Tag Archives: literASIAN

LiterASIAN 2015 – Celebrating 20 Years of Asian Canadian Writing

literasian2015_Thursday October 8 to Sunday October 11, 2015 – LiterASIAN Festival is back!  The 3rd annual Asian Canadian literary festival celebrates the best of Pacific Rim Asian Canadian literary talent.   LiterASIAN 2015 features readings, workshops, panel discussions and book launches. Featuring some of the Asian Canadian writing’s most innovative and creative writers in fantasy, science, and speculative fiction, history, and poetry, LiterASIAN is for literary enthusiasts, publishers, literary agents, and anyone interested in writing.  This year’s line-up includes:

  • Eric Choi & Derwin Mak (co-editors of Aurora Award winning anthology The Dragon and the Star)
  • Christina Park (The Homes We Build on Ashes)
  • JF Garrard (The Undead Sorceress, Designing Fate, How to Make a Munchkin)
  • Wesley Lowe (Terror Unleashed, Heaven Burning, Deadly Love, Ghosts of Chinatown)
  • Shirley Camia (The Significance of Moths)
  • Holman Wang (Star Wars Epic Yarns: A New Hope)
  • Presentation of the Emerging Writers Award winner!

Interviews and photo opportunities are available.

Website for registration: http://literasian.com | Contact: info@literasian.com

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: www.asiancanadianwriters.ca | www.ricepapermagazine.ca/literASIAN

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 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. www.escapetogoldmountain.com

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 www.julialinbooks.com.


Dim Sum Stories Author Larry Wong at literASIAN 2013

22Dim Sum Stories, evokes the Chinese-style of cuisine featuring many delectable dishes of dumplings and bite-sized morsels often socially tasted in Chinese restaurants in the mornings and late afternoons.  The Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop is producing the inaugural literASIAN: a Festival of Pacific Rim Asian Canadian Writing which will have Larry Wong as one of the featured authors at the opening reception on November 21 and closing dinner gala on November 24.  Larry will be giving a reading and author signing of Dim Sum Stories.

Dim Sum Stories: A Chinatown Childhood is Larry Wong’s memoirs, a nostalgic glimpse back at growing up in Vancouver’s Chinatown during the 1940s and ’50s, and paints the portrait of his family.

Larry’s father is a central part of Dim Sum Stories, where his journey began from a Chinese village to settling in Canada. The senior Wong’s story is much like those of other Chinese who immigrated to British Columbia during and following the gold rush. After setting up a shirt-tailoring store, he was able to save and borrow enough to bring his wife and children over.   This story of struggle and survival also inspired Larry’s most recent play Empress of Asiaperformed at the Firehall Arts Centre.

His interest in history has seen him serving on a number of heritage committees, and as a mentor, consultant and resource person for a number of writers and scholars. He has been acknowledged in Chinese Canadian history books such as Paul Yee’s Saltwater City and Wayson Choy’s books. One of his current activities is the popular feature, “Ask Larry” on the Chinese Canadian Historical Society website. Part of his research on Chinatown can be seen on display at 5 West Pender Street as well as the Chinese military museum in the Chinese Cultural Centre.  For more information, please visit: www.asiancanadianwriters.ca or www.ricepapermagazine.ca

Terry Watadata Brings Nikkei Manga-gatari to literASIAN 2013

terry_watada_headshotDavid HT Wong’s Escape to Gold Mountain is just one of many great new graphic novels to come from Asian Canadian authors.  Terry Watada will be launching the first Japanese Canadian graphic novel at literASIAN 2013 in November, organized by the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop (ACWW).   How do we deliver Nikkei historical information in an engaging and creative manner? One vehicle might be the Japanese manga genre – although it must be noted that not all youth are drawn to it.

Nikkei Manga-gatari traces and ties together three generations of Nikkei history and culture in an engaging visual format.  The inspiration for this project was the immensely popular 1983 manga titled Oishinbo that dealt with Japanese food and cooking. Written by Tetsu Kariya and drawn by manga artist, Akira Hanasaki, it has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. On the surface, the manga is about the exploits of newspaper writers trying to track down the ‘ultimate menu’ that reflects the best in Japanese cuisine. Each volume focuses on an essential ingredient and gives the reader detailed social, cultural and historical information.

nikkeiEach story in Nikkei Manga-gatari illuminates the humanity of each Japanese Canadian generation. The Issei story follows a Nikkei soldier of World War I through his exploits before, during and after the battle of Vimy Ridge while the Nisei story looks at the lead-up to WWII and the internment experience.  Finally, the Sansei story looks at a sansei’s discovery of his past and its implications for his life.”

Based out of Toronto, Terry was able to put the manga stories together in a relatively short period of time. The bigger challenge was finding a Japanese Canadian artist willing to take on the task – ideally a yonsei artist who would use this opportunity to learn more about our community’s legacy.

On Friday November 22, 3.00-5.00PM at UBC Learning Exchange, Terry Watada will be giving a workshop called Writers Beware: how to avoid scams, vanity press and find happiness as a published author.

Terry is one of the pioneers of Asian Canadian writing, with publications that include Kuroshio: The Blood of Foxes, and three books of poetry, Daruma Days; and Bukkyo Tozen: a History of Buddhism in Canada (non-fiction).  He maintains a monthly column in the JCCA Bulletin.  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.  Most recently, he was presented the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 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.