Meet the 2024 Writers

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3:00 pm | Saturday, August 17

Kevin Chong

Kevin Chong is the award-winning author of several books of fiction and nonfiction. His work has appeared in The GuardianThe Rumpus, and more. He currently lives in Vancouver and is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus.

Chong’s most recent book, The Double Life of Benson Yu, a finalist for the 2023 Scotiabank Giller Prize, is a fresh unique work of metafiction that follows a graphic novelist who loses control of  his own narrative.

In a Chinatown housing project lives twelve-year-old Benny, his ailing grandmother, and his strange neighbor Constantine, a man who believes he’s a reincarnated medieval samurai. When his grandmother is hospitalized, Benny manages to survive on his own until a social worker comes snooping. With no other family, he is reluctantly taken in by Constantine and soon, an unlikely bond forms between the two.

At least, that’s what Yu, the narrator of the story, wants to write.

The creator of a bestselling comic book, Yu is struggling with continuing the poignant tale of Benny and can’t help but interject from the present day, slowly revealing a darker backstory. Can Yu confront the demons he’s spent his adult life avoiding or risk his own life…and Benny’s?

Book cover: The Double Life of Benson Yu by Kevin Chong
Kevin Chong, photo by Iris Chia
Photo: Iris Chia