Henry Tsang’s ‘White Riot’ Shortlisted for BC and Yukon Book Prize

White Riot Front Cover only

Henry Tsang’s ‘White Riot’ is nominated for a 2024 Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice award. (Image courtesy Henry Tsang)

By Perrin Grauer

Posted on April 24, 2024 | Updated April 24, 2024, 11:18am

The lauded book, which explores the roots and impacts of the 1907 anti-Asian riots in Vancouver, was also awarded the Dr. Edgar Wickberg Book Prize for the Best Book on Chinese Canadian History.

A book by artist and ECU faculty member Henry Tsang is a finalist for a 2024 BC and Yukon Book Prize.

White Riot: The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots in Vancouver explores the roots and impacts of the 1907 anti-Asian riots in the context of contemporary anti-Asian sentiment.

“It’s been so heartening to see the attention White Riot has received so far, and the shortlisting of the book for a BC and Yukon Book Prize, especially for the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award, is a special honour,” Henry says. “It appears there’s currently an appetite for discussing the topic of white nationalism in our own backyard with wider audiences, which is long overdue. It’s terrific that the conversations this book has evoked will create more dialogue and awareness of the challenges some have faced, and continue to face trying to live in this part of the world.”

The Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice award—for which Henry’s book is nominated—is voted on by booksellers to highlight publications they feel are deserving of attention but that may not easily fit within existing categories. White Riot was also recently awarded the Dr. Edgar Wickberg Book Prize for the Best Book on Chinese Canadian History from the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia.

White Riot is based on Henry’s 360 Riot Walk video work, which launched in 2019 and contains more than 100 images drawn from the immersive artwork. The book also includes essays deriving from a series of panel discussions Henry subsequently organized. The essays take a broad survey of conditions that led to and stem from the anti-Asian riots.

Since its publication in 2023, the book has earned extraordinary media attention, including articles and reviews in the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, CBC, Le Monde (Paris), the Vancouver Sun, Montecristo Magazine, Literary Review of Canada, The BC Review, The Conversation, Rabble, Scout Magazine, Stir, Pancouver and CityNews. CityNews Bookshelf ran a two-part video interview with Henry (watch Part 1 and Part 2 via YouTube), CTV ran a live segment on The Social, and Henry was a featured guest on podcasts including The Commentary and Historia Canadiana.

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Henry Tsang. (Photo by Emiko Morita / courtesy Henry Tsang)

White Riot poses the question: in the current ethos of anti-racism and decolonization, what does it take to reconcile our collective histories within the legacy of white supremacy?” writes publisher Arsenal Pulp Press.

Meanwhile, author and ECU faculty member Rita Wong writes that the book “invites us to practice solidarity with one another by resisting precarity and respecting everyone’s right to eat and to remain alive, in community and with dignity.”

Henry notes that the 360 Riot Walk public guided walking tours will be offered again in summer 2024, under the stewardship of the Powell Street Festival. Tickets sell out quickly so keep an eye on their event page for details on how you can participate.

White Riot is available at your local bookstore including READ Books at Emily Carr and from Arsenal Pulp Press.

Visit Henry’s website and follow him on Instagram to learn more about his work.

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