In mid-September I began a three month residency at the family home of Joy Kogawa in Vancouver. Joy is a colleague and friend. We have both been active in the Writers’ Union, and we often meet on picket lines and rallies, at the St. Lawrence Market Book Fair or Word on the Street.
I well remember the year Joy brought the issue of Japanese redress to the annual meeting of the Union which I am proud to say passed a motion supporting the movement and calling on the government to accede to the demand for acknowledgment and redress. Some of the arguments pointed out that in addition to the economic, physical and psychological trauma, there was cultural damage inflicted by internment. And that this included the loss to all Canadians of the contributions many talented people, including writers, might have made but for the massive disruption to family life, community and education.
It’s a privilege for any writer to be given time and a place to write. The big bonus of being asked to do that at Kogawa House is the house itself which comes with a community. And with a mission — that being for us all to be mindful of the embedded injustices that still exist in Canadian society. For starters, I’ll be hosting the Writing for Social Change reading series, speaking with writers who are actively engaged in community, whose work crosses cultures and assumes difference. We’ll be announcing the line-up soon.
Meanwhile….check out Historic Joy Kogawa House at www.kogawahouse.com.