Hiromi Goto

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Hiromi Goto
BornDecember 31, 1966
Chiba-ken, Japan[1]
OccupationWriter, Editor, and Teacher

Hiromi Goto (born December 31, 1966 Chiba-ken, Japan) is a Japanese-Canadian writer, editor, and instructor of creative writing.


Goto was born in Chiba'ken, Japan in 1966 and immigrated to Canada with her family in 1969.[1][2] They lived on the west coast of British Columbia for eight years before moving to Nanton, Alberta, a small town in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where her father farmed mushrooms. Goto earned her B.A. in English from the University of Calgary in 1989, where she received creative writing instruction from Aritha Van Herk and Fred Wah.[3]

Goto's grandmother told her Japanese stories when she was growing up.[3] Her work is also influenced by her father's life stories in Japan. These stories often featured ghosts and folk creatures such as the kappa — a small creature with a frog's body, a turtle's shell and a bowl-shaped head that holds water. Her writing commonly explores the themes of race, gender and cultural experiences, like eating, while moving between the realms of fantasy, horror [4] and reality.[5][6]

Her first novel, Chorus of Mushrooms,[7] was the 1995 recipient of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best First Book Canada and Caribbean Region' and the co-winner of the Canada-Japan Book Award. It has been released in Israel, Italy, and the United Kingdom. In 2001, she was awarded the James Tiptree, Jr. Award[8] and was short-listed for the regional Commonwealth Writer's Prize, Best Book Award, the Sunburst Award and the Spectrum Award.

Chorus of Mushrooms is about three generations of Japanese women in Canada, searching for identity in the midst of alienation and an often-hostile host country. The novel explores these characters' diverse, conflicting perspectives towards assimilation into the majority culture, and through the seamless blending of memory, history, and myth, develops a powerful conversation about what it means to belong. Goto speaks to a diasporic experience, on cultural conflicts held on stages from food to hygiene to language, and to the price paid for denying one's origins.[9]

Goto has been the Writer-in-Residence for numerous institutions, including Athabasca University (2012-2013),[10] the University of Alberta (2009-2010),[11] Simon Fraser University (2008),[12] Vancouver Public Library (2007)[13] and Vancouver's Emily Carr University of Art and Design.[3] She was the co-Guest of Honor of the 2014 WisCon science fiction convention in Madison, Wisconsin.[14] where she gave a well-received speech[15] on her experiences as a writer.


  • The Skin on Our Tongues. Calgary: Absinthe, 1993. (co-editor)
  • Chorus of Mushrooms. Edmonton: NeWest, 1994.
  • The Water of Possibility. Regina: Coteau, 2001. ISBN 1-55050-183-6
  • The Kappa Child. Red Deer, AB: Red Deer, 2001.
  • Hopeful Monsters. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004.
  • Half World. Puffin Canada, 2009. ISBN 978-0-670-06965-1
  • Darkest Light. Puffin Canada, 2012. ISBN 978-0-670-06527-1


  1. ^ a b Grant, Gavin J. "Interview: Hiromi Goto". Indiebound.org. Retrieved 2013-06-30.
  2. ^ "Hiromi Goto". Ryerson University Library. Ryerson University Library & Archives. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Joseph Pivato. "Hiromi Goto". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2016-02-12.
  4. ^ Evans, Chris (April 10, 2017). "Our Inherent Creatureness: An Excerpt and Interview from Hiromi Goto". PRISM Online. PRISM International. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  5. ^ Whishaw, Haley (16 June 2014). "Hiromi Goto". Ninetween Questions. University of British Columbia. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  6. ^ Latimer, Heather (2006). "Eating, Abjection, and Transformation in the work of Hiromi Goto". Thirdspace: A Journal of Feminist Theory & Culture. 5 (2). Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  7. ^ Almeida, S. R. G. (24 June 2009). "Strangers in the Night: Hiromi Goto's Abject Bodies and Hopeful Monsters". Contemporary Women's Writing. 3 (1): 47–63. doi:10.1093/cww/vpp010.
  8. ^ "2001 Winners". James Tiptree, Jr. Award. Retrieved 2013-06-30.
  9. ^ De Souza, Lyle (7 July 2017). "Rooted-transnationalism and the representational function of food in Hiromi Goto's". Contemporary Japan. 29 (2): 132–147. doi:10.1080/18692729.2017.1351023. hdl:2433/245890. S2CID 218589045.
  10. ^ "Welcome : Writer in Residence : Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences". athabascau.ca. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  11. ^ "SFU News Online - Writer-in-residence - October 16, 2008". ualberta.ca. Archived from the original on 30 July 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Past Writers-in-Residence". sfu.ca. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  13. ^ "Vancouver Public Library - Events & Programs". vpl.ca. Archived from the original on 11 April 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Announcing WisCon 38's Guests of Honor: Hiromi Goto and N.K. Jemisin" A Momentary Taste of WisCon 37 (Elizabeth Stone, ed.) Issue #4 (May 26, 2013), p. 2
  15. ^ "WisCon38 Guest of Honour Speech". 26 May 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • De Souza, Lyle: Rooted-transnationalism and the representational function of food in Hiromi Goto's "Chorus of Mushrooms". Contemporary Japan 29 (2), 2017 10.1080/18692729.2017.1351023
  • Diana Thiesen: Transkulturalismus in Hiromi Goto's "Chorus of Mushrooms" and Wayson Choy's "The Jade Peony", Thesis for Magister degree, Zentrum für Kanada-Studien ZKS, Universität Trier 2017, Chair Ralf Hertel

External links[edit]