The Giller Power Panel: Asian-Canadian Writers Share Their Stories

March 13, 2021

May 13, 2021 (Toronto, ON) – Elana Rabinovitch, Executive Director of the Scotiabank Giller Prize, is thrilled to announce that the fourth Giller Prize Power Panel will take place on Monday, May 31, at 7 p.m. EDT and will honour Asian Heritage Month.

The panel will explore individual stories, the rising tide of hate crimes against Asian Canadians and how their experiences have shaped their writing. Moderated by CBC host Ali Hassan, the panel will feature the following Canadian novelists and artists: Philip Huynh, Maria Qamar, Kerri Sakamoto, and Yasuko Thanh.

Ali Hassan

Photo by Pierre Gautreau

Ali Hassan
Ali Hassan is a stand-up comic, actor and radio personality. He is the host of the CBC comedy show Laugh Out Loud, a frequent guest-host on CBC Radio’s q, and the host of Canada Reads – the annual book-battle celebrating the best of Canadian literature. His new book Is There Bacon in Heaven? comes out in 2022 with Simon & Schuster.

Philip Huynh

Photo by Laura Sawchuk

Philip Huynh
Philip Huynh was born in Vancouver to parents who had fled Vietnam during the civil war. His collection of short stories, The Forbidden Purple City, was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award and for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. A manuscript of the collection was the co-winner of the Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Writers Award. His stories have been published in The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, Event, Ricepaper, and The Journey Prize Stories and cited in The Best American Stories. He is the winner of an Open Season Award from The Malahat Review and a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award. In 2019, CBC named him as a writer to watch. A practicing lawyer, he lives in Richmond, BC with his wife and twin daughters.

Maria Qamar

Maria Qamar
Maria Qamar, otherwise known as Hatecopy (@Hatecopy), is an artist living in Toronto. She was raised a first generation Canadian in a traditional South Asian home where a job in the arts was typically looked down upon as an “unstable career path.” Soon after realizing there was no other option, she fought to pursue the arts anyway and started her Instagram account Hatecopy in February 2015, illustrating the hilarious insights of diaspora culture and the significance of aunties in Indian culture. Trust No Aunty is her first book.

Kerri Sakamoto

Kerri Sakamoto
Kerri Sakamoto is the award-winning author of three novels exploring the experience of diasporic Japanese and the residue of war. Her work has been translated and published internationally and earned her a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, a Governor-General’s Award nomination, and the Writers’ Trust’s 2020 Engel Findley Award. Kerri also writes screenplays and essays on visual art. She resides in Toronto with her family and her dog. Kerri lives by the words of the late great Groucho Marx who insightfully observed: “Outside of a dog, a book is a [wo]man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

Yasuko Thanh

Yasuko Thanh
Yasuko Thanh is an award-winning novelist and short story writer from Vancouver Island. She won the 2009 Journey Prize for the title story in her collection Floating Like the Dead. Her first novel, Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains, a historical tale set in Vietnam, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize in 2016. Her best-selling memoir, Mistakes to Run With, reflects on her journey from a runaway to prostitute to a successful writer. She lives in Victoria with her daughter, and is currently at work on a novel.

The full itinerary for the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize Power Panels is:

February – Black History Month
March – International Women’s Day
April – Graphic Novels
May – Asian Heritage Month
June – National Indigenous History Month
July – LGBTQ2S+
August – The Art of Translation

Visit for more information and to register for this Giller Power Panel and the ones to follow.

About the Prize

The Giller Prize, founded by Jack Rabinovitch in 1994, highlights the very best in Canadian fiction year after year. In 2005, the prize teamed up with Scotiabank who increased the winnings four-fold. The Scotiabank Giller Prize now awards $100,000 annually to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English, and $10,000 to each of the finalists. The award is named in honour of the late literary journalist Doris Giller by her husband Toronto businessman Jack Rabinovitch, who passed away in August 2017.


Media Enquiries:
Daphna Rabinovitch, Scotiabank Giller Prize
T: 416-525-3752