Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


Share |

Hyein Lee is an artist to watch. I met her on the indie-press circuit, a quiet kooky girl in ladybug shoes, selling prints of pastel monsters, bunnies and penguins, along with hand-made mini comics. But it was really a short-story that was published in Broken Pencil that caught my attention.

“Girl in the Attic”, from Hyein's Three Girls comic about her upbringing in Korea, starts with the 'scary girl with long hair' figure that haunts Asia cinema and ends up making a sad yet sweet revelation about class. Other short stories like “Frequently Asked Questions about Threesomes” and “Bryan” throb with the embarrassing-level of honesty that's the hallmark of great alternative comics.

What's most surprising is that art is Hyein's second career. Her previous life was as an engineer out in Alberta's oil sands, an experience she's documenting for an upcoming graphic novel. You can also find more of her work in the gallery at Smiling Antimatter “a group exhibition by Toronto's hardest working illustrators” organized by Hyein that opens June 1st at the Steamwhistle Brewery.

In the meantime, enjoy Hyein's take on “Engine Summer” a sci-fi exploration by British writer John Crowley, that helped her through her own journeys in the wilds of Canada.

WHAZAMO! Comics: Graphic vs Novel
Every TUESDAY and THURSDAY for the month of May, Open Book: Toronto will feature an original comic by a Canadian cartoonist. We asked them to share a story of one book that has inspired them as artists, as storytellers, as people. Together, their comics will open a window, a panel if you will, into the mysterious process of inspiration.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Ian Daffern

Ian Daffern directs and produces documentary videos and writes about books and comics for places like Quill and Quire, The Globe and Mail and The National Post. He's also half of the mighty writing team behind Freelance Blues, your favourite new supernatural-horror-comedy comic (tm).

His website can be found here at
Video blog:
Follow him on Twitter at:

Go to Ian Daffern’s Author Page