How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun? is a compelling collection of short stories that present an updated and whimsical new take on what it means to be Canadian. Lau alludes to the personal and political histories of a number of young Asian Canadian characters to explain their unique perspectives of the world, artfully fusing pure delusion and abstract perception with heartbreaking reality. The book’s title refers to an interview with Chinese basketball star Yao Ming, who, when asked about the Shanghai Sharks, the team that shaped his formative sporting years, responded, “How does a single blade of grass thank the sun?” Lau’s stories feature the children and grandchildren of immigrants, transnational adoptees and multiracial adults who came of age in the 1990s—all struggling to find a place in the Western world and using the only language they know to express their hopes, fears and expectations.
The City of Vancouver Book Award is given to a book that reflects the city’s rich history and culture. The 26th annual City of Vancouver Book Award will be presented at the Mayor’s Arts Awards ceremony at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre on October 7, 2014. The other shortlisted authors include: Bruce Grierson for What makes Olga Run? (Random House), Ashley Little for Anatomy of a Girl Gang (Arsenal Pulp Press), Billeh Nickerson for Artificial Cherry (Arsenal Pulp Press) and David Stouk for Arthur Erickson: An Architect’s Life (Douglas & McIntyre). The five shortlisted titles were chosen by an independent jury that included: Elee Kraljii Gardener, an award-winning poet and director of the Thursdays Writing Collective; Anna Ling Kaye, editor of Ricepaper magazine; and Jordan Abel, editor for Poetry Is Dead magazine and the former poetry editor for PRISM international. Alma Lee, founder and former artistic director of the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival, served as chair.