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Wayson wins Woodcock

June 08th, 2015

Chinese-Canadian author Wayson Choy to be honoured

June 3, 2015

Wayson Choy is this year’s recipient of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award

VANCOUVER, B.C. – One of the country’s foremost Chinese-Canadian authors, Wayson Choy, has been named as this year’s recipient of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his outstanding contributions to B.C. literature.

“We are delighted to be recognizing Wayson Choy for his considerable literary contributions,” says Sandra Singh, chief librarian at the Vancouver Public Library, which hosts a special event with the author next week (Thursday, June 11).

“His works over the years have served as a critical thread in B.C.’s diverse literary fabric,” she says. “His stories connect us, help us understand our city’s past, and let us see life through a different perspective. He has helped tear down barriers between cultures and generations.”

The George Woodcock Award is the province’s most prestigious literary honour, and recognizes a B.C. author whose outstanding literary career and contributions to society span several decades. It’s presented annually at VPL in a public ceremony, and is co-sponsored by the Writers’ Trust of Canada and Dr. Yosef Wosk.

“I’m proud to have my pioneer Chinatown stories – and my own personal ones – recognized as part of the shared literary history of all Canadians,” says Choy, who travelled to Vancouver from Toronto to receive the award. “Most of all, 10,000 thanks to George Woodcock, whom this award is named after. His literary career established a legacy for many others to follow.”

Choy, Wayson at podiumChoy’s life has been a great influence in his writing. His struggles to embrace Chinese traditions as a first-generation Canadian, accidentally discovering he was adopted, facing two near-death experiences and being openly gay have inspired his writing and been the focus of documentaries such as Wayson Choy: Unfolding the Butterfly and Searching for Confucius.

With a background deeply rooted in Vancouver’s Chinatown during the 1940s, Choy was the first Chinese-Canadian student to enroll in a creative writing class at the University of B.C. This is where he would begin work on The Jade Peony – a bestselling novel that has received much acclaim, including the City of Vancouver Book Award in 1995. Choy was also awarded the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction for Paper Shadows: A Memoir of a Past Lost and Found in 1999 and Ontario’s Trillium Book Award in 2005 for All That Matters.

Choy will receive the George Woodcock Award at a special public presentation on June 11 at 7 p.m. at VPL’s central branch downtown. At the same event, author Shelley Wright will receive the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness.


High-resolution images and media interviews are available upon request.

See the backgrounder for more details about Wayson Choy and the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award.


About Vancouver Public Library

Vancouver Public Library has been dedicated to meeting the lifelong learning, reading and information needs of Vancouver residents for more than 100 years. Our vision is an informed, engaged, and connected city. Our mission is a free place for everyone to discover, create and share ideas and information. Last year, VPL had more than 6.8 million visits with patrons borrowing more than 9 million items, including books, ebooks, CDs, DVDs and magazines. Across 21 locations and online, VPL is the most-visited major urban library per capita in Canada.

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