The Ottawa Women's Canadian Club

Denise Chong – Author

Date: 15/01/2015

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Denise Chong, an internationally published and award-winning author, has straddled two worlds: writing and public service. She is best known for The Concubine’s Children, a Globe and Mail best seller for 93 weeks, now translated into more than a dozen languages including Chinese. It is now part of the library of Penguin’s “Modern Classics.” The Concubine’s Children was the first non-fiction narrative of a Chinese family in Canada. Her three subsequent books (The Girl in the Picture, about the napalm girl of the Vietnam War; Egg on Mao, of one hundred years in a bus mechanic’s family in China; and Lives of the Family, about the emotional trajectory of the immigrant’s life in small-town Canada), have equally been ground breaking social histories.

Trained as an economist, Denise began her writing after an early career in the Federal Department of Finance. She later became the senior economic advisor in the office of then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. She holds four doctorates and is an Officer of the Order of Canada lauded for writing books that “raise our social consciousness.” Her seminal speech, Being Canadian, delivered in 1994, is widely anthologized. Born in Vancouver and raised in Prince George, Denise is married to the former television journalist, Roger Smith. They have two grown children.