For celebrating Canada's 150th birthday and Culture Days, for encouraging multicultural creative writing and lightening up community spirit, WS Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society hosted ‘From Far and Wide: 2017 Multicultural Creative Writing Festival’ from 10am to 1pm on September 29 at Richmond Cultural Centre, sponsored by Canada 150, Culture Days, BC Culture Days, City of Richmond, Richmond Cultural Centre and Richmond Public Library. More than 100 people attended the festival despite of the heavy rain.
Greeting Letter from Mayor Malcolm Brodie, City of Richmond
The festival started with the Canada national anthem and MLA John Yap’s welcome speech. He said, it was his honor and privilege to be there for the opening of the wonderful multicultural creative writing festival to celebrate Canada 150 and Culture Days. Canada is truly a special place in the world we’re living. It is important to have wonderful event such as this one to put communities together to celebrate 150 years of, in his opinion, the greatest country in the world, the country welcomes people from all parts of the world. To everyone involved organizing the event, he sent congratulations and great to see a lot of people to perform. He was sure it would be a very meaningful writing festival joining virtual art. Thanks to everyone to be there, on behalf of the province and his colleges, he presented an appreciation certificate to Sophia Zhang and the WSIMS team.
The 2017 Multicultural Creative Writing Contest started on August 15 and will end on October 15, so far around 150 original writings have been received including poems, essays, songs, short stories and more from Canada, China, India, Mongolia, Nigeria, US, New Zealand, etc. The writers' are originally from the background included but not limited to British, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Ireland, England, American, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean, New Zealand, Nigeria, Mongolia, Mexican, African and Filipino.
Since September 15, the contest committee, leading by Dr. Jan Walls together with 6 other committee members was informed, each member has 15 votes, the highest voted 15 writings were selected as ‘Touching Canada 2017’ writings. These 15 writings were shared at the 2017 Multicultural Creative Writing Festival.
William Chan, president of Chinese Canadian Writers association, shared his poem Agassiz.
Jude Neale, nominee for the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, shared her poem Allegro – Wild Berry.
Joyce Goodwin, retired social worker, shared her poem Altered State.
Cheonhak Kwon shared her poem A Poem of Gratitude. The translations of Kwon’s poetry received the Harvard University’s Translation Award and the 41st Korea Times Modern Korean Literature Award.
Bernice Lever, writer, poet, vice president of Vancouver Tagore Society shared her poem Canada – My Second Mother.
Janet Harvey, from Thornhill Ontario, Canada’s Global contest winner, her poem Dare to Dream was selected as one of the 15 ‘Touching Canada 2017’ writings.
Andrea Winterbottom, immigrated from Germany to North Vancouver in 1980, shared her poem Driving Down Memory Lane from Germany to Alberta and B.C.
Forest Torn, by Carol Cram, Chaucer Award and Goethe Award recipient, read by Julie Shen, Rebecca Song, Janine Hu and Jennifer Hu.
Ashok Bhargava, president of Writers International Network Canada at Government of BC., shared his poem In Search of Light, also shared his inspiring recovery story from cancer.
Barry Plamondon, two strokes survivor, three books published, member of the Holy Wow Poets in Maple Ridge, shared his poem John McRae.
Resilience - for Robert Davidson, Haida painter of the transformative Southeast Wind, by David Haskins, immigrated to Canada from England in 1953 at the age of eight, first Prizes winner from the CBC, the OPS, the CAA, GritLit, and Arts Hamilton; ready by Weiqiao Zhang, employee of Canadian Congress.
The Crow Piper of Kits Beach, by Ariadne Sawyer, Advisor for WSIMS, co-founder and host of The World Poetry Reading Series, World Poetry Café Radio Show and World Poetry Canada International.
The Hotel Swimming Pools of BC, by Alan Hill, Poet Laureate of the City of New Westminster, came to Canada in 2005 after meeting his Vietnamese wife to be while working for two years in Botswana. It was read by Anita Lo, Founder of Multicultural Arts Exchange Association.
