is year 10, of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team, paddling
every year @ Alcan Races and beyond since 2002.  It is also year 15 for a
team that started in 1997 under the name Celebration Team and for which
the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner event was
created as a fundraiser for in 1999.  This is the only team that has
twice won the Hon. David Lam Award for the team that best exemplifies
the multicultural spirit of the dragon boat festival (2001 & 2005)


Gung Haggis Fat Choy paddlers bite
their silver medals at Richmond Dragon Boat Festival
– 2nd place
overall, and 1st in the steering challenge race.

An Intimate Evening with playwright Marty Chan @ Kogawa House

30 March · 19:30 21:00

Historic Joy Kogawa House

Created by:

More info
his role as Canadian playwright, radio writer, television story editor,
and young adult author, Marty Chan explores the tensions between
opposing forces of assimilation and the search for heritage and cultural

His new play, The Forbidden Phoenix, combines adventure,
martial arts, and the coolest 10-piece orchestra you’ve ever seen, in an
eye-popping musical that tells the story of a father who comes to
Canada looking for a better life. High drama and visual spectacle
combine for a unique evening of family entertainment. Performed in
English with Chinese surtitles.

Please join us in the living room
of Historic Joy Kogawa House, childhood home of the author Joy Kogawa,
for a rare opportunity to sit with this master author and indulge in the
art of his smooth prose.

Ticket price $65
Includes admission to any production of The Forbidden Phoenix, running April 7 to 23, at Richmond’s Gateway Theatre.

To purchase tickets, email

will be brilliant…. Marty is entertaining and very funny. He is the
playwright of “Mom, Dad, I'm Living With a White Girl.” I have been
waiting years for a story about Monkey King comes to Canada…. this is
it! Tickets to Kogawa House exclusive event include tickets to the
Forbidden Phoenix play at Gateway Theatre…. I am honoured to moderate
and host, Cheers, Todd

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is coming – with the Haiku contest

Every year the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival blooms!

I first met VCBF founder Linda Poole in 2005 at the planting of a Kogawa House cherry tree grafting at the City of Vancouver.  Since then the VCBF has grown with its events and partners.  It was wonderful to see Linda at the yarn bombing event of the Kogawa House cherry tree on Sunday.

Ricepaper Magazine publishes the winner of the Haiku Invitational poetry contest.  Personally, I have always thought it would be cool to have a haiku contest with a dragonboat theme, for all the paddlers in the city.  But until then… VCBF has a contest that attracts submissions from around the world.

  • Celebrate Metro Vancouver's cherry blossom legacy, one
    haiku at a time.  The Festival invites your fresh submissions to
    the 2011 Haiku Invitational presented by Leith
    Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd.  In honor of Vancouver's 125th
    anniversary the theme this year should celebrate community through the
    blossoming of the cherry trees. Submit your poem with the submission form at

  • Mark your calendar to pick up your Birthday
    cherry tree at your chosen location for
    Saturday April 2nd and Sunday April 3rd, 2011. As
    this is a special event this is the only weekend to
    bring your cherry tree home and they’ve grown beautifully tall! Thanks for
    supporting our green and pink initiative.


Festival Director
O : 604.257.8120  C:

Visit our website at
Vancouver's 125th birthday and order your Birthday Blossom Cherry Tree