Hiromi Goto

Mentors
2017
Scholars:

Through her creative work, author, editor, and teacher Hiromi Goto bridges cultures and experiences, and brings to the fore the importance of listening to historically marginalized voices.

Hiromi Goto is a Japanese Canadian author, editor, and teacher. Born in 1966 in Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan, she immigrated to Canada with her family in 1969. A daughter of mushroom farmers, her formative years were lived in rural southwestern British Columbia and southern Alberta. Her experiences of immigration, bilingualism (Japanese/English), farming, sexism, and living on colonized land have informed her writing and her community engagements throughout her career. 

She is the author of the groundbreaking Chorus of Mushrooms, her first novel. It went on towin the 1995 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, Canada and Caribbean Region, and was co-winner of the Canada-Japan Book Award. 

Since then, Goto has gone on to publish widely across many literary forms. Her second adult novel, The Kappa Child, was awarded the 2001 James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award, a prize that recognizes books that expand or explore our understanding of gender. She has published three novels for children and youth, a book of poetry, and a collection of short stories (adult). Working at the intersections of language, social justice, representation, gender, and identity, Goto’s writing communicates across cultures, ideologies, and imaginations. Her other honours include The Sunburst Award and the Carl Brandon Parallax Award. 

Hiromi Goto has served as writer-in-residencies at five universities, as well as at the Vancouver Public Library. Her work as an author has seen her invited as a guest speaker throughout the world, to London, Berlin, Leiden, Taipei, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Vigo, and Nicosia. Her words bridge cultures and experiences and bring to the fore the importance of listening to historically marginalized voices, critiquing systemic inequalities, and working toward creative practices. She believes that stories have the power to inspire change. 

Hiromi Goto’s involvement in community development includes serving as a member of the Calgary Board of Education Steering Committee on the Diversity and Systemic Change Process (1996-1997); as co-chair of the Racial Minority Writers Committee of the Writers’ Union of Canada (1996-1997); as a member of the Joint Calgary Board of Education and Community Committee on Equity and Discrimination (2000-2001); and as a jury member for many grants and awards, both regionally and nationally. 

Goto is currently a mentor at the Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University. Her first graphic novel, Shadow Life, with artist Celine Loup, will be published in 2018 with First Second Books. She is at work on short stories and a collection of essays. 

Goto is the mother of two grown children. The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation appointed her a Trudeau mentor in 2017.