Monday, May 18, 2009

Joy Kogawa

Joy Kogawa is one of British Columbia's most celebrated and inspirational authors, whose work has been instrumental in raising Canadian consciousness about wartime injustices. Ms. Kogawa's award-winning first novel, Obasan, is an illuminating portrayal of the internment of Japanese-Canadians in Canada during World War II. Obasan is now considered one of the most important novels ever published in Canada, and is required curriculum for Canadian high schools and universities.

Ms. Kogawa has been active in social justice movements across Canada, in the areas of poverty and human rights. She is a powerful advocate for victims of wrong, and her work continues to inspire citizens throughout the nation. Through Ms. Kogawa's solid, steady efforts, the issues of internment of Canadians of Japanese descent were brought to the attention of the Federal Government, and led to the Japanese-Canadian Redress Agreement in 1988.

Ms. Kogawa was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1986. She has received honourary doctorates from seven Canadian universities, and is a Fellow of Ryerson Polytechnical University. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Asian American Studies, and the NAJC National Award from the National Association of Japanese Canadians.

The Literary Review of Canada has listed Obasan as one of Canada's 100 most important books. In 2005, the Vancouver Public Library chose Obasan for the One Book One Vancouver program. []


A winner of:

1. Books in Canada First Novel Award

2. Canadian Authors' Association Book of the Year Award


1. Note to a Gentleman

The time
to talk about your wife
is before

It is the difference
between a shield
and a sword And if you want the battle
to be fought without arms
bring her with you

2. Offerings

what you offere us —
a soap bubble
a glass thread —
what you place
in open hands —
one branch
of one snow fleck
a sliver
of smoke

and if and if
the offering burst
if the smoke
is swallowed in the night we lift
the barricades
we take the edges
of our transience
we bury the ashes
of our wording
and sift
the silences

3. If your mirror breaks

if when you are holding a
hand mirror when you are
sitting in the front seat of a car
and the mirror breaks
you must stop everything quickly
step on the brakes
leap from the car

if when you are holding in
your arms a mirror and you
feel the glass sudden in your veins
if your throat bleeds with
brittle words and
you hear in the distance the
ambulance siren if your mirror bnreaks into
a tittering sound of tinkling glass
and you see the highway stretch
into a million staring splinters
you must stop everything gently
wait for seven long years
under a sky of whirling wheels if your mirror breaks
oh if your mirror breaks

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sarah Willis

SARAH WILLIS, Paralegal: Born in Nashville, Tennessee and raised in Gainesville, Florida. Received a B.A. in Political Science cum laude with honors from Wake Forest University in 2002, a Paralegal Certificate from the Center for Legal Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2002 and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Classics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008. Sarah worked at the firm from 2002-2004 and returned in the fall of 2008. In the intervening years, she worked at the American Red Cross in Tucson, Arizona and as a paralegal for a local commercial real estate and small business practice. She resides in Durham.


A winner of New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction 2000, and The Cleveland Arts Prize in Literature 2000.
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