In partnership with Writers’ Trust of Canada, we have created a series of dialogues exploring the last 75 years of writing in Canada. Each session brings you a contemporary writer in conversation with an important work of fiction or theatre that has offered a key moment of definition, change or challenge. Together, we get to ask questions around how major books can help shape and evolve deeper understandings of our culture.
This session covers The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy. Published in 1995, The Jade Peony is a groundbreaking novel portraying the Chinese Canadian experience, set in Chinatown, Vancouver, in the late 1930s and 40s. Told through the vivid and intense reminiscences of the three younger children of an immigrant family, the story portrays their very different childhoods, depending on age and sex, as they encounter the complexities of birth and death, love and hate, kinship and otherness. Mingling with the realities of Canada and the horror of war are the magic, ghosts, paper uncles and family secrets of Poh-Poh, or Grandmother, who is the heart and pillar of the family.
Presenter: Madeleine Thien
Moderator: Catherine Graham