Hiromi Goto is a Japanese-Canadian editor, fiction writer, cultural critic, arts advocate, youth organizer, teacher of creative writing and a mother of two children.
She immigrated to Canada with her family in 1969. They lived on the west coast of British Columbia for eight years before moving to Nanton, Alberta, a small town in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Goto is the current Writer-in-Residence of the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. She was also the Writer-in-Residence at Vancouver's Emily Carr School of Art and Design, Vancouver Public Library, and Simon Fraser University.
She earned her B.A. in English from the University of Calgary in 1989 Her eighty-year old grandmother told her Japanese stories when she was growing up. Her work is also influenced by her father’s life stories in Japan. These stories often featured ghosts and folk creatures such as the kappa — a small creature with a frog’s body, a turtle’s shell and a bowl-shaped head that holds water.
Her first novel, Chorus of Mushrooms, was the 1995 recipient of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best First Book Canada and Caribbean Region' and the co-winner of the Canada-Japan Book Award. It has been released in Israel, Italy, and the UK. In 2001, she was awarded the James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award and was short-listed for the regional Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, Best Book Award, the Sunburst Award and the Spectrum Award.
Chorus of Mushrooms is about finding one’s identity in the midst of alienation and explicit differences. The novel depicted the characters’ different approaches to assimilating themselves within the host country’s culture as well as symbolic meanings of locations and settings crafted in a language that combines the two opposite poles of majority and minority i.e. English and Japanese. The novel narrated that there can never be an easy way to erase ethnic differences and become immersed into one culture, Or can denying the truth of one’s ethnic origins help in the process. The key is to be able to personally accept that being different is by no means a reason to be alienated and regarded as abnormal. It can be a powerful reason to become a distinct individual who cannot be lost within cultures.