On Friday, August 18th from 6-8pm, join Massy Arts, Massy Books, Signal 8 Press, Orca Book Publishers, and 845 Press for “From Queer to Asian to Publication”, a reading and workshop with Aaron Chan, Candie Tanaka, and Catherine Lewis.
In celebration of Pride, we are excited to host talented writers from the Queer Asian literary community in Vancouver for this reading and conversational workshop.
About the books:
Aaron Chan’s This City is a Minefield
This City is a Minefield is a collection of reflective memoir and personal essays told from a genuine and unique voice about growing up and coming of age as a young gay Chinese man in Vancouver. Thoughtful and honest, the stories and essays recounted are unafraid of analyzing and criticizing the status quo, whether it be Chinese culture’s unfavourable view of homosexuality, or the gay community’s ill-addressed, rampant sexual racism. At the same time an intimate, tender love letter to Vancouver filled with mixed emotions – joy, nostalgia, sadness – Chan weaves together poignant, heartbreaking experiences of navigating and reconciling conflicting cultural and queer identities, complicated romantic relationships, sex and trauma, and overwhelming loneliness that coalesce to form a rounded portrait of a quiet soul on a search for love and belonging. This City is a Minefield serves as a marker of life as a young queer person of colour in this modern age.
C.A. Tanaka’s Baby Drag Queen
Transgender teen Ichiro enters a drag contest in hopes of earning enough money to live off the grid.
Ichiro is a transgender youth in his final year of high school. He has a job as a dishwasher to earn money to help support his single mother. But it’s not enough. Ichiro dreams of buying a camper van for the two of them so they can escape and live off the grid and not have to worry about money anymore. A budding drag queen, he takes a second job performing drag at a local club and learns of an upcoming contest where the prize money would be enough to pay for a camper van. But nobody knows he does drag. So when some of his friends find out what he’s really doing in the evenings, Ichiro is worried about what they will think of him. Will they still accept him?
Catherine Lewis’ Zipless
“Catherine Lewis’ Zipless wears femme armour. These poems are fortified by Valentino stilettos and sundresses in August’s heat. The thick-skinned and vivid voice firmly leads the reader to fertility clinics, first dates and Pride parties. Zipless leads us further still—into the complex positionality of a mature polyamorous Asian bisexual navigating a queer world that is often too narrowly-focused to see her multitudes. Lewis widens the landscape of queer poetics, punching 4-inch-deep heel marks into the ground as she goes.” — Amber Dawn
About the authors:
Aaron Chan is a writer born and raised on unceded Coast Salish territories (Vancouver, BC). He is the author of This City Is a Minefield (Signal 8 Press), a collection of memoir and personal essays about growing up gay and Asian in Vancouver. Currently, Aaron is currently a Creative Writing MFA candidate at the University of California Riverside and is the recipient of the L.M. and Marcia McQuern Endowed Graduate Award in Non-fiction Writing. The Broken Heart, his debut children’s picture book, is forthcoming in June 2024 with Rocky Pond Books.
Candie Tanaka is a multiracial trans writer, artist and librarian challenging the binaries continually reconstructed between self and other while exploring archive and memory in a socio-political context. They are a creative writing graduate of The Writer’s Studio program at Simon Fraser University and have a BFA in Intermedia from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design. Their first YA book, Baby Drag Queen was published with Orca Books in April 2023. They’ve also published work in Resonance: Essays on the Craft of Life and Writing with Anvil Press and This Will Only Take A Minute: Canadian Flash Fiction with Guernica Editions.
Catherine Lewis (she/her) is a Chinese Canadian writer and poet. Her debut poetry chapbook Zipless (845 Press, 2021) is a finalist for two Bisexual Book Awards, for Poetry and for Bi Writer of the Year. Her work has been published in PRISM international, The Humber Literary Review, and Plenitude Magazine. First runner-up for Pulp Literature’s 2023 Magpie Award for Poetry and longlisted for Surrey Muse’s 2022 Joy Kogawa Award for Fiction, she has been shortlisted in creative nonfiction contests at Room Magazine and The Fiddlehead. She lives in Vancouver on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.