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Fiction Asian American

The Spirits Have Nothing to Do with Us

New Chinese Canadian Fiction

edited by Dan K. Woo

contributions by Bingji Ye, Ellen Chang-Richardson, Isabella Wang, Eddy Boudel Tan, Yilin Wang, Sam Cheuk, Anna Ling Kaye, Sheung-King & Lydia Kwa

Wolsak and Wynn Publishers Ltd
Initial publish date
May 2023
Asian American, Literary, Anthologies (multiple authors), Family Life
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2023
    List Price

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The Spirits Have Nothing to Do with Us is an anthology of fascinating and singular short stories from some of the best Chinese Canadian authors writing today.

About the authors

Dan K. Woo's family came to Canada in the 1970s. His grandfather was a fire captain and the first firefighter to die on duty in British Hong Kong, partly a result of the British colonial system. In 2018, Woo won the Ken Klonsky Award for Learning How to Love China (Quattro Books). His writing has appeared in such publications as the South China Morning Post, Quill & Quire and China Daily USA. A Toronto native, he lives with his partner in the city and writes in his free time. He is currently studying at the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst and SANS Institute. 


Dan K. Woo's profile page

Bingji Ye came to Canada from Northern China. With majors in international business and economics, she graduated from Hebei University of Economics and Business and the University of Alberta. A poet, novelist and educator, Bingji wrote poems and stories for Chinese language media in Canada. Her first novel, The Trap of Yves Saint Laurent Scent, was published by one of China’s biggest publishers in 2006. The novel is about romance, conspiracy and commercial war. She has lived in Edmonton, Regina, Ottawa
and the Greater Toronto Area with her family.

Bingji Ye's profile page

Ellen Chang-Richardson is an award-winning poet of Taiwanese and Chinese Cambodian descent whose multi-genre writing has appeared in Augur, The Fiddlehead, Grain, Plenitude, Watch Your Head: Writers and Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis, The Spirits Have Nothing to Do with Us: New Chinese Canadian Fiction and others. The co-founder of Riverbed Reading Series, they are a member of Room’s editorial collective, long con magazine’s editorial board and the creative poetry collective VII. They are represented by Tasneem Motala at the Rights Factory and currently live on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Nation (Ottawa, Canada).

Ellen Chang-Richardson's profile page

Isabella Wang is the author of the chapbook On Forgetting a Language (Baseline Press, 2019), and her full-length debut, Pebble Swing (Nightwood Editions, 2021), shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Among other recognitions, she has been shortlisted for Arc’s Poem of the Year contest, The Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Award and Long Poem Contest and was the youngest writer to be shortlisted twice for The New Quarterly’s Edna Staebler Essay Contest. Her poetry and prose have appeared in over thirty literary journals and three anthologies. An editor at Room magazine, she also works for poetry in canada and Massy Books, and directs her own non-profit mentorship and consulting business, 4827 Revise Revision St. (iBella Inc.).

Isabella Wang's profile page

Eddy Boudel Tan writes stories that depict a world much like our own – the heroes are flawed, truth is distorted, and there is as much hope as there is heartbreak. He’s the author of two novels: After Elias, a finalist for the ReLit Awards and the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, and The Rebellious Tide (Dundurn Press). In 2021, he was named a Rising Star by the Writers’ Trust of Canada. His short stories can be found in Joyland, Yolk, Gertrude Press and The G&LR, as well as in Queer Little Nightmares: An Anthology of Monstrous Fiction and Poetry (Arsenal Pulp Press). He lives in Vancouver with his husband where he is currently writing his next novel while listening to the language of birds from his balcony.

Eddy Boudel Tan's profile page

Yilin Wang 王艺霖 (she/they) is a writer, a poet, and Chinese-English translator. Her writing has appeared in Clarkesworld, Fantasy Magazine, The Malahat Review, Grain, CV2, The Ex-Puritan, the Toronto Star, The Tyee, Words Without Borders, and elsewhere. She is the editor and translator of The Lantern and Night Moths (Invisible Publishing, 2024). Her translations have also appeared in POETRY, Guernica, Room, Asymptote, Samovar, The Common, LA Review of Books’ “China Channel,” and the anthology The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories (TorDotCom 2022). She has won the Foster Poetry Prize, received an Honorable Mention in the poetry category of Canada’s National Magazine Award, has been longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize, and has been a finalist for an Aurora Award. Yilin has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and is a graduate of the 2021 Clarion West Writers Workshop.

