Join CAA–Toronto for a special pandemic talk!

How Covid Affected Librarians, Authors & Poets/Performance Artists

Date/Time: May 25, 2023, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time

Register in advance for this meeting: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0pdOGtqT0jE9TOoaZcYKCeewqguYAaRVGS

(After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.)

The pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has posed many challenges for libraries and the lives of authors and poets/performance artists. Academic librarians from The University of Toronto and Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) will discuss the disruptions they have faced and how libraries have responded to the pandemic. Author Dan K. Woo and Poet/Performance Artist Johnny D Trinh, will share how the pandemic has affected their writing life and what opportunities were missed or gained. These writers will also read from their works.

Please join us and bring your questions for the guests! We will have a Q&A after their talks.

Our sponsor, Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop (ACWW) is holding a digital raffle for a $50 Indigo bookstore in the form of a physical gift card. The winner will be announced Friday, May 26, 2023 and will be contacted by ACWW for their mailing address. Click here to enter the online prize draw from May 1-25, 2023.

Another sponsor, Dark Helix Press, is offering a free eBook sampler featuring a number of Asian Canadian authors. Click here to download the book excerpts in pdf, mobi or epub formats.

Event schedule:

  • Introductions – JF Garrard
  • Librarian talk (U of T, Hana Kim) – 10 min
  • Author talk (Dan K. Woo) – 10 min
  • Librarian talk (TMU, Val Ken Lem) – 10 min
  • Poet/Performance Artist talk (Johnny D Trinh) – 10 min
  • Informal conversation – 20 min 
  • Reading (Hana Kim) – 5 min
  • Reading (Far Wan Liu reading for Dan K. Woo) – 10 min
  • Reading (Johnny D Trinh) – 10 min
  • Q & A with audience – 10 min
  • ACWW KingSumo raffle draw reminder, Dark Helix Press eBook download reminder
  • Goodbyes

Please note that this event will be recorded and produced as a future Artsy Raven podcast, the audience will be asked to mute themselves and to turn off their cameras. 

Guest Biographies

Val Ken Lem is a liaison librarian and collections lead for Arts at Toronto Metropolitan University Libraries. He makes purchases supporting English, French, Spanish, History, Caribbean Studies, Music, and Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Val has a large personal collection of material on Asian Canadians and manages the Asian Heritage in Canada website hosted by the TMU Library. The largest portion of the site is devoted to bio-bibliographical entries on Asian Canadian literary writers. At present about 650 authors are profiled. Val is also a regular reviewer for CM: Canadian Review of Materials, an online reviewing journal of books and media for children and teenagers. In a reviewing career spanning over 30 years, he has published close to 200 reviews.

Hana Kim is the Director of the Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library at the University of Toronto (U of T). Previously, she was the Head Librarian of the Asian Library at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Hana has a Bachelor of Education from the Korean National University of Education and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from McGill University.

Hana has published and presented on various topics, including East Asian studies librarianship, Asian Canadian heritage, diversity, equity, and access. She initiated the Korean Canadian Heritage Archives Project, a nationwide effort to document and preserve the history and contributions of Korean Canadians in collaboration with UBC. At the University of Toronto, she has led initiatives to promote and engage with Asian Canadian heritage through library programs and activities.

Hana is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2018 Korean Canadian Heritage Award. She has held various leadership roles in organizations such as the Council on East Asian Libraries, where she served as President, and the Pacific Rim Research Libraries Alliance Steering Committee. Hana has also participated in several international organizations, such as the Association of Research Libraries Kaleidoscope Program Task Force and the portal: Libraries and the Academy Editorial Board.

In her spare time, Hana enjoys writing poetry and translating modern Korean poems. Her translations and original poems have been featured in various publications, including Variety Crossing and Han Kŭt: Critical Art and Writing by Korean Canadian Women (Inanna Publications). Her most recent work, “The Perpetual Foreigner,” was featured in Ricepaper Magazine in 2023.

Johnny D Trinh is the Artistic Director of Vancouver Poetry House. Johnny is also the founder and Artistic Producer of Stage to Page Performance Society, and current Write-in-Residence at the Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre, and an Artist-in-Residence at the Lionsgate Community Centre in North Vancouver.

Johnny’s pedagogy is rooted in deepening the connection and intercultural exchange as uninvited settlers on this Indigenous Turtle Island, with Indigenous peoples through understanding shared and contemporary history.

Johnny holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Regina, a diploma in Music Theatre Performance from the Randolph College for the Performing Arts, and Hon. BA in Drama from the University of Waterloo. Johnny is member of the League of Canadian Poets, and alumni of the Banff Spoken Word Residency and Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre Summer Intensive, and a TEDxSurrey Speaker and Coach. “It takes a community to build an artist … whether we are nurtured by it, or resist against it.”

Dan K. Woo is editor of the anthology, The Spirits Have Nothing to Do with Us, forthcoming in Spring 2023 from Buckrider Books. He was winner of the 2018 Ken Klonsky Award, a literary prize for a novella with a social justice theme and author of Letters to Little Comrade (2023). His recent collection, Taobao: Stories, was featured on the Chicago Review of Books most anticipated reads of 2022. He also works full time as a Senior Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers and occasionally teaches at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. 


ACWW is holding LiterAsian in May, an annual Asian Literary event in Vancouver. For more information, click here.

Upcoming Event

Join CAA–Toronto for a pub night social!

Eat, Drink & Reunite!

When: Thursday, June 29, 2023

7:30 p.m to 10 p.m. Eastern Time

Where: Duke of Cornwall

400 University Avenue, Toronto, ON M5G 1S5

(outside of St. Patrick Station)

Please RSVP by Monday, June 26 EOD so we can reserve a table: 


For June, please join us in person for a dinner or drink! This is our first in-person event since the start of the pandemic, and we’re thrilled to finally be able to gather in a local pub for an evening of chatting and catching up with fellow CAA–Toronto members. Come out, raise a glass, and reconnect with your writer friends.  Please RSVP by Monday, June 26 EOD to reserve your spot.

Drinks and meals are at your own expense, but CAA–Toronto will buy some appetizers to share at the table!

Preview the restaurant menu here: https://dukepubs.ca/duke-of-cornwall/

Help us spread the word! 

Share the event details on social media and/or tell your friends and family. Use hashtag #CAAEvents, and feel free to share the registration link (but not your personal link — that’s just for you).

Stay tuned to the Authors–Toronto “Events” web page for regular programming and event updates.

As always, we welcome your feedback on all of our activities. Email co-president Lee Parpart at TOpresident1@canadianauthors.org with comments, questions, or ideas about our programs and events.

We’re working to expand the number of writing circles that we can offer to members. We’re looking for branch members to launch and moderate new Authors–Toronto writing circles outside of the downtown core. Our Annex Writing Circle meets the second Thursday of every month at the CSI Annex and is at capacity, but we are open to working with new members to start another monthly group at the same location. Please email Lee at TOpresident1 at canadianauthors.org for more details about writing circles.

And if you know any writers who are not already members of Canadian Authors Association, please talk to them about the benefits of joining. To join Canadian Authors Association or renew your membership, click here.

Follow us on Twitter at @Authors_Toronto, @EditorsToronto, or @UofTSCS for updates and pre-event news.

Thank you for your interest! We look forward to seeing you.

Archived information for past events held in 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018