This May, please join us in celebrating Asian Heritage Month: a recognition of the humanity, power, and ongoing struggles of Asian communities throughout the world. Book*hug is honoured to have published ground-breaking, critically-acclaimed fiction, non-fiction, and poetry by Asian authors, and for the next several weeks, we’ll be shining a light on these authors and their brilliant work. We know that our work, as allies, doesn’t end with blog posts, nor does it end at the end of May; the fight for Asian empowerment is perennial. We encourage you to support—and defer to—Asian voices, organizations, and initiatives, such as the ACLA (Asian Canadian Labour Alliance) and Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network).
Our series continues with Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being, by Amy Fung. In her debut essay collection, Fung takes a closer look at Canada’s mythologies of multiculturalism, settler colonialism, and identity, all through the lens of a national art critic. The book as a whole takes the form of a very long land acknowledgement; taken individually, each piece roots itself in the learning and unlearning process of a first-generation settler-immigrant as she unfurls each region’s sense of place and identity.
“As an Indigenous/Haudenosaunee writer and reader, I recognize within the pages of Amy Fung’s book that she does not try to convince us that she is a native rights ally but shows us with language as she moulds the term ally into a verb,” writes Janet Rogers. “Before I Was a Critic, I Was a Human Being does not pluck the weed from the top of the grassline but removes and exposes the roots to announce that humanity is what’s normal and commonplace. Her work, as a writer ally boils down to two simple things; remembering and reminding. Amy does this concisely, without pretension or want of reward. She is remembering her humanity in a time when a multitude of inhumane messages ambush us everyday.”
Amy Fung is a writer, researcher and curator born in Kowloon, Hong Kong, and spent her formative years in and around Edmonton on Treaty 6 Territory. Her writing has been published and commissioned by national and international publications, galleries, museums, festivals, and journals since 2007. Her multifarious curatorial projects have spanned exhibitions, cinematic and live presentations, as well as discursive events across Canada and abroad. Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being is her first book.