Born in 1939, Wayson Choy experienced his childhood in Vancouver's Chinatown. He soon became interested in literature and attended the University of British Columbia, where he became the first writer of Chinese-ancestry to study creative writing. Moving to Toronto in 1962, Choy eventually became a teacher at the Humber School for Writers from 1967 to 2004. His first novel, The Jade Peony (1995), earned two prestigious awards: the City of Vancouver Book Award and the Trillium Book Award for best novel. He demands perfection from his work and has published only three books and a few short stories, memoirs and essays. His latest novel, All That Matters, was published in 2004. In 2005, he was named a member of the Order of Canada. This award given to only those who exemplify the Order's Latin motto: "Desiderantes meliorem patriam," which means "(those) desiring a better country.
Indeed, if anyone deserves to be a member of the Order of Canada it is Choy.
He shows us that he desires a better country by incorporating his personal experience and commentary into works of fiction. He uses his expert knowledge of language to illustrate his intended themes. Themes Choy closely connects with and examines are of identity, discrimination, and suffering. He draws on his own past to authenticate his themes, settings and characters. This resemblance is shown in The Jade Peony with the character of Sek-Lung. Wayson Choy was also a young boy growing up in Chinatown during the Second World War, who was placed in the care of different households. It was there that he observed the characteristics of the adults the narrators describe throughout the novel: "I glanced up just in time to see Mrs. Lim on the porch, turning around and ambling back into the shack. The front screen door slammed.