The writer-in-residence program at Historic Joy Kogawa House welcomes writers and readers to join our community of people who are passionate about books and reading and about working with words as a way to take meaning from our lives.

The purpose of this site is to provide information about the writer-in-residence program at Joy Kogawa's childhood home, a historic literary landmark for Vancouver and all of Canada.

The house was purchased by The Land Conservancy of BC in May 2006. Funds are now needed to restore the house to its appearance between 1938 and 1942, when author Joy Kogawa lived there as a child; to further enhance the house as a historic literary landmark; and to sustain and expand our annual writers-in-residence program.

Annual General Meeting

The Historic Joy Kogawa House Society invites you to join us for the Society’s Annual General Meeting to be held Saturday, April 11, at 11:00am, at 1450 West 64th Avenue in Vancouver.

2014 was truly significant year for our organization. We negotiated an agreement with TLC, The Land Conservancy of B.C., for future transfer of title to the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society, and we are in negotiation with the City of Vancouver for a Heritage Revitalization Agreement that will see the house renovated as an even more welcoming live/work space for writers.

At this year’s AGM, we will celebrate the relationships fostered and value created through 2014, and share our plans for the year ahead.

We look forward to seeing you on April 11.

11:00am – Brunch Reception
11:30am – Annual General Meeting
12:00pm – Social

Agenda for Annual General Meeting

1. Approval of minutes of last AGM
(January 5, 2014)

2. Report on Financials for the year ended December 31, 2014
(Greg Tatchell)

3. Special Resolution
(Lenore Rowntree)

The following special resolution is proposed for adoption by not less than 75% of the votes cast by the members at the annual general meeting of the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society:

Resolved as a special resolution that the bylaws of the Historic Joy Kogawa Society be amended to delete:
bylaw 1 (11) “Person” means a natural person;

and replace with a new bylaw:
bylaw 1 (11) “Person” includes a natural person, corporation, society, partnership, association (whether incorporated or not), the personal or other legal representative of a person, and any other legal entity

4. Reports
(Joan Young – school program)
(Sheilagh Cahill – membership)
(Ann-Marie Metten – moving forward)

5. Election of a Board of Directors for 2015

6. Other Business

7. Adjourn

New members welcome. Thank you very much your support of the board of the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society!

Meditation for the Planet

This writing workshop is part of a year-long artist-in-residency by Haruko Okano to be held in the public park at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden. Writers from each of three cultural groups are invited to create poetic or philosophical statements inspired by nature, written in their own language. These affirmations will become part of an art installation at the park from April 11 to July 15.

The Haruko Okano writing workshop is one element in Converse, the last of three stages of installations, walking tours, performances, and workshops to be held at in park as part of the Conduit installation. A member of the Art Is Land Network, Conduit is an interdisciplinary, community-engaged contribution in three parts: (1) The Meditation on Water, (2) The Meditation on Land, and (3) Gifting.

The Meditation on the Land component includes the writing workshop and an invitation to mail or email written affirmations, in the following two parts:

(1) The Meditation on Land
This workshop invites Chinese, Japanese, and Aboriginal peoples whose strong connection with nature lends itself to expressing affirmations for the earth. Each cultural group is invited to create affirmations, poetic or philosophical statements inspired by nature, written in their own language. Three contributions from each group will be wood-burned onto cedar planks to be mounted in various locations within the park – three planks – one from each cultural group, at any given time during the residency April 11 to July 15.
When contributing an affirmation for the earth, please also provide translation/interpretation in English.
Members of the public are also invited to attend the workshops or mail in affirmations for Gifting to visitors to the park during the Converse public events.

First Workshop: Saturday, March 21, 1:00 to 4:00. Please drop in at any time during these hours. Seating is limited to 12 to 15 people at a time.
Cost: Free. All materials are supplied by the facilitator Haruko Okano
Location: Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 West 64th Avenue, just one block east of Granville Street, Vancouver

(2) Gifting
Meditation for the Planet invites all people worldwide, to contribute affirmations for the earth. These can be written in any language so long as the English translation accompanies it. Please limit the affirmation to fit on a sheet of paper 4-inches-by-2.5-inches.

Send your affirmations by e-mail or snail mail and they will be printed on rice paper and inserted into envelopes made of organic fresh leaves. (Please print clearly.)

E-mail address:
Snail mail:
Attn: Land Meditation
305 – 1230 East 8th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5T 1V2
Contribution deadline June 15, 2015

More about Haruko Okano
Haruko Okano received arts training in both Toronto and Vancouver. She has been a practising professional artist since 1972, and has exhibited her works both nationally and internationally, including multimedia installations and assemblages. In 2000 she was the recipient of the prestigious Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation VIVA Award. An advocate for artists’ rights, cultural diversity, and human rights, she also creates portable murals and organizes community developed public art projects.

To follow the whole Conduit project, please go to Art Is Land Network

Writing Women: New Work in Poetry and Prose

In observation of International Women's Day, writers Lorri Neilsen Glenn, Fiona Tinwei Lam, and Jane Silcott will perform new works in poetry and prose. Come join them for a conversation about words, rhythm, and meaning at this celebration of women’s writing and work.

Fiona Tinwei Lam has authored two poetry books, Intimate Distances and Enter the Chrysanthemum, as well as the children’s book The Rainbow Rocket. Her poetry and prose have appeared in over 24 anthologies, including The Best Canadian Poetry 2010. She co-edited the non-fiction anthology, Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood, and edited The Bright Well: Contemporary Canadian Poetry about Facing Cancer.

