Denise Chong

Denise Chong, a third-generation Canadian of Chinese descent, grew up in Prince George, BC. She earned a BA in Economics at the University of British Columbia and an MA in Economics and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. Chong began her writing career as a journalist on the Ubyssey, the UBC student newspaper. A 1987 visit to her mother's ancestral village in Guangdong inspired Chong's best-known book, The Concubine's Children (1994). It is the story of her grandmother May Ying (the concubine) and her mother Hing, and their life in the Chinatowns of British Columbia. Much of that history had been hidden from Chong's own generation. The Concubine's Children, which won numerous awards and was later adapted for the stage. Her second book, The Girl in the Picture, tells the story of Kim Phuc, the girl whose image as she fled from a napalm attack in her village became emblematic of the Vietnam War. Chong's latest book, Egg on Mao, focuses on Lu Decheng, who gained international notoriety for defacing Mao's portrait during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

Curriculum Links

Imagination and creative process; historical research; family and community history.


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New Artist
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Program Type
Residency
Residency
Performance
Performance
Workshop
Workshop
Senior
Seniors
Language
English
French
French Immersion

Author Visit

Residency Performance English

An author in the classroom Denise Chong, an award-winning, internationally published author, has taken personal and family stories to create groundbreaking social histories. One of Canada's most distinguished writers of creative non-fiction, Denise is best known for The Concubine's Children, a memoir of her grandmother in Canada's old Chinatown. Her second book, The Girl in the Picture, was based on the famous photograph from the Vietnam War. This was followed by Egg on Mao, about the democracy movement that was crushed in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and most recently Lives of the Family, which explores the Chinese immigrant experience.

Participants:
Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12, General Public
Maximum:
60
Discipline:
Literary Arts
Time and Price:
One hour session: 195 + HST
Request a Booking

The workings of a writer

Residency Workshop English

This session introduces students to the process that a writer follows, in drawing on memory and imagination, and as well, the sheer hard work of research and re-writing. Depending on the grade level of students, the author also discusses personal stories and the power of narrative as ways to help understand larger issues of society such as notions of citizenship, the immigrant experience, equality, war and human rights.

Participants:
Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12, Teachers, General Public
Maximum:
30
Discipline:
Literary Arts
Time and Price:
One hour session: 195 + HST
Request a Booking

Author Reading and Writing Workshop

Residency Workshop Performance English Seniors

Denise Chong, an award-winning, internationally published author, has taken personal and family stories to create groundbreaking social histories. Best known for The Concubine's Children, a memoir of her grandmother in Canada's old Chinatown, Denise has also published The Girl in the Picture about a famous photograph from the Vietnam War, and Egg on Mao, about a bus mechanic who joined the democracy movement in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Her latest book, Lives of the Family (Oct. 2013), is set in the Ottawa area and features linked stories from a time when a Chinese family ran the only local cafe in town. She can speak from a writer’s point of view about the strengths and flaws of memory and her own approach and goals in constructing a text.

Writing Workshop Having written about lives lived and living memory, Denise will discuss and lead a group discussion of the tools of the non-fiction writer, including working with memory, methods of and handling research, and differences between the text and a life.

Participants:
Seniors
Discipline:
Literary Arts
Time and Price:
Performance, with talk/presentation: $240 + HST
Book club visit: $155 + HST
Writing workshop:  1 hour $240 + HST
Writing workshop:  2 hours $315 + HST
Request a Booking

Writing workshop

Residency Workshop English Seniors

Having written about lives lived and living memory, Denise will discuss and lead a group conversation about the tools of the non-fiction writer, including working with memory, methods of handling research, and differences between the text and a life.

Participants:
Seniors
Maximum:
12 participants
Discipline:
Literary Arts
Time and Price:
Writing workshop:  1 hour $240 + HST
Writing workshop:  2 hours $315 + HST
Request a Booking