Wayson Choy Literary Biography

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Wayson Choy was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1939. As a Chinese-Canadian he grew up and lived in Chinatown. He attended Gladstone secondary school, and then went on to attend the University of British Columbia studying creative writing. He was the first writer of Chinese ancestry to study in creative writing. He studied under Earle Birney. He moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1962, he began teaching at Humber College in 1967 and ended in 2004. He currently continues to teach at the Humber school for writers. He also was the president of the Cahoots Theater company of Toronto from 1992 to 2002. In 2005 he was named a member of the Order of Canada. His first novel the Jade Peony (1995) ,earned him two prestigious awards, the Trillium Book Award and the Vancouver Book award. His second and last novel to date is “All that Matters” and is the sequel to the Jade Peony, it was nominated for the Giller Prize. His first memoir Paper Shadows: A Chinatown Childhood was written in 1999 and won the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction and was nominated for a Governor General's Award. His second memoir “Not Yet” is excepted out in 2009. Wayson Choy’s writing is skilled, humane, subtle and ironic. He explores many very real issues, such as racism, politics and violence, and presents it to his readers from a very raw understanding. Death, acceptance, maturity and growth are all themes he explores in writing. He also believes deeply in signs, and that is reflected in his writings. Quoted from his 1999 interview it describes what he does best. “He patiently unfolds the secrets of his past and searches for meaning in coincidence.” His own life is a reflection of the novel “The Jade Peony” , although it is fiction. Like Jung-Sum Choy had to deal with discovery his own sexuality and realizing he’s gay. He also found out he was adopted, he didn’t know when he wrote the novel, but said he always had a feeling. He found out when he was 56 years old, and...
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