Asian American Writers' Workshop

Asian American Writers' Workshop Asian American stories deserve to be told!

The Asian American Writers’ Workshop is the preeminent national literary arts nonprofit dedicated to the belief that Asian American stories deserve to be told. We’ve garnered coverage from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Huffington Post, Associated Press, Atlantic, Slate and NPR. Invited to the White House, named one of the top Asian American groups nationally, we seek to invent the future of Asian American intellectual culture. Check us out at http://www.aaww.org. 1. WE CURATE UNFORGETTABLE ART EVENTS. We hold fifty events a year at our Chelsea space. They’re fresh, progressive, funny, interdisciplinary, and community-based. We have curated events with Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Michael Ondaatje, Zadie Smith, Maxine Hong Kingston, Ha Jin, Das Racist, Eddie Huang, Tea Obreht, Junot Díaz, Roxane Gay, and other writers, activists, and scholars. 2. WE PUBLISH THE ONLINE MAGAZINES THE MARGINS AND OPEN CITY. The Margins magazine (aaww.org) seeks to invent the future of Asian American arts and ideas and imagine ethnic identity as counterculture, both aesthetically and politically. We have published Pulitzer Finalist Chang-rae Lee, National Book Award Finalist Jessica Hagedorn, and MacArthur Genius Vijay Iyer. Open City magazine (opencitymag.com) publishes stories about communities of color, those excluded from traditional power structures, and incubates the underprivileged writers who can write about them. Almost a third of a million readers have read our magazines. 3. WE INCUBATE EMERGING WRITERS OF COLOR. We give out grants to eight emerging Asian American writers a year. We hold open mics, writing workshops, and a big publishing conference. As Pulitzer Prize-winner Jhumpa Lahiri, arguably the most celebrated novelist in America, said at our 2009 PAGE TURNER literary festival: “I felt that AAWW was a secret door that opened and cared about and supported my work as a writer.”

Join us for a special event featuring queer Lebanese writers Andrea Abi-Karam and Jennifer Camper. Selected by Bhanu Kap...
05/17/2019

Join us for a special event featuring queer Lebanese writers Andrea Abi-Karam and Jennifer Camper. Selected by Bhanu Kapil for the Kelsey Street Prize, Abi-Karam’s new poetry book EXTRATRANSMISSION is a critique of nationalism, patriarchy, and gender embedded in an explosive trauma narrative. The creator of the Queers & Comics Conference, Jennifer Camper is the author of Rude Girls and Dangerous Women and subGURLZ, a graphic novella following the adventures of three women living in abandoned subway tunnels. They’ll speak with poet Rami Karim.

RESERVE A SEAT FOR WED 5/29 HERE: https://aaww.org/curation/new-work-by-queer-lebanese-writers/

"When we see the history of North America in relation to the colonized world or the Global South, we get back to the ins...
05/16/2019
Unsettling the Nation from the Land: A Conversation with Manu Karuka

"When we see the history of North America in relation to the colonized world or the Global South, we get back to the insights and visions of the Third World Liberation Front. Implicit in their demands was a profound disruption of our sense of, What is this place in which we’re living? It’s necessary to defamiliarize the geography and history of the United States."

Manu Karuka spoke with Vivek Bald about anti-imperialist immigrant movements, the alternate history of the Transcontinental Railroad, and his new book, Empire's Tracks, for The Margins

https://aaww.org/unsettling-the-nation-from-the-land-a-conversation-with-manu-karuka/

The author of Empire’s Tracks talks anti-imperialist immigrant movements, the alternate history of the Transcontinental Railroad, and the rumor of U.S. sovereignty.

With deep appreciation for his years of leadership, the Board of Directors of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop ann...
05/15/2019
Announcing the departure of AAWW Executive Director Ken Chen

With deep appreciation for his years of leadership, the Board of Directors of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop announces the departure of Ken Chen as the Executive Director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.

https://aaww.org/about-us/departure-aaww-executive-director-ken-chen/

  With deep appreciation for his years of leadership, the Board of Directors of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop announces the departure of Ken Chen as the Executive Director of the Asian …

"So throwout the cormorant, its leg tied with silk ropes.Let it drag the air for memory. Over and over,as many times as ...
05/13/2019
The Promise of This Union: On the 150th Anniversary of the Golden Spike

"So throw
out the cormorant, its leg tied with silk ropes.
Let it drag the air for memory. Over and over,
as many times as you want. You can’t snare
what isn’t missing. This country claimed their bodies.
It never trapped their souls."

In remembrance of the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike, read poems from Paisley Rekdal's 'West: A Translation' a poem cycle that links the histories of detention of Chinese immigrants on Angel Island with the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad

https://aaww.org/the-promise-of-this-union-on-the-150th-anniversary-of-the-golden-spike/

On the 150th anniversary of the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad, Paisley Rekdal revisits the legacy of the Chinese railroad workers who reshaped the American West.

