The Book That Changed Your Life: Joy Kogawa

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      The Word Vancouver festival is set for its 2016 edition with a massively inclusive lineup of authors, appearing at venues around town from September 21 to 25.

      We asked a group of these much-admired writers to tell us about their finest reading experiences. Which books put a stamp on their imaginations early on? Which ones revealed to them the full powers of the written word?

      Here’s what groundbreaking writer and poet Joy Kogawa told us. She’s most famous for Obasan, her revered novel about the Japanese-Canadian internment. Her former home in Marpole is now a literary haven dubbed Historic Joy Kogawa House (one of the venues for Word Vancouver). She’ll read from her work at 1:30 p.m. on September 25, on the fest’s Community Garden stage at the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library.

      When I was seven to nine years old living in the mountains of B.C., I read and re-read Little Men by Louisa May Alcott. The Bhaer family life became my ideal life and my clear ambition was to have an orphanage when I grew up. The dream was not realized but the wish lingers on. It's not so much that the book was a turning point in my love for reading or writing, but that it fed an appetite to know others, especially the stranger needing a home.

      Joy Kogawa.