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.

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

Open House and Notice of AGM

Joy Kogawa is in town and will be at Historic Joy Kogawa house between 2:00 and 4:00 on Saturday, December 7, for quiet conversation and heart to hearts among us, as we await a decision about potential sale of the house to finance TLC, The Land Conservancy of B.C.’s debt.

The question of whether TLC assets can be sold will be heard in B.C. Supreme Court next week, when petitions for another TLC property, B.C. Binning House,, and protection under the B.C. Charitable Purposes Preservation Act will be heard.

Joy Kogawa and our board of directors will be at the house on Saturday to answer questions and welcome your support, encouragement, and vision for the future of the house.

Then, on Sunday, January 5, 3:00 to 5:00pm, the Historic Joy Kogawa House will hold its annual general meeting and election of directors to the board. More information will be available at that time. Joy Kogawa will be there, too.

Please join us for one or both events.

Genesis of Play and Screenwriting with Dennis Foon

When: Friday, September 27, 7:30 till 9:30pm
Where: Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver
Cost: Admission by donation

Where do plays come from? How does the idea for a play or film script gestate and then emerge as the voice of the play—and the voice of the play or screenwriter?

Dennis Foon’s plays—which include The Rick Hansen Story and Scar Tissue (critically acclaimed at the Arts Club in 2012)—have been produced across North America, Europe, and Australia. His screenplay Life, Above All—inspired by a South African’s girl’s courage facing the social stigma of AIDS—received a 10-minute standing ovation at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and the film was Oscar shortlisted for Best Foreign Language Film.

Dennis will discuss his success as a playwright and screenwriter and read from a selection of his favourite work.

To reserve a seat, RSVP

This event is presented in partnership with Word Vancouver and the Playwrights Guild of Canada.

Summer in the garden at Historic Joy Kogawa House

Come meet our 2013 writer-in-residence, Ava Homa, during one of several events this July.

Ava Homa exiled from Kurdistan-Iran in 2007 and is among the few Kurdish women authors who write about the history of the Kurdish community. Her three-month residency, funded by the Canada Council Author Residency Program and the British Columbia Arts Council, began on May 1, 2013, and focuses on writing, research, and community programs. In 2010, Ava Homa published her debut collection of short stories, Echoes from the Other Land, which was nominated for 2011 Frank O’Conner International Short Story Prize and was chosen as one of ten People’s Choice finalists in the 2011 Readers’ Choice Award running concurrently with Giller Prize. While is residence at Historic Joy Kogawa House, she is completing a fiction manuscript that extends the themes of one of the stories in the collection. In addition, for each of five weeks, she will meet with a group of teen writers to discuss and practise crafting short fiction. Ava Homa has been a member of PEN Canada’s Writers-in-Exile network since 2011 and teaches English and creative writing at George Brown College in Toronto.

Please join Ava Homa at one of several public events:

Thursday, July 18, 7:30pm, Far East, Middle East
Julia Lin, author of Miah (Tsar, 2012) joins Ava Homa for an evening of readings and discussion about immigration, displacement, and the complexities of lives divided between Taiwan and Canada, between Iran and Canada.

Sunday, July 21, 3:00 to 5:00pm, Music in the Garden
Please join two artists-in-residence for an afternoon of music and readings. Farshid Samandari, a Baha’i born in Iran and composer-in-residence with the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, joins Ava Homa for an afternoon of music and words. Together they will read from and perform new work, highlighting their mutual experiences growing up as excluded minorities in Iran and the ways in which those with different histories and cultures can speak to – and through – each other. Join us for this special musical literary performance!

Monday, July 22, 7:00 to 9:00pm, Southbank Writers’ Program Field Trip and Readings
Students and alumni from SFU Southbank Writers’ Program in Surrey join writer-in-residence Ava Homa for an evening of readings and discussion. In collaboration with Writers’ Studio director Wayde Compton.

Sunday, July 28, 6:00 to 10:00, Outdoor Barbeque/Open Mic/Poetry Reading
All are welcome to this end-of-term celebration. Bring a poem, a song, or other musings to read/sing/perform to the garden and the birds and the people. Also bring something for the grill.

All events take place at Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 West 64th Avenue, in the garden that is beautifully tended by volunteer Marlene Enns.

Admission by donation but space is limited. To reserve a seat, please email
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