"I learned that I could explore myself through literature. I saw a relationship between the trauma of Partition and Sout...
05/10/2019
Memory and the Elusive Archive

"I learned that I could explore myself through literature. I saw a relationship between the trauma of Partition and South Asian writers with the legacy and growth of Khmer diaspora writers of the post-Khmer Rouge. For Khmers, it would mean an archive explored from a place of absence."

Sokunthary Svay remembers lessons learned from Meena Alexander

https://aaww.org/memory-and-the-elusive-archive/

After her death, the class continued to meet every week until the end of the semester. What else could we do?

"In Meena Alexander's absence, I return to the ideas of fragmentation we discussed in her class and which reappear in he...
05/10/2019
These Fragments of a Broken Geography

"In Meena Alexander's absence, I return to the ideas of fragmentation we discussed in her class and which reappear in her work—the split of the subcontinent, the scatter caused by multiple migrations, the desire to knit a self together. How do we understand and honor the fractured histories that have formed us while forging something whole and new?"

Sadia Shepard remembers Meena Alexander on The Margins

https://aaww.org/these-fragments-of-a-broken-geography/

As I celebrate Meena Alexander’s life, and revisit her books, I’m acutely aware of my mistaken impression that there would be so much more time in the future to get to know one another better.

05/09/2019
THE COLLECTED SCHIZOPHRENIAS

THE COLLECTED SCHIZOPHRENIAS --- Join us for a special reading and conversation by novelist Esmé Weijun Wang, whose bestselling new essay collection The Collected Schizophrenias (Gray Wolf 2019) is a “riveting, honest, and courageously allows for complexities in the reality of what living with illness is like” (NPR). Don’t miss this nuanced discussion of mental health with Wang, a Whiting Award-winner named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. She’ll be in conversation with poet Larissa Pham.

"Malayalam, English, Arabic, French: Meena Alexander inhabited all these languages, reminding her of the many homes she ...
05/09/2019
Entangled Alphabets

"Malayalam, English, Arabic, French: Meena Alexander inhabited all these languages, reminding her of the many homes she had lived in and experienced. Writing was the gift that allowed her to rope in all these disparate sounds and concatenate them into feeling, recognition, understanding."

Rajini Srikanth remembers Meena Alexander on The Margins

https://aaww.org/entangled-alphabets/

Malayalam, English, Arabic, French: Meena Alexander inhabited all these languages, reminding her of the many homes she had lived in and experienced.

"In grad school, when a faculty member told me to write about “where you come from,” that was my worst nightmare. Th...
05/09/2019
Routine Made Everything Possible: An Interview with Ling Ma

"In grad school, when a faculty member told me to write about “where you come from,” that was my worst nightmare. Though Severance does contain an immigrant narrative, it was something I initially resisted—and of course, it had to be wrapped up in an apocalyptic conceit.

You could argue that the immigrant narrative and the apocalyptic narrative are similar in that they’re both traditionally organized around a Before and an After."

Ling Ma discusses talks the paperback release of her award-winning debut novel Severance, co-opting consumerism, and the disease of remembering.

https://aaww.org/routine-made-everything-ling-ma-severance-interview/

The author of Severance talks apocalyptic immigrant narratives, co-opting consumerism, and the disease of remembering.

Meena Alexander was the very first poet I discovered who named places and sounds and smells and sights from Kerala, the ...
05/08/2019
Meena Alexander’s Kerala

Meena Alexander was the very first poet I discovered who named places and sounds and smells and sights from Kerala, the emerald green, southern-most coast of India. Kerala, a place I love so deeply in my veins and lungs but never saw in any poems brought into my classes, or any book I could find in our suburban libraries.

https://aaww.org/meena-alexanders-kerala/

Meena was the very first poet I discovered who named places and sounds and smells and sights from Kerala, the emerald green, southern-most coast of India.

Podcast Episode 43: Vietnamese Ghost StoriesWe'll be listening to an introduction by Viet Thanh Nguyen, Diasporic Vietna...
05/08/2019

Podcast Episode 43: Vietnamese Ghost Stories

We'll be listening to an introduction by Viet Thanh Nguyen, Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network founder & author of The Sympathizer, followed by a conversation around the concept of Vietnamese ghost stories moderated by Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis featuring authors Violet Kupersmith, Thanhha Lai, & Vu Tran. They dissect the concept of the ghost story as a metaphor for the immigrant, a reflection of the self and one’s deepest fears and insecurities, and then discuss Vietnamese diasporic literary community. Listen on your favorite podcast platform!

