Ian Thomas Shaw was born and raised in Vancouver, attended U.B.C. and earned graduate degrees from McGill and Concordia Universities in Montreal. For at least 27 years, he has worked as a Canadian diplomat and as an international development worker, living in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. He currently lives in Aylmer, Quebec (just outside of Ottawa).

Shaw writes under the penname "Con Cú" (owl in Vietnamese - a nickname given him by a Vietnamese friend). His first novel "Soldier, Lily, Peace and Pearls," published by Deux Voiliers Publishing in 2011, was inspired by two Canadian friends who had suffered deep personal traumas after the Communist victories in Cambodia and South Vietnam in 1975. One friend spent three years on a collective farm under the brutal rule of the Khmer Rouge and then eight years in a refugee camp in Thailand before finally being resettled in British Columbia. The other was imprisoned in Saigon at the age of three with her mother and sister while her father was sent to a re-education camp. After a harrowing boat journey in 1978, the family reached Pulau Bidong refugee camp in Malaysia and were later resettled in Quebec City. While rooted in historical fact and while two of the main characters are partially inspired by real life stories, Shaw's work is fictional. In it, he portrays the resilience of human beings in the face of unbearable tragedies. Shaw is now writing his second novel "Photos and Lost Memories," a love story set against the Lebanese Civil War and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Soldier, Lily, Peace and Pearls (Deux Voiliers Publishing, 2011)

[BCBW 2012]