Frederick James Wah
Biography of Frederick James Wah
Frederick James Wah, OC, (born January 23, 1939) is a Canadian poet, novelist, scholar and former Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate.
Wah was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, but grew up in the interior (West Kootenay) of British Columbia. His Canadian-born father was raised in China, the son of a Chinese father and a Scots-Irish mother. Fred Wah's mother was a Swedish-born Canadian who came to Canada at age 6. His diverse ethnic makeup figures significantly in his writings.
Wah studied literature and music at the University of British Columbia. While there, he was a founding editor and contributor to TISH. He later did graduate work at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. He has taught at Selkirk College, David Thompson University Centre, and the University of Calgary. Well known for his work on literary journals and small-press, Wah has been a contributing editor to Open Letter since its beginning, involved in the editing of West Coast Line, and with Frank Davey edited the world's first online literary magazine, SwiftCurrent. Wah won the 'Governor General's Award' for his 1985 book "Waiting for Saskatchewan".
Wah retired after 40 years of teaching and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with his wife Pauline Butling. He remains active writing and performing public readings of his poetry. From 2006 to 2007, he served as the Writer-in-Residence at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia.
On December 20, 2011, Wah was appointed as Canada's Parliamentary Poet Laureate. Mr. Wah is the fifth poet to hold this office. In 2013 he was made an Officer in the Order of Canada.