Storytelling Circles at Kogawa House

Our third set of storytelling circles happens Saturday, June 15, at Historic Joy Kogawa House, and will feature three published authors: Joy Kogawa (from Ontario), Victoria Kuttainen (from Australia), and May Q. Wong (from Victoria).

Each author will share her family migration story and reflections on migration. After the presentation by each author and storyteller, there will be time for questions and sharing among members of the circle.

  • Circle A (1:30pm–2:30pm, available as part of full-program tickets):        Joy Kogawa

Refreshment break 1 (2:30pm–3pm): mix & mingle with authors and book signing

  • Circle B1 (3:00pm–3:45pm):     Victoria Kuttainen
  • Circle B2 (3:00pm–3:35pm):     May Q. Wong

Refreshment break 2 (3:35pm–3:50pm): mix & mingle with authors and book signing

  • Circle C1 (3:50pm–4:35pm):       Victoria Kuttainen
  • Circle C2 (3:50pm–4:35pm):       May Q. Wong

Tickets are available on Eventbrite. Full program at $15 (Circles A,B & C + refreshments). Partial program at $10 (Circles B + C + refreshments)

Brought to you in partnership with Historic Joy Kogawa HouseAsian Canadian Writers’ Workshop, UBC Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies.


Featured Authors:

Joy KogawaAcclaimed author best known for her novel Obasan (1981), which has become essential reading for Canada. Obasan is based on Joy and her family’s forced relocation from Vancouver during the Second World War when she was six years old. The novel remains ‘a touchstone’ for the internment of Japanese Canadians during this era.

Joy has also worked extensively to educate the public about this dark period in Canadian history and she actively fought for government redress.

Among her many honours, Joy has received an Order of Canada (1986), an order of British Columbia (2006) and, from the Japanese Government, an Order of the Rising Sun (2010) for ‘her contribution to the understanding and preservation of Japanese Canadian history.’

Portrait of Victoria Kuttainen

Victoria KuttainenAssociate professor of English and Writing at James Cook University, Australia. Victoria  holds a BA Hons and MA in English from the University of British Columbia, and a PhD from the University of Queensland, Australia.

Her books include The Transported Imagination: Australian Interwar Magazines and the Geographical Modernities of Colonial Modernity (2018) and Unsettling Stories: Settler Postcolonialism and the Short Story Composite (2009). Her emerging creative writing includes “This is Rape Culture, Ladies and Gentlemen” (2017). 

Her research and teaching in postcolonial literary studies focuses on the intersections of narratology, colonialism, trauma, migration, displacement, geography, identity, and settlement.

She is the current writer-in-residence at Historic Joy Kogawa House. During her residency, Victoria will host an in-dialogue-with Q&A style event with psychologist Dr. Joti Samra, exploring the challenges of mental health issues as they affect families, the role of narrative in healing, the ethics of telling, and barriers to identifying and seeking help for mental health issues, in migrant communities.

May Q Wong

May Q. Wong – Born of Chinese immigrants impacted by Canada’s Head Tax laws, May Q. Wong grew up in Montreal. With a BA from the University of McGill and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Victoria, May spent her career in the BC public service, working toward improving the lives of those in need.

Since her retirement in 2004, May has published two books: a memoir titled A Cowherd in Paradise: From Canada to China,  and a collection of stories titled City in Colour: Rediscovered Stories of Victoria’s Multicultural Past.

Commenting on May’s memoir, author Jan Wong said that May’s “description of the enforced polarization of one nuclear family, set asunder by a Canadian law excluding ethnic Chinese immigrants … should be required reading for anyone who cares about citizenship and human rights.”