Tongueless in Vancouver, by Dr. Pushpa Parekh, award-winning Poet, Professor of English and director of African Diaspora and the World at Spelman College. Pushpa also sent her reading. At the festival this poem was read by Cici Liang, Executive Director of North America International Culture Development Foundation.
Vancouver, the Beautiful City, by Harris Niu, Advisor for WSIMS, Executive President of Canadian Community Service Association, Vice President of North American Economic and Cultural Association.
The Moon over a Mountain Pass, and Three Stanzas of Plum-blossoms, by Diana Tong, Guqin Master, previous Guqin Teacher at UBC.
Beautiful Vancouver (original), Guitar by Musician Haimo, Piano by Artist Tianji Xie.
Qin Opera Qinqiang, by Yan Zhao, Actress and Singer.
Once Upon A time - Panning (original), dance by World First Class Dancer Juzhen Wu, and 8 others.
Northern Lights, and Niagara Falls (original), piano by Tianji Xie, Artist, Chair of Driftwood Artist Association.
Acting Mayor Bill McNulty took the time out of his busy schedule to be at Richmond Cultural Centre to support the event, he said the fact that we were there that day to share culture, to share literacy, to promote our community, he was always very pleased to see this kind of group of people here in Richmond. He said on behalf of mayor and councils, and city of Richmond, he sent thanks to the organizers to put this event together to share culture harmony, and he sent thanks to every participant and wish everyone all the best.
MLA Teresa Wat Addressed the Festival and presented the awards. She sent thanks to the organizers to put this event together to celebrate Canada 150 and Culture Days. She said, how fortunate we were to be able to sit there to enjoy literature and culture performance. She said Immigration and Multiculturalism are two very important things to her: she was an immigrant 20 years ago, and she has the experience of the very challenging journey of being an immigrant; we are proud of us living in a multicultural country. As a former Multicultural Minister, during the past 4 years she went across our province and talked with different people, and she felt we are all the same even we may look different and we may speak different languages. She sent thanks to the organizers to host the Multicultural Creative Writing Contest and festival, which motivated people from diverse background to communicate. Effective communication can help to solve many problems such as misunderstanding, misconception, discrimination, etc. She thought Multiculturalism is the best part of this country, BC is the most multicultural province of Canada. She presented Sophia Zhang and her team an appreciation certificate, and followed she presented the award certificates to the 15 ‘Touching Canada 2017’ Writers, as well as some dedicated volunteers for organizing this event.
Followed is the voted top 15 ‘Touching Canada 2017’ Writings list:
Agassiz, by William Chan
Allegro – Wild Berry, by Jude Neale
Altered State, by Joyce Goodwin
A Poem of Gratitude, by Cheonhak Kwon
Canada – My Second Mother, by Bernice Lever
Dare to Dream, by Janet Harvey
Driving Down Memory Lane from Germany to Alberta and B.C., by Andrea Winterbottom
Forest Torn, by Carol Cram
In Search of Light, by Ashok Bhargava
John McRae, by Barry Plamondon
Resilience, by David Haskins
The Crow Piper of Kits Beach, by Ariadne Sawyer
The Hotel Swimming Pools of BC, by Alan Hill
Tongueless in Vancouver, by Pushpa Parekh
Vancouver, the Beautiful City, by Harris Niu
Huge thanks to the Contest Committee: Jan Walls, Yvonne Walls, Ariadne Sawyer, Bernice Lever, Alan Hill, Tommy Tao, Harris Niu and Sophia Zhang.
Thanks to the Volunteers:
Greeting Letter from The Honourable Victor Oh, Senator - Ontario
Greeting Letter from MP Alice Wong
Greeting Letter from MP Joe Peschisolido
Photo Credit: Weiyan, Dayang, Otto Chu
For more photos, please check: https://www.flickr.com/photos/98491784@N07/albums
For videos, please check:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPjM3AYOXUIl4XzySz4B5Ew