Kevin Chong

Kevin Chong has published five books of fiction and non-fiction. Baroque-a-Nova (Penguin Canada 2001, Plume USA 2002, Balland FRANCE 2002), a novel, and Neil Young Nation (Greystone 2005), a music memoir, were reviewed by The New York Times. His recent books include Beauty Plus Pity (Arsenal Pulp Press 2011), a novel; My Year of the Racehorse (Greystone 2012), a memoir on horse racing; and Northern Dancer, a biography of the racehorse by the same name (Penguin Canada 2014). 

The Washington Post describes Baroque-a-Nova as an "[a]mbitious and sharply funny first novel. At heart, Baroque-a-Nova is a remarkably wise meditation on the flaws and seductions of life lived in the media soup...Baroque-a-Nova is an admirable and humane attempt to show the merits and pitfalls of shooting for more."

Writing about Beauty Plus Pity, Rawi Hage calls it "[f]unny and devastating. Chong is a melange of Bukowski and Woody Allen."

In addition to extensive freelance journalism work, Chong also edits fiction at

Kevin’s advice for Writer’s Studio applicants

What are you looking for in your workshop group?

I’m looking for a good mix of personalities and backgrounds and students who are willing to listen and pore over their classmates’ work with as much care as they would their own.

What do you look for when reading an applicant’s submission?

I’m looking for an application letter that gives me a sense of a writer’s voice, their background, and their current creative pursuits. (What I prefer not to see are discussions of how you were meant to be a writer since, say, age seven, when your teacher said you had a great talent, or any philosophizing about writing along the lines of, “We need stories to make sense of the world.”) As a writer and reader, my tastes run towards “literary” prose, so I look out for a compatible sensibility in the writing sample. Finally, I am appreciative of writers who produce written materials that are free of spelling, grammatical and formatting errors.


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