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Dan K. Woo

headshot of Dan K. Woo with park setting in the background

Dan K. (Daniel Kintai) Woo earned a BA in History from the University of Toronto. A native of Toronto, Woo lived and worked in Hong Kong and mainland China for more than a decade before returning to Canada. Woo lives in Toronto and occasionally teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Education.


Learning How to Love China

Toronto: Quattro Books, 2018.

An unabridged version of this book will be issued in late 2022 under the title Letters to Little Comrade.

Publisher’s Synopsis

Learning How to Love China tells the story of a young factory worker in a city near Shanghai. She tries to set down some of the weight she carries for her work and family. It’s a tale of her droning daily life in our contemporary world of global economies, many run by authoritarian power structures. The book shows us the consequences of unbridled accumulation and the systemic exploitation of certain groups. And it asks the question, are we all to blame somehow?

Awards and Honours

2018 Ken Klonsky Novella Award (Winner)


Letters to Little Comrade

Hamilton: Buckrider Books, 2022.

This is an unabridged version of Woo’s first novela published as Learning How to Love China. It also contains some new material.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

In this reissue of Dan K. Woo’s debut novel we meet Little Comrade, a young woman at the mercy of the fates in the fictional country of Qina. Framed as an advice booklet, Letters to Little Comrade takes us on a dystopic journey that circles around Little Comrade’s attempts to find happiness and purpose in her life, whether by finding fulfilling work, finding love, by pleasing her parents or by leaving her country. With chapter titles such as “Keep Calm, There Is Hope,” “Exercise Is Healthy for the Spirit” and “Too Much Romance Is Unproductive” the author moves effortlessly between the bracing tone of a self-help book and the bleak story of Little Comrade. Woo also skilfully weaves in social commentary on gender relations, worker exploitation and government propaganda, with matter-of-fact descriptions and fatherly advice. The resulting book is a captivating and tragic story with a nameless, yet unforgettable, heroine.

Fiction (Short stories)

Taobao: Stories

Hamilton: Wolsak and Wynn, 2022.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

In twelve spare, fable-like short stories Dan K. Woo introduces us to a fascinating cast of characters from different regions of China. From rural villages to bustling cities, Woo deftly charts the paths of young people searching for love, meaning and happiness in a country that is often misunderstood in North America. Whether they are participating in a marriage market to appease their mother, working as a delivery boy in Beijing or dealing with trauma in a hospital in Shanghai, we see these young people push against both tradition and the lightning-fast economy to try and make their way in often difficult situations. Woo brings remarkable empathy to these dreamlike stories and their twists and turns, which will linger long in readers’ minds. Through it all, the spectre of Taobao – China’s online retail giant – hovers, providing everything the characters might need or want, while also acting as a thread that ties together a captivating and complex collection of stories set in a captivating and complex country.

Anthology (Fiction)

The Spirits Have Nothing to Do with Us: New Chinese Canadian Fiction

Edited by Dan K. Woo.
Hamilton: Buckrider Books, 2023.

Woo is the writer of the introduction, and the translator of one story by Bingji Ye.


Publisher Quattro Books

Publisher Wolsak & Wynn (publisher of Buckrider Books)