Thursday, October 28, 2010

International Symposium on Chinese Canadian and Chinese American Literature in English, Waterloo, Ontario, Oct. 15-17, 2010

Getting ready to talk about fox demons, Anglotown, and spaceship engineers (photo by Donna Mak).


The editors of The Dragon and the Stars (photo by Donna Mak)

Eric Choi and I attended "Homeland, History, and Representation," an International Symposium on Chinese Canadian and Chinese American Literature in English, held by Renison University College at the University of Waterloo and sponsored by the Confucius Institute.

Professors, scholars, and authors from across North America and China attended this conference, where they presented papers on the literature of Chinese North American authors such as Judy Fong Bates, Amy Tan, Wayson Choy, Yan Li, and Fred Wah.

Imagine our surprise when a professor told us that a colleague of hers has been researching and cataloging stories by Chinese Canadians, including Eric's and my stories. She phoned her colleague, and he came running from across the university to see us.

We gave a presentation about The Dragon and the Stars and its authors, describing the stories they had written for our anthology as well as other stories they have written. The audience received our presentation very well, and professors from places as diverse as New Hampshire, Washington, D.C., and Inner Mongolia asked questions about our stories and Chinese Canadian and American science fiction and fantasy writers.

Ka Nin Chan, the composer of the opera Iron Road, asked me about the Chinese characters in Star Trek. My reply: "What Chinese characters?" Eric added that there has never been a Chinese character in Star Trek, but there was a Chinese actor (Garrett Wang) who played a Korean character who was the only officer never promoted throughout all the seasons of Star Trek Voyager.

On Saturday evening, we had dinner at Lucinda House, a 150-year-old house owned and restored by Wilfred Laurier University. After dinner, arts reporters from the Chinese newspaper Guong Ming interviewed me about Chinese Canadian and Chinese American science fiction writers and genre fiction in North America.

Jim Wong-Chu, poet (Ghosts of Chinatown), past editor of Ricepaper magazine, and founder of the Asian Canadian Writers Workshop, made my day when he said that Eric and I were "pioneers" and that we had to continue encouraging Chinese Canadians to write science fiction and fantasy.

We met some interesting people at this conference. Petra Fachinger, a German languages professor researching Chinese literature at Queen's University, told us that some Germans have recently developed a fascination with Chinese culture. Farah Moosa, a Ph.D. student studying Chinese Canadian literature at McMaster University, knew what Wiscon is (It's a feminist-oriented science fiction convention in Madison, Wisconsin.). And Professor Patricia Chu from George Washington University told us about her daughters' love of fantasy stories such as Harry Potter.

Many thanks to Professors Yan Li (University of Waterloo) and Eleanor Ty (Wilfred Laurier University) and Jun Liu (University of Waterloo) for organizing and inviting us to this conference. Thanks to Sue Anne Tu for interpreting between English and Mandarin for my interview with the Guong Ming reporters.


The Dragon and the Stars presentation (photo by Donna Mak)

Professor Zhongming Chen, from the Foreign Languages College, Inner Mongolia University, speaks on the writings of Larissa Lai, Sky Lee, and Yan Li. Interestingly, there is a Canadian Studies Centre at Inner Mongolia University.

Jim Wong-Chu, poet (Ghosts of Chinatown), past editor of Ricepaper magazine, and founder of the Asian Canadian Writers Workshop, reads some of his poems.

Professor Eleanor Ty (Wilfred Laurier University) speaks on old and new diaspora subjectivities in Judy Fong Bates' Midnight at the Dragon Cafe.

Professor Yan Li (University of Waterloo), novelist (Lily in the Snow), and organizer of this conference.

In the centre: Romulan Ale at the Renison University College cafeteria?

Lunch on Saturday. Eric is drinking the Romulan Ale.

Eric gets an autograph from Denise Chong, author of The Concubine's Children, The Girl in the Picture: The Kim Phuc Story, and Egg on Mao.




2 comments:

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  2. Thank you, Mr. Mak! We truly appreciate your help!

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