All right, I know I’ve moaned in the past about how nobody ever notices my books and that they seem to languish in obscurity, blah blah blah. Well, scratch that, because I’m finally on a shortlist! And the City of Vancouver Book Award one at that. I’ve said to my friends many times over the years that the Vancouver award was the one I really, really cared about. I think about this city all the time when I’m writing. It might be obvious to say that I write about the Chinese Canadian community or immigration, but my real muse has been and continues to be the city of Vancouver. I’m not even saying that to suck up to the members of the award jury. It’s totally true.
My grandfather owned a barber shop on the corner of Main and Keefer. My father attended VanTech. My mother bought her first winter coat at Woodward’s. I graduated high school when the Canucks were making their historic 1994 run for the Stanley Cup. It doesn’t get more Vancouver than this. It doesn’t get more Vancouver than me.
No other city is so full of opposites and contradictions, beauty and human despair. No other city has a history so full of grit and industry and sin. And in no other city does a bear hitch a ride in a garbage truck before climbing out and surveying a downtown street.
I love Vancouver. And maybe, just maybe, it loves me back.
If you want to join in on my weeklong celebrations (the announcement of the winner is next Thursday the 20th), come see me read this Sunday the 16th at Guilt & Co. with Sophie B. Watson. I’ll be cheery! Infuriatingly so. Huzzah!