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Paul Yee is a Chinese-Canadian writer who was born in Spalding, Saskatchewan, but grew up in Vancouver’s Chinatown. His favourite stories as a child were adventure books about faraway places. Yee holds a Master’s degree in Canadian history from the University of British Columbia and is the author of numerous children’s books, many of which are inspired by members of his family and community. His story Ghost Train won the Governor General’s Award for English language children’s literature in 1996, and was also adapted into a play. Yee had trouble finding books about the world of Canadian immigrants when he was young, so he has tried to fill that void with his writing. In 1990, he won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize for his collection Tales From Gold Mountain; his 1988 book Saltwater City, an examination of Vancouver’s Chinese-Canadian culture and experience, won the City of Vancouver Book Award in 1989.

Award History

Jury Citation

“Paul Yee has contributed uniquely and powerfully to our literary landscape over a writing career that spans almost 30 years. He was virtually the first children’s author to document the Chinese Canadian experience from its early days to the present. Ghost Train, Tales from Gold Mountain, and Dead Man’s Gold now stand as classics. Layered and haunting, they strike at the heart of human character, while at the same time portraying a very particular historical setting in vivid, economical prose. Even in his quick, contemporary short stories he writes from a strong position of familiarity and knowledge, bringing up many facets and varieties in the Canadian experience of immigration. And yet, in almost all his stories, whether historical or contemporary, there is a moment of revelation or character change that pivots on human passions that we all share. His recent teen novels have a biting voice that speaks to issues of identity, racism and sexual discrimination, both inside and outside the Canadian Chinese community. His is a body of work to wrestle with, one that leaves the reader altered and that deserves our recognition.”
— 2012 Vicky Metcalf Award Jury (Deirdre Baker, Ron Jobe, and Joanne Schwartz)

Works recognized by WT

Dead Man’s Gold and Other Stories

Ghost Train

Money Boy

Tales from Gold Mountain

Teach Me to Fly, Skyfighter!