Fonds MsC-96 - Larissa Lai fonds

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Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Larissa Lai fonds

General material designation

  • Multi-media
  • Textual records

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.

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Reference code


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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1976-2006 (Creation)
    Lai, Larissa

Physical description area

Physical description

2.68 m of textual records and other material

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Larissa Lai is the author of two novels, When Fox Is a Thousand and Salt Fish Girl; two books of poetry, sybil unrest (with Rita Wong) and Automaton Biographies; a chapbook, Eggs in the Basement; and a critical book, Slanting I, Imagining We: Asian Canadian Literary Production in the 1980s and 1990s. A recipient of the Astraea Foundation Emerging Writers’ Award, she has been shortlisted for the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Tiptree Award, the Sunburst Award, the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Award, the bpNichol Chapbook Award and the Dorothy Livesay Prize. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Calgary and directs The Insurgent Architects’ House for Creative Writing there.

Custodial history

The material was collected and maintained by Lai until its acquisition by the Simon Fraser University Library’s Special Collections and Rare Books department in 2007.

Scope and content

The fonds consists mainly of textual materials, including notes and drafts of Lai’s works, numerous calendars and datebooks, school materials, and material related to her activism and arts involvement. There are also a large number of photocopied reference materials on such subjects as the arts, gay and lesbian issues, racism and feminism, and Chinese culture. There are a small number of photographs and negatives, and a wide variety of audio-visual media such as cassette tapes, Hi8 cassettes, broadcast video cassettes, and various computer media.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


The original order that the items were received in by SFU Special Collections and Rare Books has been maintained, which was mainly rough chronological groupings or media-based groupings. The various types of audio-visual media were rearranged for storage reasons, but these changes have been noted in the finding aid. Some items were removed and photocopied or removed entirely for conservation reasons – these mainly consist of newsprint material, and have been noted in the finding aid. A small number of items were also removed for privacy reasons and returned to Lai – these mainly consist of school or employment records that contained Lai’s Social Insurance Number. This was done because she is still living and because the number of items was so small. The fonds has been intellectually arranged into 8 series, most containing subseries.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Access to some correspondence is restricted until Lai's 100th birthday or ten years after her death, whichever is later.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Works in this fonds are under copyright. Researchers are required to secure permission from the copyright holders for usage of this material, except for those covered by fair dealing.

Finding aids

Generated finding aid

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General note

The archivist was Jennifer Stevenson-Zerkee

Physical description

The fonds consists of 2.68 m of textual material, 48 publications, 3 sketchbooks, 19 notebooks, 2 calendars, 8 datebooks, 29 photographs : col. , 59 photographs : b&w, 2 photographs : sepia, 3 contact sheets, 7 sets of 35 mm colour negatives, 3 sets of 35 mm b&w negatives, 5 VHS cassettes, 12 digital video cassettes, 12 KCA30BRS video cassettes, 1 KCA 60XBR video cassette, 1 UCA 60 video cassette, 4 Hi8 cassettes, 14 audiocassettes, 13 floppy disks, 1 CD-ROM.

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Rules for Archival Description



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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created Summer 2009 by Jennifer Steveson-Zerkee
Revised December 22, 2015. SS
Revised January 5, 2018. MH

Language of description

Script of description


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