Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Literary

Hollow Bamboo

A Novel

by (author) William Seto Ping

Initial publish date
Feb 2023
Literary, Asian American, Historical
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2023
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


The hilarious and heartbreaking story of two William Pings in Newfoundlandthe lost millennial and the grandfather he knows nothing about

William Ping’s millennial life revolves around eating at restaurants, posting online about eating at restaurants, then overanalyzing it. This changes unexpectedly when a dinner with his Chinese girlfriend’s family goes sideways and his insecurity about his biracial identity and his ignorance of his own Chinese heritage overflow like lava. During a much-needed break from the dinner table, Will is visited in the men’s room by a sarcastic, bullying spirit named Mo. The spirit whisks him into the past to learn about the life of his grandfather, the first William Ping, who emigrated from China to Newfoundland in 1931 to work in a laundry.

Based on a true story, Hollow Bamboo recounts with humour and sympathy the often-brutal struggles, and occasional successes, faced by some of the first Chinese immigrants in Newfoundland. It is a journey of heartbreak, sacrifice, brotherhood and family ties. But most of all, it is about love and survival on the Rock.

Drawing on elements of magical realism, autofiction and satire, as well as deep historical research, Hollow Bamboo is a fresh and original portrayal of our past and our present, and the debut of an extraordinary new author.

About the author

WILLIAM PING is a Chinese-Canadian writer from Newfoundland. After completing his Master of Arts at Memorial University in 2020, he was named a Fellow of the School of Graduate Studies. He received the 2022 Cox & Palmer Creative Writing Award as well as the 2021 Landfall Trust. His debut novel, Hollow Bamboo, which he wrote for his master’s degree, received the Award for Thesis Excellence from the English department. His work has previously been featured on the CBC, in Riddle Fence, and in the anthologies Us, Now and Hard Ticket.


William Seto Ping's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“William Ping is an exceptionally talented writer.” — Madeleine Thien, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing

“By turns funny and infuriating, Hollow Bamboo immerses the reader in the lived experience of anti-Asian racism in Canada. A magical green creature, a millennial, and the author share a wry sensibility in this entertaining debut novel.” — Vincent Lam, author of On The Ravine

"Hollow Bamboo is uber-smart, outrageously funny, fast-paced and elegant, but also – and I don’t know how he does this! – haunting, sobering about racism, about history, about family; fiercely insightful, and magical in every way. Here is a new voice - urgent, tender, hard hitting. Like nothing I’ve ever read before, but something I want to keep reading, forever." — Lisa Moore

"In this unforgettable, page-turning story that defies genre, William Ping shows us the tenacity and joy of the men of the early Chinese community in St. John as they establish life in a hostile place. Hollow Bamboo is an act against forgetting and the legacy we inherit through the resilience and efforts of those who came before.” — Carrianne Leung, author of That Time I Loved You