About Ann Y.K. Choi

Ann immigrated to Canada from South Korea in 1975. She attended the University of Toronto where she studied English, Sociology, and Education. She is also a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, the Creative Writing Certificate Program at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, and National University’s Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing. Published by Simon & Schuster Canada, her debut novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety, was a 2016 Toronto Book Awards finalist and One of CBC Books 12 Best Canadian Debut Novels of 2016. The novel was also longlisted for the 2017 Frank Hegyi Award (Ottawa Independent Writers) and a finalist for the 2017 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize in the literary fiction category. Most recently, the Korean Canadian Heritage Awards committee recognized Ann for promoting Korean culture within Canada. The award was presented to her by Consul General of the Republic of Korea, Kang Jeong-Sik.

Ann’s personal essays, short stories, and poems have appeared in several publications including Quill & Quire and Writer’s Digest. Much of her writing touches on issues around cultural identity and promoting diverse Canadian voices. For over 19 years, Ann has been an educator with the York Region District School Board (YRDSB). She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter. 

Once Upon An Hour, Ann’s children’s picture book published by Orca Book Publishers, was released in October 2020.

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From the publisher:

A bittersweet coming-of-age debut novel set in the Korean community in Toronto in the 1980s.

This haunting coming-of-age story, told through the eyes of a rebellious young woman, vividly captures the struggles of families caught between two cultures in the 1980s. Family secrets, a lost sister, forbidden loves, domestic assaults—Mary discovers as she grows up that life is much more complicated than she had ever imagined. Her secret passion for her English teacher is filled with problems and with the arrival of a promising Korean suitor, Joon-Ho, events escalate in ways that she could never have imagined, catching the entire family in a web of deceit and violence.

Visit Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety, an online book club and study guide, for discussion questions and ways to enhance your experience reading this novel.


Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety is the kind of book for which many have been hungering for too long. The novel’s greatest strength is showing that what looks like passiveness from the outside (a girl stuck in an unlocked cage) is actually Mary’s slow-but-sure plotting toward her ultimate liberation.”

The Globe & Mail

“An explosive and heartfelt debut.”

Toronto Star

“Choi has demonstrated remarkable craftsmanship … and is certainly an author who is making her mark in Canadian literature.

The Ottawa Review of Books