Welcome (back) to Creative Kids Tales, Wai Chim!
Last year, we were lucky enough to have Wai as a guest speaker at the CKT festival, where she talked about her debut YA book Freedom Swimmer, published by Allen & Unwin in Sept 2016 and shortlisted for the inaugural Readings Young Adult Book Prize.
Wai is the author of a number of children’s titles inspired by her cultural heritage, including the Chook Chook series published by the University of Queensland Press and Shaozhen, part of the Through My Eyes: Natural Disaster Zone series. Her latest novel, The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling (due out August 2019), is a heartfelt portrayal of love, culture, family, mental illness, and of course, dumpling, set in Sydney’s Inner West.
Wai Chim was born in New York City, a first generation Chinese-American. Her parents didn’t speak much English, so she grew up speaking Cantonese at home and absorbing Western culture through books, TV and school, often sneaking stories into bed to read well into the night.
Wai graduated from New York’s elite Stuyvesant High School and later from Duke University with majors in Economics and English. After graduation, with no real idea what to do next, Wai moved to Japan where she spent over a year teaching English to children.
In 2006, she moved to Australia to enjoy the sun and to pursue her passion for writing. Here, she made Sydney her permanent home, and completed a Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing at the University of Sydney.
As someone who wanted to find books and works that reflected her cultural experiences, but found them few and far between, Wai was excited to be part of 'Boundless' the first-ever festival focused on Indigenous and culturally diverse Australian writers.
Wai has worked on a number of projects with WestWords including The Storyroom, a writers’ group at Parramatta City Library for young people aged 10-14. She enjoys bringing the focus of writing and storytelling to Western Sydney and beyond, and embraces #ownvoices (a useful shorthand for books with diverse characters that are written by people who share those identities.)
Outside of writing, Wai enjoys cooking and 'pretending to yoga'. As part of the internet generation, she works as a digital producer, creative and copywriter for a number of notable Australian agencies and brands such as The Starlight Children's Foundation. She also spends a lot of her time creating paper craft animations and adventures for @bogsthepenguin.
Wai is a firm believer that anyone can write any story they want to – and they should, and hopes to see the spectrum of diverse stories and voices continue to grow.
Find out more about Wai with the following links:
Wai's website: www.waichim.com
Wai on Facebook: www.facebook.com/waichimauthor
Wai on Twitter: twitter.com/onewpc
Wai on Instagram: www.instagram.com/onewpc
Introduction by Fiona Lloyd
View some of Wai Chim's books: