Since the arrival of COVID-19, Canada (and the world) has seen a resurgence of anti-Asian hate and racism. Where does this originate, and how might we dismantle it?
Since the arrival of COVID-19, Canada (and the world) has seen a resurgence of anti-Asian hate and racism. Where does this originate, and how might we dismantle it? Join us as we discuss the historical and cultural narratives that uphold anti-Asian racism, celebrate the efforts of affected communities who are pushing back, and explore how these experiences shape the storytelling—journalism, poetry, novels, and more—of Asian-Canadian writers.
Moderated by Christine Kim.
- Blue-Skinned Gods by SJ Sindu (ebook / paperback)
- Burning Province by Michael Prior (ebook / paperback)
- Iron Goddess of Mercy by Larissa Lai (ebook / paperback)
From the award-winning author of Marriage of a Thousand Lies comes a brilliantly written, globe-spanning novel about identity, faith, family, and sexuality.
In Tamil Nadu, India, a boy is born with blue skin. His father sets up an ashram, and the family makes a living off of the pilgrims who seek the child’s blessings and miracles, believing young Kalki to be the tenth human incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. In Kalki’s tenth year, he is confronted with three trials that will test his power and prove his divine status and, his father tells him, spread his fame worldwide. While he seems to pass them, Kalki begins to question his divinity.
Over the next decade, his family unravels, and every relationship he relied on—father, mother, aunt, uncle, cousin—starts falling apart. Traveling from India to the underground rock scene of New York City, Blue-Skinned Gods explores ethnic, gender, and sexual identities, and spans continents and faiths, in an expansive and heartfelt look at the need for belief in our globally interconnected world.
McClelland & Stewart
Acerbic, moving, and formally astonishing, Michael Prior’s second collection explores the enduring impact of the Japanese internment upon his family legacy and his mixed-race identity.
Amid the record-breaking wildfires that scorched British Columbia in 2015 and 2017, the poems in this collection move seamlessly between geographical and psychological landscapes, grappling with cultural trauma and mapping out complex topographies of grief, love, and inheritance: those places in time marked by generational memory “when echo crosses echo.”
Burning Province is an elegy for a home aflame and for grandparents who had a complex relationship to it—but it is also a vivid appreciation of mono no aware: the beauty and impermanence of all living things. “The fireflies stutter like an apology,” Prior writes; “I would be lying to you / if I didn’t admit I love them.”
Iron Goddess of Mercy
Arsenal Pulp Press
Iron Goddess of Mercy by Lambda Literary Award winner Larissa Lai (for the novel The Tiger Flu) is a long poem that captures the vengeful yet hopeful movement of the Furies mid-whirl and dance with them through the horror of the long now. Inspired by the tumultuous history of Hong Kong, from the Japanese and British occupations to the ongoing pro-democracy protests, the poem interrogates the complicated notion of identity, offering a prism through which the term ‘Asian’ can be understood to make sense of a complex set of relations. The self crystallizes in moments of solidity, only to dissolve and whirl away again. The poet is a windsock, catching all the affect that blows at her and ballooning to fullness, only to empty again when the wind changes direction. Iron Goddess of Mercy is a game of mah jong played deep into the night, an endless gamble.