explorASIAN / Past Festivals

A Reading of Taiwanese History in Canada Through Literature


As the first Taiwanese-Canadian story collection ever published in English, Julia Lin’s book, “Miah” is a rare look at Taiwanese and modern Canadian life, historical, and personal, and completely honest.

Miah means “fate” in Taiwanese. Spanning much of the twentieth century, these linked, subtly understated stories trace the destinies of simple folk from the brutal Japanese occupation of the early twentieth century through to the “White Terror” of the exiled Chinese Mainlanders and the Kuomintang, and finally to modern Taiwan and Canada. In the powerfully gripping “Miah,” a woman from Vancouver accompanies her mother to Taiwan for her grandmother Ah Mah’s funeral. There she discovers the tragic story of Fifth Uncle, who was hounded by Kuomintang forces until he took pesticides and died . . . In “The Colonel and Mrs Wang” a Mainlander officer and his Taiwanese-raised son confront each other over politics. One day, the son is betrayed to the authorities. Who was the anonymous informer? . . . In the touching story “Lysander,” a modern day Taiwanese boy is sent to Vancouver for his education. A diamond cannot be polished without friction, he has been taught. He must bear the hardship in an alien teenage culture where he tries to desperately cope and eventually loses himself.

The presentation and reading of “Miah” is accompanied by a tour of the UBC Library’s Chung Collection for an in-depth look at the archival collection related to early Chinese Canadian history.


2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

The presentation will last 30 minutes.  The UBC library’s Chung Collection tour is 30 minutes and space is limited. The first 30 people will get admitted to the tour.

Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (Victoria Learning Theatre)
1961 East Mall – map

Speaker Biography

Julia Lin

Julia Lin was born in Taiwan and lived there and in Vietnam before her family immigrated to Canada when she was nine.  Since then, Julia has lived in Vancouver and its environs, Toronto, and northern British Columbia.  She holds a post-graduate degree in computing education (University of British Columbia) and has taught high school math, science, and computing science in British Columbia for a number of years.  Her writing mentor, M.G. Vassanji, encouraged her to complete the short story collection, Miah, after she submitted the first stories in the 2009 Humber Creative Writing Program. Julia lives in Vancouver.