A Canadian Authors–Toronto & Dark Helix Press joint event

Belief Book launch & Asian Heritage Month celebration

May 27, 2021, 7:30 p.m. EST to 9:00 p.m. EST

via Zoom, FREE and open attendance for all

Canadian Authors–Toronto has partnered with Dark Helix Press, an indie press based in Toronto, to celebrate the book launch of a new Asian Canadian anthology, Belief. This anthology is a compilation of Ricepaper Magazine submissions—short stories, poetry, and nonfiction by writers of Asian descent from across the world. The theme that binds the collection is “belief,” a notion personal to each individual sharing a piece of themselves in their works. Each author shares a conviction of truth shaping the reality of life in the Asian diaspora.  

For this event, a number of authors who contributed to this anthology will be sharing a short reading of their piece. This includes Joy Kogawa, Silvia Leung, Moni Brar, Changming Yuan, Kathy Quyen Pham, Nastasha Alli, Bianca Weeko Martin, Kevin Wong, Karen-Luz Sison, Emi Sasagawa,  Carmen Chan and Michelle Zhang. The event will be hosted by JF Garrard, writer, editor, President of Dark Helix Press and co-president of Canadian Authors Association’s Toronto branch.

Full author bios and pictures listed on Belief book webpage: http://www.darkhelixpress.com/acww/belief/


Click here to register. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Raffle prizes!

Be sure to enter a free digital raffle to win a printed copy of the Belief book and a $20 Cdn Amazon gift card. This contest is open to Canada/US only, the book will be mailed and the gift card will be delivered via email. Enter from May 27–June 1, 2021. Click here to enter free raffle (live on May 27, 2021).

Author Bios

Joy Kogawa

Joy Kogawa was born in Vancouver in 1935 to Japanese-Canadian parents. During WWII, Joy (born Joy Nozomi Nakayama) and her family of birth were forced to move to Slocan, British Columbia, an injustice Kogawa addresses in her 1981 novel, Obasan, one of the handful of Canadian novels that have become essential reading for a nation. Interned with her Japanese-Canadian family during WW2, she has worked tirelessly to educate and help redress a dark moment in our history.

​In 1986, Kogawa was made a Member of the Order of Canada; in 2006, she was made a Member of the Order of British Columbia. In 2010, the Japanese government honored Kogawa with the Order of the Rising Sun “for her contribution to the understanding and preservation of Japanese Canadian history.

Silvia Leung

Silvia Leung has written and edited a wide spectrum of pieces in the non-profit, private, and public sectors, from academic to creative, business to multimedia, technical to policy writing.

Moni Brar

Moni Brar is an uninvited settler who lives, writes and learns on unceded, unsurrendered territories of the Treaty 7 region and the Syilx of the Okanagan Nation. She is a Punjabi, Sikh Canadian writer exploring diasporan guilt, identity, cultural oppression, and intergenerational trauma. She believes in the possibility of personal and collective healing through literature and art. Her work appears in PRISM international, Hart House Review, Existere, The Maynard, untethered, Hobart, and other publications. She is a member of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, The League of Canadian Poets, and the editorial board of New Forum Magazine. She has worked in 13 countries and is grateful to call Canada home.

Changming Yuan

Yuan Changming started to learn the English alphabet at age nineteen and published monographs on translation before leaving China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan at poetrypacific.blogspot.ca in Vancouver. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, eight chapbooks and poetry awards as well as publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008–17) and BestNewPoemsOnline, among 1,789 other literary outlets across 46 countries.  

Kathy Quyen Pham

Kathy Pham is a Vietnamese Canadian writer currently based in Saigon. She has published fiction in Ricepaper, Cagibi, and NōD Magazine. She is a graduate of the University of Calgary’s creative writing and English program, and a Killam Fulbright alumni. She can be found on Twitter as @phamanteau. She focuses on mental health and identity in the context of the Vietnamese diaspora, but enjoys writing across the spectrum of literary and speculative fiction. She was previously an editor and design lead for NōD Magazine, and now works in technology. She can be found at kathypham.ca

Nastasha Alli

Nastasha Alli was born and raised in the Philippines and came to Canada in 2007. For her writing at the intersection of food and diaspora communities, she won a Food Sustainability Media Award from the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Her work has been featured on CBC Radio and her recipe published in a “top cookbook of 2018” by the San Francisco Chronicle. She talks about Philippine food history, traditions and culture with guests from around the world on her Exploring Filipino Kitchens podcast.