Apple: https://apple.co/2M2eX1W
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2R2rIMl
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2kTfRRU
Stitcher: https://bit.ly/2kUfZ3n
TuneIn Radio: http://tun.in/piGyv

"I came into this world in an Allahabad hospitalIn the absence of reliable ghosts I made ariaI watch your hands at the k...
05/07/2019
To Be Close Again to Meena and to Learn More from Her Poetry, I Compose a Cento

"I came into this world in an Allahabad hospital

In the absence of reliable ghosts I made aria

I watch your hands at the keyboard

Memory is all you have.

And all the singing rifts of story."

Today's #PoetryTuesday is a cento by Kimiko Hahn composed from the late Meena Alexander's poetry https://aaww.org/to-be-close-again-to-meena-kimiko-hahn/

I came into this world in an Allahabad hospital / In the absence of reliable ghosts I made aria / I watch your hands at the keyboard / Memory is all you have.

"Sebuah bandar keluli disinari lampu sorot. Menara yang ditengkolok bebola api gergasi setiap 40 saat. Aroma berbaur min...
05/07/2019
Van Runcit Putih | Neighborhood Sundry Van

"Sebuah bandar keluli disinari lampu sorot. Menara yang ditengkolok bebola api gergasi setiap 40 saat. Aroma berbaur minyak tengik dan tayar terbakar. Bunyi deraman yang tidak berhenti-henti."

"Aku membesar di Port Dickson. Kebanyakan rakanku di sekolah mengalami masalah sistem pernafasan. Aku sendiri menghidap penyakit lelah. Tapi penilaian impak alam sekitar tidak pernah dijalankan. Siapa yang sanggup berlaga dengan syarikat petroleum? Industri utama negara kita? Lagipun ibubapa kita bergantung kepada syarikat petroleum ini untuk mencari nafkah.

Sakit lelah aku tidak lain dan tidak bukan harga hidup senang aku kini."

***

"A sprawl of spotlights. Gas flares that ball into flame every 40 seconds. A scent like rancid oil and a tyre fire. A dull roar that never ends."

"I grew up in Port Dickson. Many of my schoolmates had respiratory diseases. I myself was asthmatic. But there were never any environmental-impact studies. How could anybody fight the oil-and-gas industry? Our fathers worked in those refineries.

My asthma is the cost of the middle-class life I live now."

***

Zedeck Siew, Van Runcit Putih | Neighborhood Sundry Van in the Trans:Act folio of the Transpacific Literary Project

with illustration by Sharon Chin

https://aaww.org/neighborhood-sundry-van/

I buy the turmeric powder (RM4.60)…In 2016, Royal Dutch Shell sold its controlling stake in the Shell Refining Company to Shandong Hengyuan Petrochemical (RM275 million).

05/06/2019
Meena Alexander: On Intrusion, Dissolution, and Elsewhere

One day, I noticed that depersonalization was a phenomena I began to recognize in literature. I read it first in Sartre’s Nausea. And an even more recent example might be Elena Ferrante’s character, Lila, who experiences “disappearing borders.”

But it was Meena’s writing on Virginia Woolf’s The Waves that allowed me to understand what these sensations of depersonalizing had to do with larger social and political realities.

https://aaww.org/meena-alexander-intrusion-dissolution-elsewhere/

If I dissolve when the push of the world comes in on me, I know now it is a form of longing, or rather, a longing for form

Come for a special event this Thursday featuring Esmé Weijun Wang, the author of the bestselling essay collection The C...
05/06/2019
The Collected Schizophrenias

Come for a special event this Thursday featuring Esmé Weijun Wang, the author of the bestselling essay collection The Collected Schizophrenias. NPR says it's “riveting, honest, and courageously allows for complexities in the reality of what living with illness is like.” Don’t miss this rare NY appearance by a writer who’s won accolades from the Whiting Foundation, Gray Wolf Press, and Granta!

RESERVE A SEAT FOR THURSDAY 5/9: https://aaww.org/curation/the-collected-schizophrenias/

Join us for a special reading and conversation by novelist Esmé Weijun Wang, whose bestselling new essay collection The Collected Schizophrenias (Gray Wolf 2019) is a “riveting, honest, and courage…

In June 1990,  Meena organized a panel of women poets of color, including Audre Lorde, Kamala Das, and Claribel Alegria,...
05/06/2019
The Fragments Will Save You: Remembering Meena

In June 1990, Meena organized a panel of women poets of color, including Audre Lorde, Kamala Das, and Claribel Alegria, to participate in an International Poetry Conference. She learned that her panel was not advertised on the general program. “What does it mean to appear, to be allowed to appear, or to be wiped out, to be wiped off the slates of publicity?” Meena asked.

“They want to suppress our names, Meena, they want to scrub us out,” Audre Lorde told her. “They cannot bear us, Meena,” she said, “those women of color who talk out.”

https://aaww.org/fragments-will-save-you-meena-alexander/

Meena Alexander taught us that our stories required narratives that were true to the ruptures of our lives.

