Fiona Tinwei Lam is the author of Intimate Distances (finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Prize), Enter the Chrysanthemum, and Odes & Laments. She also authored the illustrated children’s book, The Rainbow Rocket. Her poetry and prose have been published in over forty anthologies (Canada, Hong Kong, and the US), including The Best Canadian Poetry in English (2010, 10th anniversary edition in 2017, and 2020 edition). Three of her poems have been featured on BC’s Poetry in Transit. She is a co-editor of and contributor to the creative nonfiction anthology, Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood published by McGill-Queen’s University Press with Cathy Stonehouse and Shannon Cowan, and also the editor of The Bright Well, a collection of contemporary Canadian poetry about facing cancer. She and Jane Silcott co-edited the creative 2018 nonfiction and poetry anthology, Love Me True: Writers Reflect on the Ins, Outs, Ups & Downs of Marriage. From September 2020-21, she curated and hosted the online monthly poetry series In/Verse for the Federation of BC Writers to showcase local published poets. Her award-winning poetry videos, made in collaboration with local animators and filmmakers, have been screened at festivals locally and internationally since 2009. She has recently been appointed Vancouver’s Poet Laureate for 2022-2024.
Born in Scotland, she emigrated to Canada at a young age with her family. She has a B.A. in political science (UBC), an LL.B. (Queen’s University) and an LL.M. (University of Toronto). She articled and worked as an associate in a Vancouver law firm, and later as a staff lawyer at the Law Society of British Columbia. She also has an M.F.A. in creative writing (UBC). Over the years, she has facilitated writing workshops for people of diverse ages, backgrounds and circumstances (including adult students at UBC Continuing Studies and Langara Continuing Studies, immigrants and low income adults and single parents in various community settings, and elementary and high school students). She teaches creative writing at Simon Fraser University’s Continuing Studies.
She is a member of The Writers Union of Canada, The League of Canadian Poets, The Creative Nonfiction Collective, and the Federation of B.C. Writers. Information about the author is also available on the University of Toronto Library’s Canadian Poetry Online and Ryerson University’s Asian Heritage in Canada site.
- Winner, Best Experimental–Poetry or Poetry Driven, Kinodrome International Motion Picture & Screenplay Festival 2021 for “Legacy”
- Winner, Judges’ Award, Best Poetry Video, REELpoetry/Houston TX international Poetry Film Festival 2020, for “Plasticpoems”
- Winner, Best New Media Award, Trenton Film Festival, 2019 for “Plasticnic”
- Winner, Best New Art Form Film, Montreal’s So Limitless & Free Film Festival, 2018 for “Drunken Laundry Day with Charles Bukowski”
- Winner, The New Quarterly’s Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest 2017 (also nominated by TNQ for a Pushcart prize and National Magazine Award in 2018)
- Event Literary Magazine Non-Fiction Contest 2013, shortlist
- Audience Choice – Best in Category Prize (“Relationships” category) at Co-Kisser Poetry Film Festival, Minneapolis, 2013, for “Aquarium”
- Geist Magazine’s Jackpine Sonnet Contest 2010, 2nd Prize
- Event Literary Magazine Non-Fiction Contest 2006, Shortlist
- City of Vancouver Book Awards 2003, finalist
- Event Literary Magazine Non-Fiction Contest 2002, Shortlist
- Vancouver Courier Fiction Contest 2002, 4th prize
- Vancouver Courier Fiction Contest 2001, 2nd prize
- League of Canadian Poets’ National Poetry Contest, 1999-2000, Runner-Up (two poems).
The author has participated as a juror with the Canada Council for the Arts in the past, as well as a judge or juror for the following:
- Translink’s Poetry in Transit Program (BC) 2021
- Vancouver regional team competition, Poetry in Voice 2018-20
- BC Federation of Writers’ Literary Writes Poetry Contest 2018
- Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop Emerging Writers’ Prize 2017
- The Malahat Review‘s Open Season Award in 2016 (nonfiction)
- Bronwen Wallace Award 2015 (poetry)
- Pandora Collective’s Poetry Contest (Hibernating with Words) 2012
- Downtown Eastside Writers’ Jamboree Writing Contest 2011 (Geist magazine)
- ARM/Demeter Press Poetry contest on “Mothers and Daughters” in 2008
- Vancouver International Writers’ Festival Poetry and Short Fiction Contest 2005