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Kai Cheng Thom

Kai Cheng Thom self identifies as “a writer, performer, social worker, fierce femme, and notorious liar based in Toronto and Montreal, unceded Indigenous territory.” She hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in social work from McGill University. Thom’s newest publication is a collection of essays, I Hope We Chose Love: A Trans Girl’s Notes from the End of the World (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2019). Thom was the recipient of the 2017 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for Emerging Writers.


Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir

Montreal: Metonymy Press, 2017.
PS8639 .H559 F54 2016

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

… the highly sensational, ultra-exciting, sort-of true coming-of-age story of a young Asian trans girl, pathological liar, and kung-fu expert who runs away from her parents’ abusive home in a rainy city called Gloom. Striking off on her own, she finds her true family in a group of larger-than-life trans femmes who live in a mysterious pleasure district known only as the Street of Miracles. Under the wings of this fierce and fabulous flock, the protagonist blossoms into the woman she has always dreamed of being, with a little help from the unscrupulous Doctor Crocodile. When one of their number is brutally murdered, she joins her sisters in forming a vigilante gang to fight back against the transphobes, violent johns, and cops that stalk the Street of Miracles. But when things go terribly wrong, she must find the truth within herself in order to stop the violence and discover what it really means to grow up and find your family.

Awards and Honours

2017 Lambda Literary Awards–Best Transgender Fiction (Finalist)
2017 Writers Trust of Canada–Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writers (Winner)

Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea

Illustrated by Kai Yun Ching and Wai-Yant Li
Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2017.
PZ7.1 .T4485 F76 2017

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

In the magical time between night and day, when both the sun and the moon are in the sky, a child is born in a little blue house on a hill. And Miu Lan is not just any child, but one who can change into any shape they can imagine. The only problem is they can’t decide what to be: a boy or a girl? A bird or a fish? A flower or a shooting star? At school, though, they must endure inquisitive looks and difficult questions from the other children, and have trouble finding friends who will accept them for who they are. But they find comfort in the loving arms of their mother, who always offers them the same loving refrain: “whatever you dream of / i believe you can be / from the stars in the sky to the fish in the sea.”

In this captivating, beautifully imagined picture book about gender, identity, and the acceptance of the differences between us, Miu Lan faces many questions about who they are and who they may be. But one thing’s for sure: no matter who this child becomes, their mother will love them just the same.


A Place Called No Homeland

Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2017.
PS8639 .H559 P63 2017

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

This extraordinary poetry collection is a vivid, beautifully wrought journey to the place where forgotten ancestors live and monstrous women roam―and where the distinctions between body, land, and language are lost. In these fierce yet tender narrative poems, Kai Cheng Thom draws equally from memory and mythology to create new maps of gender, race, sexuality, and violence. In the world of a place called No Homeland, the bodies of the marginalized―queer and transgender communities, survivors of abuse and assault, and children of diaspora―are celebrated, survival songs are sung, and the ancestors offer you forgiveness for not remembering their names.

Awards and Honours

2018 Lambda Literary Award–Transgender Poetry (Finalist)
2018 Stonewall Honor Books in Literature (American Library Association)

Non-fiction (Essays)

I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl’s Notes From the End of the World

Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2019.
PS8639.H559 I36 2019

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

In a heartbreaking yet hopeful collection of personal essays and prose poems, blending the confessional, political, and literary, acclaimed poet and essayist Kai Cheng Thom dives deep into the questions that haunt social movements today. With the author’s characteristic eloquence and honesty, I Hope We Choose Love proposes heartfelt solutions on the topics of violence, complicity, family, vengeance, and forgiveness. Taking its cues from contemporary thought leaders in the transformative justice movement such as adrienne maree brown and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, this provocative book is a call for nuance in a time of political polarization, for healing in a time of justice, and for love in an apocalypse.

Awards and Honours

2020 Stonewall Book Awards–Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award (Honor)


Kai Cheng Thom personal website

Publisher Arsenal Pulp Press

Publisher Metonymy Press