is a Canadian poet
and children's author. She is perhaps best known for her novel Obasan
, which won Books in Canada's First Novel Award and the Canadian Authors Association's Book of the Year Award. This novel, and her subsequent ones, are not strictly biographical, but are very much informed by her life experiences.
Kogawa was born in Vancouver in 1935; she is a nisei, or second-generation Japanese Canadian. During World War II, Kogawa and her family had their property seized and were interned as enemies of the state by the Canadian government. The good yam has some pertinent information on this at Japanese Canadian Internment in World War II, which you should visit.
Kogawa's novels, such as Obasan, Itsuka, and The Rain Ascends, are lyrical yet accessible and are definitely worth reading for their own sake. They are also notable for having done much to publicize this shameful and embarrassing episode in Canadian history. Besides writing these beautiful books, Kogawa has been active in the movement to gain redress from the Canadian government for the losses of property and livelihood suffered by Japanese-Canadians as a result of the internment. You can find other information about Kogawa at