Wayson Choy was born in Chinatown in Vancouver, Canada, the only son of two working parents. He was adopted and brought up in a variety of Chinese households, growing up between two languages and two cultures. He was the first Chinese student to be admitted to the University of British Columbia's pioneering creative writing program. His first published work was selected for The Best of American Short Stories (1962). However, Wayson initially chose to work in advertising and then to teach English over a career in writing. It took him eighteen years to write his first book The Jade Peony, which spent over 30 weeks on Canada's national best-seller list and shared the prestigious Trillium Award for best book with Margaret Atwood. The book also won the City of Vancouver Book Award. Wayson teaches English at Humber College in Toronto, and is currently working on his next novel, The Ten Thousand Things, which continues the story begun in his debut.