Hard is the Journey Co-Wins the Dr. Edgar Wickberg Book Prize

Hard is the Journey Co-Wins the Dr. Edgar Wickberg Book Prize

By Malaika Aleba|Date: April 12, 2023

We're thrilled to share that Hard is the Journey: Stories of Chinese Settlement in British Columbia's Kootenay by Order of Canada member Lily Chow is one of the winners of the 2023 Dr. Edgar Wickberg Book Prize. This prize, established in 2018, recognizes important books pertaining to Chinese Canadian history. Hard is the Journey shares this award with Chinese Victoria by John Adams. Congratulations to both authors and many thanks to the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC for this award!

In Hard Is the Journey, Chow exposes the difficult history of Chinese Canadians in the Kootenay, shedding light on the stories of those who risked everything and often lost their lives in building the Canada we know today. Bravely, she unearths the racism of early newspapers that portrayed Chinese immigrants as dirty, sinister, and lethargic people not fit to live in BC. Through painstaking research, she exposes stories of injustice and exploitation, such as the history of the Chinese labourers who completed the deadly work of blazing the Dewdney Trail from Hope to Kootenay only to be dismissed, without any compensation, as soon as the project was completed.

Through it all, she also offers an intimate and inspiring look into the many ways Chinese immigrants survived, finding community, building resilience, and preserving their culture. Featuring powerful interviews with descendants of Chinese immigrants alongside old government documents and newspaper articles, Hard Is the Journey is a unique testament to the resilience and accomplishments of Chinese Canadians in the face of injustice.

Lily Chow, a researcher and writer, immigrated to Canada in 1967. She possesses a master’s degree of Education and has taught high school in Prince George and Mandarin at the University of Northern British Columbia for three years. Her book publications include Blossoms in the Gold Mountains (2018), Blood and Sweat over the Railway Tracks (2014), Chasing Their Dreams (2000), Sojourners in the North (1996). She also has written articles for Ricepaper Magazine and the Prince George Citizen. In her twenty-five years of writing, she has won the Jeanne Clarke Memorial Local History Award (1996), received grants from the Canadian Heritage Branch, Federal Government (1993 & 1998), and certificates of merit from the BC Historical Federation in 2014 and 2019. Her volunteer services have been awarded with two Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee Medals (2002 & 2012). In 2022, she was appointed to the Order of Canada. Currently, she resides in Victoria, BC.