David Kos

1944-2016

David Kos was born in 1944 in Wyoming, an area he describes as “rich in cowboys and immigrant coalminers”. In 1971, the Kos family immigrated to Canada and became Canadian citizens in 1980. During his 39 years in education, he has had a variety of teaching positions: English Literature at the University of Colorado, the College of New Caledonia, and Northwest Community College; First Nations Education at the University of British Columbia, Kuper Island, and Mount Currie; English as a Second Language (ESL) at Malaspina University; ESL Teacher Training in Nigeria, China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Burma (Myanmar).

A family bicycle tour around Salt Spring Island in 1985 convinced his wife, Kay, and three children that ‘here’ is Heaven on Earth. The heartbreak of the ferry ride back to Vancouver was enough to know that Salt Spring equals ‘home’.

Kos’ novel, The Desserts of War, is based on his experience with the Vietnamese people while teaching in the country. He was struck by their very resilience. “They had suffered through 1,000 years of Chinese rule, 100 years of French control, and 15 years of the American War. Yet they have the ability to see the next day as a chance for improvement, a resourcefulness to better their lives, as well as a deep sense of forgiveness.” His intended audience, he says, is Western society. “There has been a lot of suffering, and we haven’t taken on the full consequence of what we’ve done: Americans in Vietnam, British colonialism, Canada’s mistreatment of First Nations. Writing can be a catharsis.”

Inspired by his involvement in First Nations’ Education, Kos’ present writing effort is a novel about Simon, from his early years in an orphanage through his adult introduction to his First Nations’ heritage and quest for family.

The Desserts of War is available at the Library. The first publication of the book under its original title, A Measure of Undoing, is also available.