Tag Archives: PEN

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.