Lorri Neilsen Glenn’s books include essays on loss and poetry, Threading Light, and the best-selling anthology Untying the Apron: Daughters Remember Mothers of the 1950s. Her award-winning poetry and essays have appeared in journals such as Grain, Prairie Fire, Arc, Event, and CV2. Former Halifax Poet Laureate, Lorri teaches at Mount Saint Vincent University and in the University of King’s College MFA program. She also works as a freelance editor and writing coach.

Jane Silcott’s debut collection of essays, Everything Rustles, was shortlisted for the 2014 BC Book Prizes. Her work has also won a CBC Literary Award, a Room Magazine Prize, and been a finalist in both the National and the Western Magazine Awards. Jane teaches for the University of King’s College MFA Program, the UBC Writing Centre, and SFU’s Southbank Writing Program.

When: 3:00 to 5:00 pm, International Women’s Day, Sunday, March 8
Where: Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver
Tickets: Admission by donation but space is limited. RSVP at

Upcoming Events

Poetry Reading and Writing
We’ve all experienced dissonance or the feeling of being at odds with a situation because of family structures or societal expectations. Join host Pamela Bentley and poet, Elaine Woo, author of Cycling with the Dragon (Nightwood Editions), just nominated for the George Ryga prize for social awareness with poet, editor, and critic, Carol Shillibeer, in discussion, exploration, and written exercises. Readings from Cycling with the Dragon will be our springboard for exploring dissonance in poetry and daily life.
WHEN: Tuesday, November 25, 7:30 to 9:00pm
Admission: by donation

Tea and Origami Folding
Before the holiday season gets too busy, please join us for tea social and to fold decorative patterns with origami storyteller Yukiko Tosa. Also includes a peace meditation for all those who died on December 7 at Pearl Harbor, and those affected by those actions that day. New members welcome.
WHEN: Sunday, December 7: origami, 2:00 to 4:00pm; tea and social, 4:00 to 5:00pm
Admission: by donation

To register for any or all of these events, please email

Felted Holiday Ornaments

Please join us for an afternoon workshop to create barbed designs in wool using a felting needle and washed, carded wool. Explore the creative possibilities of “sculpting” and “painting” with wool in this needle-felting workshop. You’ll discover the magic of sculptural needle felting, making simple shapes using easily mastered techniques.

With Pearl Chow of Pearlknits. Pearl has lots of experience teaching fibre arts to crafters of all ages, and the workshop participant can look forward to an easy, informative, and fun afternoon of crafting.

Open to crafters of any age and ability

Supplies for all projects will be provided.

WHEN: Sunday, November 16, 2:00 to 4:00pm
WHERE: Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 West 64th Avenue
COST: $25
To register, email

An evening with Vancouver Asian-Canadian Theatre

Friday, September 26, 7:30 p.m.

Historic Joy Kogawa House
1450 West 64th Avenue
Admission by donation. Seating is limited.

Join Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (VACT) for a lively discussion about producing theatre. VACT’s artistic director Donna Yamamoto, who has more than 25 years of experience in theatre, and artistic associate Andrea Yu, who has written and produced her own work, will talk about producing VACT’s sold-out hit, Ga Ting.

An evening exclusive is a salon performance of VACT’s 2015 production, Empire of the Son, written and performed by artist-in-residence and former CBC Radio host Tetsuro Shigematsu.

VACT aims to bring more Asian-Canadian actors to the stage and to showcase Asian-Canadian stories. Produced in association with Word Vancouver Festival.

To reserve a seat for this event, email Historic Joy Kogawa House at

We did it!

Hooray! Thank you so very much to Kate, Sam, Andy, Joan, John, Patsi, Matt, and Joy, plus Serina and Fione from Go Volunteer! for all your good energy and painting style today. We went through two cans of primer and almost two full cans of porch paint and exterior latex covering the rough bare wood at Historic Joy Kogawa House today. Do the garage, front steps, and picnic table ever look better! Please share photos if you have them, and thanks again.

A school group from Japan will be at the house all week enjoying the refreshed backyard, and Friday evening, beginning at 5:30pm and going to 9:30pm, First Friday Forum will be hosting a potluck and musical evening. Please join us then if you like!

What a relief to have your help today to prepare the house for them.

Volunteer painters needed Saturday!

We’re hosting a painting party at Historic Joy Kogawa House tomorrow and wonder if you might spare an hour or two to help?

The garage, front steps, and picnic table in the backyard will all look better with a fresh coat of paint. A painting company has donated some exterior white paint.

Now all we need are able-bodied people like you to scrape away the old paint and apply the new.

The Historic Joy Kogawa House Society operates out of a 1912 heritage home in the Marpole neighbourhood of Vancouver that serves as a live/work and small performance space. It is the childhood home of the author Joy Kogawa, a literary landmark, and an place of reconciliation and education around the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II. So it can't look shabby!

Please call up your friends and family and get them to join you on Saturday, July 26, beginning at 10:00am.

Refreshments and all materials will be provided.

Please join us!

Historic Joy Kogawa House
1450 West 64th Avenue
Vancouver, B.C. V6P 2N4

How the Blossoms Are Falling

One of Canada’s top-ranked choral ensembles, Elektra Women’s Choir, presents a program featuring the beautifully poignant title composition by Vancouver composer Ramona Luengen set to poetry by Joy Kogawa. Commissioned by the choir in 2009, both the poem and the music evoke the sometimes bittersweet, natural evolution of life. The gorgeous Ryerson United Church provides the perfect setting for this reflective music.

Saturday, May 10, 7:30 p.m. | Ryerson United Church

Tickets: $15 to $28 at

Historic Joy Kogawa House Society registers with Canada Revenue Agency

Charitable tax number: 841699218RR0001
Syndicate content