Transnational Border Shopping: Canadian Writing Across the Line


In November, 2006, three writers - Ashok Mathur, Hiromi Goto, and David Bateman - are touring Taiwan universities to discuss their own creative practice in the context of contemporary national and international politics. View the pdf version of the promotional package and check the blog and site for text/audio/video updates. While their practices range from poetry to performance to fiction to interdisciplinary artistic research, these three writers share concerns about the formation of identity and how to “cross the line” to open up new ways of writing creatively. “Transnational Border Shopping” will see these three writers travelling and presenting together, reading their works and discussing the politics and sensibility behind their practices. Rather than delivering formal or academic papers, they will be using their creative works as a springboard for a variety of informal discussions around Canadian literature, writing and arts practices in a globalized framework, and issues of identity in numerous contexts. This tour follows the 2005 “trans-Scribing Canada” writers tour of Taiwan that saw presentations from, Wayde Compton, Garry Gottfriedson, Larissa Lai, Glen Lowry, Roy Miki, Fred Wah, and Rita Wong. This years’ presenters will be travelling as a single team to five universities in Taipei, Taizhong, Gaoxiong, and Xinzhu, and, in addition to presentations, will be meeting with scholars and researchers to discuss their work and the larger contexts of world literatures.

The Writers

intra25 David Bateman has taught literature and creative writing at various Canadian post-secondary institutions. In 2005/06 he was writer-in-residence at Thompson Rivers University (Kamloops, British Columbia). Prior to that he was artist-in-residence at the Emily Carr Institute (Vancouver, BC) teaching performance and queer theory. His research interests include gender studies, critical race theory, and queer theory. He is also a performance artist specializing in autobiographical monologues that he has performed across the country over the past ten years. His most recent performance — Lotus Blossom Special; Metamorphosis & Misidentification in Madama Butterfly — was commissioned by Centre A in Vancouver and has been presented at Western Front (Vancouver), as well as venues in Calgary (Alberta), Kelowna (British Columbia) and Peterborough (Ontario). He has a PhD in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Calgary.


Hiromi Goto is an award-winning author whose short stories and critical writing have appeared, among others, in Ms magazine and the Oxford University Press anthology, Making A Difference. Her most recent book, Hopeful Monsters, is a collection of short stories released with Arsenal Pulp Press in Spring, 2004. Her first novel, Chorus of Mushrooms, was the 1995 recipient of the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize Best First Book Canada and Caribbean Region and the co-winner of the Canada-Japan Book Award. Hiromi’s second novel, The Kappa Child, was the 2001 winner of the James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award and was short-listed for the regional Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, Best Book Award, the Sunburst Award and the Spectrum Award. Her first children’s novel, The Water of Possibility was also released in 2001. Her body of work explores immigration, the racialized body, the gendered body and feminist and queer politics. Current areas of interest include the “normalization” and integration of “terror” in the global imagination and how it manifests in the seemingly safe space of suburban domesticity. Hiromi was born in Japan and immigrated to Canada with her family when she was three years old. Her childhood was spent in the rural west coast of British Columbia and then a small prairie town in Alberta. She studied literature and writing at the University of Calgary. She currently resides in Burnaby, British Columbia and is the mother of two children. Her fourth novel, Half World, is pending with Penguin Canada.


Ashok Mathur is a writer, cultural organizer, and artist-researcher. He currently holds a Canada Research Chair in Cultural and Artistic Inquiry at Thompson Rivers University (Kamloops, BC). His creative practice focusses on questions of identity including racialization, indigeneity, queer politics, nationalism/globalization, and interdisciplinarity. His recent novels include Once Upon an Elephant, an contemporary re-visioning of the Mahabharata’s creation story of Ganesh, and The Short, Happy Life of Harry Kumar, a retelling of the Ramayana through the lenses of current globalized politics and movements. His most recent project, A Little Distillery in Nowgong, is a multifaceted novel tracing the migration of a Parsi family from pre-independence India through postcolonial contexts and travels. This project will be published as a standalone novel but will also be an interdisciplinary arts installation involving video, audio, three-dimensional creations, and text in an attempt to re-situate the form of the novel.