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Remind Me

Jenny Heijun Wills -- Book Launch

Tuesday Oct 08 2019 7:00 pm, Winnipeg, Grant Park in the Atrium

Launch of Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related.: A Memoir (McClelland & Stewart) featuring a conversation hosted by Sally Ito. Also featuring readings from emerging writers Brenden Gali and Tayler Buss.

Jenny Heijun Wills was born in Korea and adopted as an infant into a white family in small-town Canada. In her late twenties, she reconnected with her first family and returned to Seoul where she spent four months getting to know other adoptees, as well as her Korean mother, father, siblings, and extended family. At the guesthouse for transnational adoptees where she lived, alliances were troubled by violence and fraught with the trauma of separation and of cultural illiteracy. Unsurprisingly, heartbreakingly, Wills found that her nascent relationships with her family were similarly fraught.

Ten years later, Wills sustains close ties with her Korean family. Remarkably, meeting Jenny caused her birth parents to reunite after having been estranged since her adoption. Little by little, Jenny Heijun Wills is learning and relearning her stories and those of her biological kin, piecing together a fragmented life into something resembling a whole.

Jenny Heijun Wills was born in Seoul, South Korea and was adopted and raised in a white family in Southern-Ontario, Canada. In 2008 she reunited with her family in Asia. She’s lived, studied, and worked in Toronto, Montreal, Boston, and Seoul and holds a PhD in English Literary Studies. She currently teaches at the University of Winnipeg.

Sally Ito is a Japanese Canadian writer and translator whose most recent book, the creative nonfiction memoir The Emperor’s Orphans (Turnstone Press), was shortlisted in the nonfiction category of The Manitoba Book awards this year.

Brenden Gali is second generation Filipino of Canada currently living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Treaty 1 Territory. He is an emerging writer, and his work focuses on race, family, and mortality.

Tayler Buss is a Winnipeg based artist working in photography, video, and poetry. Through her work she explores cultural identity with the use of personal narratives and visual symbols.

See:

Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related.

- by Jenny Heijun Wills

Hardcover $29.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $26.96

A beautiful and haunting memoir of kinship and culture rediscovered.

Jenny Heijun Wills was born in Korea and adopted as an infant into a white family in small-town Canada. In her late twenties, she reconnected with her first family and returned to Seoul where she spent four months getting to know other adoptees, as well as her Korean mother, father, siblings, and extended family. At the guesthouse for transnational adoptees where she lived, alliances were troubled by violence and fraught with the trauma of separation and of cultural illiteracy. Unsurprisingly, heartbreakingly, Wills found that her nascent relationships with her family were similarly fraught.

Ten years later, Wills sustains close ties with her Korean family. Her Korean parents and her younger sister attended her wedding in Montreal, and that same sister now lives in Canada. Remarkably, meeting Jenny caused her birth parents to reunite after having been estranged since her adoption. Little by little, Jenny Heijun Wills is learning and relearning her stories and those of her biological kin, piecing together a fragmented life into something resembling a whole.

Delving into gender, class, racial, and ethnic complexities, as well as into the complex relationships between Korean women--sisters, mothers and daughters, grandmothers and grandchildren, aunts and nieces--Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related. describes in visceral, lyrical prose the painful ripple effects that follow a child's removal from a family, and the rewards that can flow from both struggle and forgiveness.

Emperor's Orphans, The

- by Sally Ito

Trade paperback $21.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $18.90

During the Second World War, approximately 4,000 Japanese-Canadians were "repatriated" to Japan. Among those Canadians sent back to were members of author and poet, Sally Ito's family. As a Japanese Canadian child growing up in the suburbs of Edmonton, Alberta, Ito's early life was a lone island of steamed tofu and vegetables amidst a sea of pot roast and mashed potatoes. Through the Redress movement of the late 80s, the eventual Parliamentary acknowledgment of wartime injustices, and the restoration of citizenship to those exiled to Japan she considers her work as an author of poetry and prose, meditating on themes of culture and identity.

Later as a wife and mother of two, Sally returns to Japan and re-lives the displacement of her family through interviews, letters, and shared memories. Throughout herjJourney Ito weaves a compelling narrative of her family's journey through the darkest days of the Pacific War, its devastating aftermath, and the repercussions on cultural identity for all the Emperor's Orphans.