Wayson Choy, celebrated author of “The Jade Peony,” has died

VANCOUVER — Wayson Choy, the celebrated author of “The Jade Peony” and a powerful voice for the Chinese-Canadian community, has died.

His agent Denise Bukowski announced his death on Twitter on Sunday, saying that he died in his bed on Saturday night.

Choy was born in Vancouver in 1939 and had an illustrious career that spanned decades, winning a number of awards and becoming a member of the Order of Canada.

He is best known for his debut novel “The Jade Peony,” which is set in Vancouver’s Chinatown during the 1930s and 1940s and tells the stories of three children in an immigrant family.

The novel won critical acclaim, sharing the 1995 Trillium Book Award with a novel by Margaret Atwood. It also won the 1996 City of Vancouver Book Award and was named an American Library Association Notable Book of the Year in 1998.

Later, Choy’s follow-up novel “All that Matters” took home another Trillium and was shortlisted for the 2004 Giller Prize.

Choy is also the author of two acclaimed memoirs, “Paper Shadows,” and “Not Yet: A Memoir of Living and Almost Dying.”

The former details his childhood in Vancouver during and after the war, while the latter chronicles his experience suffering a combined asthma-heart attack.

For decades, Choy taught English and creative writing at Humber College, and continued even after his literary success. He insisted that teaching was his great love.

News of Choy’s death prompted a wave of condolences from authors on social media, with novelist Jen Sookfong Lee writing that everyone should aspire to be the kind of author and mentor Choy was.

She wrote that he attended her “first big reading” in 2007 and whispered to her, “You did a good job. I’m proud of you.”

“In the years following, he was unfailingly kind, always telling me he had read my latest book, always asking how publishing was treating me,” Sookfong Lee wrote.

“I don’t say this much but my heart is broken. He was every possible good thing I could have ever imagined. I have always loved you, Wayson.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer gets $7M from province for an emergency 24/7 homeless shelter

Councillor says the location will be decided through community consultations

‘Finer focus on job creation:’ Alberta government files red-ink budget

EDMONTON — The Alberta budget is counting on oil and gas bouncing… Continue reading

WATCH: Tabling of the 2020 Alberta budget

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is scheduled to reveal the provincial budget at… Continue reading

VIDEO: Grumpy sea lion resists help back to water in Washington state

Crews were able to coax her into a crate to carry her back to water

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

Gardening: Taking a break from the winter

Looking for a break from winter and dream of summer without leaving… Continue reading

Ottawa imposes new rules to protect fragile population of right whales

HALIFAX — Canada has rolled out new measures to protect the critically… Continue reading

Canada pumps nearly 900 billion litres of raw sewage into waterways since 2013

OTTAWA — Canada’s old-fashioned city sewer systems dumped nearly 900 billion litres… Continue reading

Federal government in good financial shape, provinces not so much: PBO

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals could add billions of dollars in spending… Continue reading

Ottawa’s LRT line leaves thousands out in the cold during heavy snowstorm

OTTAWA — Many transit riders in Ottawa were left out in the… Continue reading

All eyes on Wet’suwet’en chiefs’ meeting with federal, provincial ministers

SMITHERS, B.C. — The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation prepared… Continue reading

Scheer appears to backtrack on commitment not to allow debate on abortion

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer appears to be backtracking on a… Continue reading

Most Read