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Joy Kogawa Biography

(1935– ), The Splintered Moon, A Choice of Dreams, Jericho Road, Woman in the Woods, Obasan

third-generation Japanese-Canadian writer, born in Vancouver. She was interned with her family during the Second World War and transported to the ghost town of Slocan in the Rockies of British Columbia, and then to Alberta. Her writings provide an invaluably complex vision of the ‘Canadian’ experience from her own unique perspective, at the same time writing into the nation's imaginative history aspects of its politics it might well prefer to forget. The Splintered Moon (1967), her first poetry collection, was followed by A Choice of Dreams (1974), Jericho Road (1977), and Woman in the Woods (1985). Her novel Obasan (1981, adapted for children as Naomi's Road, 1986), which disturbingly compounds fiction and documentary in defining truth, traces the fate of a third-generation Canadian family of Japanese origin in the face of Canadian Government internment policies during the Second World War. The novel is a moving exploration of the complexities of cultural diversity in a largely immigrant culture such as Canada's. Its sequel Itsuka (1992) follows the family's campaign to obtain redress from the Canadian authorities for their suffering.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Knole Kent to Mary Lavin Biography