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Fiction Apocalyptic & Post-apocalyptic

A Dream Wants Waking

contributions by Lydia Kwa

Wolsak and Wynn Publishers Ltd
Initial publish date
Oct 2023
Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Literary, Cultural Heritage, Asian American, Dragons & Mythical Creatures, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price

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In 2219 CE Luoyang, a city patched together after the Great Catastrophe, the half-human, half-fox spirit Yinhe moves through her most recent incarnation. The city is watched over by No. 1, an artificial intelligence housed in a giant brain created by the scientists of Central Government, which entertains and monitors all the inhabitants of the city, both human and chimerical. But No. 1 is starting to behave erratically and the power of the Spirit Supreme Assembly, with its demand for pure bloodlines, is growing. Yinhe is summoned to the Dream Zone, where the chimerical creatures formed by the scientists are contained to do the most dangerous jobs of the city. There Yinhe is given information that will give her the chance to create great change in the city, to stave off an ancient enemy and, perhaps, to reunite with her soulmate, lost many lives before.

Weaving a silken web of Chinese myth, speculative fiction and storytelling Lydia Kwa has brilliantly realized a future where questions of sentience, of personhood and of the truth of dreams wrap around a timeless quest for freedom and for love.

About the author

Lydia Kwa was born in Singapore but moved to Toronto to begin studies in Psychology at the University of Toronto in 1980. After finishing her graduate studies in Clinical Psychology at Queen's University in Kingston, she moved to Calgary, Alberta; then to Vancouver, BC, and has lived and worked here on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples since 1992.

Kwa has published two books of poetry (The Colours of Heroines, 1992; sinuous, 2013) and four novels (This Place Called Absence, 2000; The Walking Boy, 2005 and 2019; Pulse, 2010 and 2014; Oracle Bone, 2017). Her next novel, A Dream Wants Waking, will be published by Buckrider Books, an imprint of Wolsak & Wynn, in Fall 2023. A third book of poetry from time to new will be published by Gordon Hill Press in Fall 2024.

She won the Earle Birney Poetry Prize in 2018; and her novels have been nominated for several awards, including the Lambda Literary Award for Fiction.

She has also exhibited her artwork at Centre A (2014) and Massy Art Gallery (2018) and has self-published two poetry-visual art chapbooks. An essay “The Wheel of Life: From Paradigm to Presence” appears in the art catalogue In the Present Moment: Buddhism, Contemporary Art, and Social Practice by Haema Sivanesan (Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 2022).

Lydia Kwa's profile page


  • Short-listed, Foreword INDIES Award for Science Fiction

Editorial Reviews

"Lydia Kwa's A Dream Wants Waking is a novel of ideas – big ideas. While the plot is engaging enough and the characters are endearing enough, ultimately, it is the ideas that draw the reader in and keep the pages turning. Or, even better, the ideas are often big enough to demand a pause in the page turning to give the reader a moment to reflect and internalise the experience. It is this trait that makes it the sort of novel one wants to return to for multiple readings."

Quarterly Literary Review Singapore

"A Dream Wants Waking is a strange novel, a hectic novel, but also a thoughtful and fascinating novel. Kwa offers observations on the things preoccupying us considerably these days (A.I., climate change), but offers us hope for how we can change the world, connect with our pasts, and perhaps set things right."

Miramichi Reader

"The melding of the technical with the mystical is masterfully done. This thrilling and innovative tale will have readers hooked."

Publishers Weekly

"Like all the best literature, Kwa’s work is both timely and timeless. It supports reflection on our current global crises of war, gender oppression and ecological collapse, and at the same time tells timeless stories that entertain, instruct and illuminate."

Vancouver Sun

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