Diana Morita Cole

Region: Nelson BC
Generation: Nisei
Born May 26, 1944, Minidoka Concentration Camp, Idaho


Diana Morita Cole is the 2017 Recipient of the Richard Carver Award for Emerging Artists. Sideways: Memoir of a Misfit tells of her birth behind barbed wires in a Minidoka incarceration site.

Diana grew up in an urban ghetto on the Near North side of Chicago, where she was looked after by her 80- year-old grandfather, who carried her on his back through the city slums and taught her  to swear using the cuss words he learned while working for the railroad in Oregon. Her relationships with her much older siblings, tinged with cultural misunderstandings and generational dissonance, caused her to peer beneath the surface to find the meaning of their unhappiness.

Her creative nonfiction works are included on the reading lists for the Japanese American Experience lecture series at the University of Hawai’i and on the reading list for the graduate social work program at San Francisco State University. She was awarded a grant from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance in 2015.

Diana is an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music at the University of Toronto and has served as the President of the Registered Music Teachers Association in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelors Degree in English Literature.

She is a feature writer for the Pacific Citizen, the national newspaper of the Japanese American Citizens League, and has written extensively about the Japanese Canadian expulsion for its readership.

View video, Arigato.

NOTE: the password for the Vimeo video is “Private”

Listen to interview with Chris dela Torre for CBC London (Ontario).

Artist Statement

Suffering makes us who we are. Spinning our suffering into legends allows us to transcend the gall of our lives.
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