Jim Wong-Chu (1949-2017)

The faculty, staff, and students of the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies Program are deeply saddened by the passing of activist, organizer, writer, and poet Jim Wong-Chu on July 11, 2017.

Born in Hong Kong, Jim came to Canada in 1953 as a paper son. He studied photography and design at the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art + Design) from 1975-1981 and also studied Creative Writing at UBC from 1985-1987. As one of the main founders of the Asian Canadian Writer’s Workshop, he was instrumental in creating its magazine, Ricepaper, and establishing its Emerging Writer Award. He also helped found the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society/explorAsian and literASIAN: A Festival of Pacific Rim Asian Canadian Writing. His photography and poetry have been widely anthologized and he is the author of Chinatown Ghosts, a collection of poetry, and co-editor of the groundbreaking anthologies Many-Mouthed Birds: Contemporary Writing by Chinese Canadians, Swallowing Clouds: An Anthology of Chinese-Canadian Poetry, and Strike the Wok: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Canadian Fiction.

Jim’s special gift was his ability to knit together diverse communities from grassroots community activists to university researchers across multiple generations. Endlessly curious about diasporic histories, he was always concerned about encouraging and supporting the current and future generations of writers and artists. He donated his papers to UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections in 2013, creating one of the most valuable archival collections available on Asian North American culture. When the ACAM was founded in 2013, he was an early supporter and regularly attended and spoke at its events.

ACAM would like to extend our sincere condolences to Jim’s family and friends. He is deeply missed.

Jim Wong-Chu at Centre A

For more information: https://www.asiancanadianwiki.org/w/Jim_Wong_Chu

“Photo-Poetics / Photo-Politics: Visualizing Social Transformation”, a panel discussion with Jim Wong-Chu, Jack Jardine and Shelly Rosenblum moderated by ACAM faculty member Glenn Deer. Centre A, October 16, 2014. http://ikblc.ubc.ca/photopoetics-2/

“Asian Canadian Studies with Terry Watada, Jim Wong-Chu, and Glenn Deer” panel discussion. Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, November 27, 2014. http://ikblc.ubc.ca/terrywatada/

More information about the Jim Wong-Chu fonds at UBC Rare Books and Special Collections can be found here: http://rbscarchives.library.ubc.ca/index.php/jim-wong-chu-fonds