Bianca Weeko Martin

Bianca Weeko Martin is a designer with Filipino, Indonesian, and Chinese ancestry. She was educated at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in Canada, where she has been based since immigrating with her family from Jakarta in 2000. Her roots in Southeast Asia have informed the bulk of her recent work, which addresses themes of memory, architectural representation, postcolonialism, and domestic space. Bianca Weeko is engaged equally in traditional and digital mediums, having split her professional practice between drawing, painting and writing for independent commissions and designing for the web, particularly for an interdisciplinary research organization based in Toronto, Ontario. 

Kevin Wong

Kevin Wong, author of Hong Kong Hearts, was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia: the same hometown as Sidney Crosby and Sarah McLachlan. He has always loved writing and creating art, and even as a child he was constantly drawing, painting, writing stories, and telling tales to his friends and family. He won several local awards because of the writing and artwork that he created from elementary school to high school. Although he is Canadian, he is also Chinese (as his father and mother are both Chinese – from Hong Kong and Macau respectively). As such, he possesses a unique blend of heritages and cultures, and a special balance of Eastern and Western sensibilities and beliefs. He holds a Bachelor of Computer Science (BCSc) Degree and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) Degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is also a Registered Nurse (RN).

Karen-Luz Sison

Karen-Luz is a Filipina-Canadian writer, editor, and content creator based in Toronto. She has had her work published in Ricepaper Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and Living Hyphen Magazine. Her creative work explores themes of faith, spirituality, and cultural identity. Karen-Luz has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Carleton University. Having listened to the stories of people from all sorts of backgrounds—politicians and protestors, scientists and poets, to name a few—during her time in journalism, she believes in the power of storytelling as a means of creating community and generating change and healing. 

Currently, she works as a communications and social media professional in the nonprofit world, where she enjoys helping nonprofit groups tell the stories behind work that they do and get the support that they need to keep going. Outside of her professional life, she loves to walk her dog, explore new food places, learn about the world through podcasts, and obsess over hip hop dance videos.

Emi Sasagawa

Emi Sasagawa is a Brazilian-Japanese award-winning-journalist-turned-communicator who lives in Vancouver, BC Her work has been published by a range of publications, from The Washington Post to Room. She is currently working on a book-length manuscript inspired by her experiences coming out and moving to London, England, at the age of 19. Emi’s a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at SFU, and is presently completing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.

Carmen Chan

“my exorcist is a white woman” is a series of collected thoughts on the toilsome and costly undoing of internalized racism, somatic imbalances, and identity dysmorphia. Carmen Chan comes from five generations of transient Chinese-Canadian migrants; she is researching, contemplating and writing about the inheritance of a diasporic experience.

Michelle Zhang

Loving daughter of first-generation immigrants, cooler sister to Vancouver-based musician, devout student of American literature, Michelle Zhang is a Vancouver-based writer with questions of art, artist identity, and post-modern culture constantly on her mind. She is currently pursuing a law degree and working on her first translation project.

Hope to see you there! Questions about the event can be directed to hello at jfgarrard.com.

LiterASIAN 2021

Our partner organization Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop is hosting a free virtual literary event, LiterASIAN, for the month of May 2021 and extending an invitation to CAA members. 

This year’s festival GlobalAsian: from Grassroots to Globalization features authors and cultural activists from not only Canada, but across the Asian diaspora. 

Events are free and open to all. Click the event titles below to register.

Independent Authors or Self-Published Authors? Stories that We Live to Write About
May 8th, 12.00pm – 1.30pm (PST)
Jackie Lau, Diana Morita Cole, Diana Ng, JF Garrard, Cynda Yeasting

It’s a Beautiful Neighbourhood: “Chinatown Pretty” Across North America
May 12th, 6.00pm – 7.00pm (PST)
Valerie Luu & Andria Lo of Chinatown Pretty

Writing Nusantara – Transcending Language and Borders
May 15th, 12.00pm noon (MYT) / 8.00pm (PST) – 1.5 hours
William Tham (Malaysia), Okky Madasari (Indonesia), Melissa De Silva (Singapore), Danton Remoto (Philippines)

Creating from Scratch: Asian Canadian Literary Publications and their role in publishing and the community
May 22, 12.00pm – 1.30pm (PST)
Brooke Xiang from Chinatown Today, Leilan Wong & Olivia Lim from Tributaries, Justine Abigail Yu & Jocelyn Yu from Living Hyphen, Chris Patterson/Kawika Guillermo & David Ng from decomp

The Pender Guy Radio Collective, 1976-1981: The Reunion Show
May 29th, 12.00pm – 1.30pm (PST)
Ramona Mar, Tommy Tao, Jeannie Young, Christy Fong, Rachel Lau, June Chow 

Asia Across the World: A Book Club Discussion
May 30th, 1.00pm – 3.00pm (PST)
The Asian Literature Circle

Questions can be directed to the LiterASIAN committee at info@literasian.com.

Planning ahead

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 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018