Qiu Jin 秋瑾 (1875–1907) was a Chinese writer, poet, essayist, revolutionary, and the founder of the feminist publication China Women’s News 中国女报. Defying the gender expectations of her time, she practiced crossdressing, learned sword-fighting and horseback riding, and acquired a traditional scholarly education. Later, she connected with other activists of China’s feminist movement, studied abroad in Japan, and returned home to join a revolution against the oppressive imperial Qing dynasty government and for women’s rights. When the uprising she took part in failed, she chose to die as a martyr rather than escape, which has led her to become known as a feminist revolutionary icon in China and internationally. In the brief thirty-two years of life before her execution, Qiu Jin wrote over two-hundred poems, which have been compiled into various collections posthumously.

Fei Ming 废名 (1901-1967) was an influential modern Chinese poet, short story writer, novelist, and essayist, and a member of the Yǔ Sī Sè 语丝社, a literary group founded by Lu Xun and Zhou Zuoren. He was the author of various poetry books, short story collections, and novels, including Mirror, The Stories of the Bamboo Grove, and Bridge. Fei Ming’s work was deeply influenced by Buddhism, Daoism, and different schools of Chinese philosophy.

Dai Wangshu 戴望舒 (1905–1950) was a poet, editor, translator, and leading figure in the Chinese modernist literature movement. With an interest and education in French literature, he was influenced by the work of French Neo-symbolist poets such as Paul Fort and Francis Jammes, as well as ancient Daoist texts and Tang dynasty verse. His writing blends archaic allusions and diction with modern poetics to explore themes such as love, death, and nostalgia.

Zhang Qiaohui 张巧慧 (1978–) is a Chinese writer, poet, essayist, a member of the Chinese Writers Association, and the curator of Chenzhifo Art Gallery. She has published five poetry collections and an essay collection in Chinese. Her writing has appeared in numerous literary journals, including People’s Literature, Poetry Journal, and October, and been selected for “year’s best” anthologies. She has received honors such as the Sanmao Literary Essay Prize. In 2018, the Chinese journal Poetry named her one of China’s “top 20 most innovative women poets.”

Xiao Xi 小西 (1974–) is a poet based in Qingdao in Shandong, China. She is the author of two poetry books in Chinese, Blue Salt 蓝色的盐and The Wind Would Not Cease 风不止. Her poetry has appeared in dozens of Chinese literary journals such as People’s Literature, Poetry Journal, and October, and has been published in English translation in POETRY and Guernica.

Yilin Wang's profile page

Sam Cheuk is the author of Love Figures (Insomniac Press, 2011) and Deus et Machina (Baseline Press, 2017). He holds an MFA in creative writing from New York University and BA in English literature from University of Toronto. He is currently working on the second half of the diptych, tentatively titled Marginalia, which examines the function, execution, and generative potential behind censorship.

Sam Cheuk's profile page

Anna Ling Kaye is a writer and columnist. She has served as artistic editor at PRISM international and Ricepaper magazines, and guest editor at The New Quarterly Magazine. Kaye’s fiction has been finalist for the Journey Prize, CBC Short Story Prize and PEN Canada New Voices Prize, and won the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award. A third-culture kid of mixed-heritage, Kaye is grateful to live in Vancouver on the traditional and unceded homelands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Anna Ling Kaye's profile page

Sheung-King (Aaron Tang)’s debut novel You are Eating an Orange. You are Naked (Book*hug Press), was a finalist for the 2021 Governor General's Award, a finalist for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, longlisted for CBC’s Canada Reads 2021 and named one of the best book debuts of 2020 by the Globe and Mail. Born in Vancouver, Sheung-King grew up in Hong Kong. His work examines “the interior lives of the transnational Asian diaspora” (Thea Lim, The Nation). He taught creative writing at the University of Guelph. He now teaches at Avenues: The World School, Shenzhen. His next novel, Batshit Seven, will be published by Penguin Random House Canada in 2024. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph

Sheung-King's profile page

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

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