Fonds WC - Wayson Choy fonds

Photograph of Wayson Choy Photograph of Wayson Choy (verso) Eulogy for Pei Lim Photograph of two members of the Cui family Photograph of Wayson Choy as a child Photograph of Wayson Choy and family Photograph of Wayson Choy and a family member Chinese language elementary school textbook Biography of Mrs. Sitt Shee Lee (Leung Sum) Wayson Choy professional correspondence
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Wayson Choy fonds

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  • [ca. 1900] - 2005 (Creation)

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35 cm of textual records and other material
9 books in various sizes
1 videocassette (VHS) : col; 43 mins, 3 secs
30 3.5 inch floppy discs

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Biographical history

Wayson Choy, a Chinese Canadian author and teacher was born Choy Way Sun in Vancouver, British Columbia on 20 April, 1939 and raised in the city’s Chinatown neighbourhood. He was educated at the University of British Columbia, where he studied creative writing. He relocated to Toronto in 1962 and began teaching, first at Burnhamthorpe Collegiate (1966-67), before working as one of the original members of the Humber College teaching faculty in 1967, where he remained until 2004. After his retirement, Choy continued as an instructor at the Humber School for Writers.

Choy’s first novel, The Jade Peony was published in 1995. It won the Trillium Book Award and the Vancouver City Book Award. In 1999, this was followed by his first memoir, Paper Shadows: A Chinatown Childhood, which received numerous accolades, including being shortlisted for a Governor General award. His 2004 novel, All that Matters received a Trillium Book Award and was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. In 2005, Choy was named a member of the Order of Canada.

In 2009, Choy’s final memoir, Not Dead Yet: A Memoir of Living and Almost Dying was published. In 2010, The Jade Peony was included in the CBC’s Canada Reads competition. In 2015, he was presented with the George Woodcock Award, a lifetime achievement award for writers from British Columbia. He passed away in Toronto on 28 April, 2019 at 80 years old.

A lifelong advocate for his community, Choy is remembered as a trailblazing figure in Chinese Canadian literature, and LGBTQ literature, as one of the first openly gay writers of colour to achieve widespread success in Canada’s mainstream.

Custodial history

Material left to Michael Glassbourg, stored by Choy in his production company's office.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of the personal correspondence, records, research material and writing of Wayson Choy. Fonds includes photographs, letters, floppy discs, personal genealogical research, private records, and research material organized into subseries focusing on China and Chinese culture, Chinatowns in British Columbia and internationally, Chinese Canadian immigration and history, and Chinese Canadian individuals.

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