Onjana Yawnghwe was born in Thailand but is a part of the Shan people from Burma. She grew up in Vancouver, and received a MA in English literature. Her poems have been featured in numerous anthologies and journals, including The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2011, 4 Poets, CV2, Room, and The New Quarterly. She was awarded Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Literary Artist in 2012, was nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and longlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award in 2018. Onjana produced a hand-made chapbook with JackPine Press called The Imaginary Lives of Buster Keaton. She was a co-founder of Fish Magic Press, a micro press specializing in limited-run, hand-made chapbooks, and was a co-editor of Xerography, a little literary journal. Her first poetry book, Fragments, Desire, was published by Oolichan Books in 2017. Her second book of poetry, The Small Way was published with Caitlin Press in 2018 and was nominated for the 2019 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. She is currently working on a graphic novel about her family set in Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, and Canada.
Onjana has taught English as a second language, and worked in office administration at non-profits for many years. She currently works as a nurse in mental health. Aside from writing, Onjana also hosted a podcast and blog called “The Alaskan Riviera” about the 1990’s television show Northern Exposure. She lives in Coquitlam, BC, and has recently completed a book-length biography-in-poems about Buster Keaton, entitled The Book of Buster.