My coworker wrote a book, ya’ll! Chinkstar by Jon Chan Simpson (Coach House Books) hit stores Monday and so Monday night I, along with a group from work, headed downtown to No One Writes to the Colonel to celebrate its launch. The place was already hopping when we arrived. I think the venue could have been a bit bigger as I found it difficult to move through such a tightly packed crowd, but the atmosphere was very jovial and full of excitement, everybody having a great time. The folks from Coach House were there selling hot-off-the-press copies of Chinkstar. Apparently there were dumplings, though the pans had been scooped clean by the time I got to the back of the venue where the food was (which is how I know they must have been delicious), along with pretty egg tarts and oh-so fluffy cookies from Boko Bakery made to look like book covers.
Jon took to the stage and did a fantastic reading from his book. The passage was an excellent teaser of the kind of humourous, fresh, no-holds-barred voice you can expect when reading Chinkstar. Afterward he said his thank-yous, overwhelmed at the support of friends and family, including a touching shout-out to his aunts for feeding him so much food over the years. This was followed by a signing.
I left shortly thereafter, book and cookie in hand. It was a good time all around. Congrats again, Jon!
From Coach House Books:
Everything was about to change. In less than forty-eight hours, guy’d be taking the stage in Van City, owning an audience meant for some all-hype-no-talent new-money rapper, spitting next-level truths that’d have A&Rs scrapping for him coast to coast.
He’d ink some paper and drop an album that the world didn’t even know it had been waiting for. All with game and swag to spare.
To the kids gathered out there in the bush somewhere between Township Road 382 and the United States of MTV, this man was god. Chi-rhyme, nip-hop, zippa-flow, slanty, jaunedell, chinksta: all planets in a system revolving around its rising son, King Kwong, my brother.
Chinksta rap is all the rage in Red Deer, Alberta. And the king of Chinksta is King Kwong, Run’s older brother. Run isn’t a fan of Kwong’s music – or personality, really. But when Kwong goes missing just days before his crowning performance and their mom gets wounded by a stray bullet, Run finds himself, with his sidekick, Ali, in the middle of a violent battle between Red Deer’s rival gangs – the Apes and the Necks – on the run from his crush’s behemoth brother, and rethinking his feelings about his family and their history, his hatred of rice-rap and what it means to be Asian.
About the author: Jon Chan Simpson grew up in Red Deer, Alberta, and lives in Toronto. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s MA creative writing program, and his work has been featured in Ricepaper magazine.
Chinkstar is available now.