New material including photos, maps and an afterword by Karen Connelly is included in this new format edition of her 1993 Governor General’s Award-winning classic, Touch the Dragon: A Thai Journal. At the age of 17, the adventure-seeking Calgary teenager went to Thailand on a Rotary exchange program and her life changed forever. Twenty-four years later, Connelly is still travelling and writing, inspiring the world with her stories.Through vivid imagery, humour and careful observation of the families, school friends and Buddhist rituals around her, Connelly brings to life the small village in northern Thailand where she stayed for a year.Initially homesick and frustrated by the habits and lifestyle of the gentle but patriarchal Thais, Connelly begins to view herself as one of them by the end of her stay. The idea of returning to Canada becomes terrifying and strange because she has become so accustomed to her new community and the Thai way of life. Put together from her journals written at the time, Connelly’s to-the-moment chronicling of her experience reveals a momentous growing experience in the heart and mind of a young woman.
About the author
Karen Connelly is the author of nine books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Her first book, a collection of poems called The Small Words in my Body was published 22 years ago. It won the Pat Lowther Award. Her poetry has been translated into French, Spanish, Russian, and Burmese. She is also the author of several acclaimed books of prose, including The Lizard Cage, winner of the Orange Broadband New Writers Prize, Touch the Dragon, winner of the Governor General’s Award, and Burmese Lessons, a love story, shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award and the BC National Award for Nonfiction. Her journalism, essays and poetry have been published in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Life, Toronto Star, The Walrus, The New Humanist (Britain), National Geographic Traveller, Shambhala Sun, and dozens of literary magazines and periodicals in Canada, the U.S., Britain, and Asia.Her books are explorations of the countries where she has lived and travelled: Burma, Thailand, Spain, France, Greece, and, of course, Canada. In all three genres, she has increasingly assumed the role of writer as political witness. She has long been a supporter and an occasional board member of PEN Canada and has been active in various campaigns on behalf of writers in prison or living under persecution. She makes her home in Toronto with her family.