"On Mott Street, over 20,000 garment workers — almost entirely women — once marched down the center of Chinatown to ...
05/03/2019
Open City - How Chinese American Women Changed U.S. Labor History

"On Mott Street, over 20,000 garment workers — almost entirely women — once marched down the center of Chinatown to Columbus Park on a warm Spring day in 1982... United, immigrant Chinese American women called for workers’ rights that would forever impact U.S. labor history."

Read Huiying B. Chan's new Open City piece "How Chinese American Women Changed U.S. Labor History".

https://opencitymag.aaww.org/chinatown-garment-strike-1982/

Beyond dim sum restaurants and new bubble tea and dessert cafes, historic sites of resistance line Chinatown’s streets.

In mining the contours of being elsewhere, in being willing to be vulnerable and honest about her longings and displacem...
05/03/2019
The Dark Soil of Self

In mining the contours of being elsewhere, in being willing to be vulnerable and honest about her longings and displacements, Meena Alexander widened the narrow passage between her birth and her death.

https://aaww.org/the-dark-soil-of-self/

In mining the contours of being elsewhere, Meena Alexander widened the narrow passage between her birth and her death.

Today we begin publishing a week-long series of essays + reflections in tribute to the late poet, scholar, and essayist ...
05/01/2019
Meena’s Words Are Inscribed in Us: A Collected Tribute

Today we begin publishing a week-long series of essays + reflections in tribute to the late poet, scholar, and essayist Meena Alexander (1951-2018).

“These are more than memories of readers and friends and students; these are tributaries from the vast river of Meena” —Manan Ahmed, from the introduction

Keep checking back to read the full series in the coming week: https://aaww.org/meena-alexander-collected-tribute/

Essays and remembrances for the late poet, scholar, and essayist Meena Alexander (1951-2018)

Cambodian writer and translator Phina So visits the lotus-less Golden Lotus Market / Phsa Chhouk Meas in Phenom Penh and...
04/25/2019
បង្កងទឹកសាប និងឈ្មោះប្លែកៗ | Freshwater Lobster and the Trouble with Names

Cambodian writer and translator Phina So visits the lotus-less Golden Lotus Market / Phsa Chhouk Meas in Phenom Penh and questions the politics of naming. Read her self-translated piece in TLP's Trans:Act folio today

ញុំបានគិតដល់ ភាសាខ្មែរ សម្រាប់ «ខ្ទឹមបារាំង»។ ជាទូទៅ ឱ្យតែបន្លែ ផ្លែឈើណារាងធំៗ យើងច្រើនដាក់ឈ្មោះវា ដោយភ្ជាប់ទៅនឹងពាក្យ «បារាំង»។ ខ្ញុំមិនច្បាស់សោះថា តើគេដាក់ឈ្មោះវា ដោយសារគេប្រៀបធៀបមាឌជនជាតិបារាំង នឹងមាឌជនជាតិខ្មែរ?

The Khmer word for onion comes to mind, what we call 'French garlic.' In general, when a vegetable is a bigger size, we refer to it as French.

https://aaww.org/freshwater-lobster/

៦០០០០រៀល! មើលទៅបង! បង្កងធំៗណាស់! || 60,000 KHR. Big ones! Look at them, sister!

"The state of Florida took me and my two sisters into custody in 1995, when I was 9 years old. The police came in the ni...
04/25/2019
Open City - The Give and The Take

"The state of Florida took me and my two sisters into custody in 1995, when I was 9 years old. The police came in the night and snatched us from our beds, while my mother choked out sobs of Korean that neither we nor the white officers could understand.

"My sisters and I received no warning that we would be going into foster care, but somehow, my father, who faced child abuse charges, knew to stay away from our dingy, sandy-beige apartment that night."

Open City Fellow Hannah Bae tells her story of being in a foster home and its impact on her and her family's struggle with mental health.

Read this new Open City story at https://opencitymag.aaww.org/reckoning-with-childhood-abuse/

04/24/2019
Những tin tức về một ngôi làng | Chronicles of A Village

"không phải là tôi hoài cổ khi kể lại cảnh trồng bông dệt vải, nhưng vì đó là một khúc sử không thể không nhắc lại" || "i am not being nostalgic about the scene of growing and weaving cotton, but it’s a segment of history that cannot go unmentioned"

Vietnamese writer Nguyễn Thanh Hiện, with translation by Nguyễn Hoàng Quyên, recalls a poignant time in marketplace history in the Trans:Act folio today

https://aaww.org/nhung-tin-tuc-ve-mot-ngoi-lang-chronicles-of-a-village/

NGUYỄN THANH HIỆN was born in 1940 in Nam Tượng village of An Nhơn district of Bình Định province, vernacularly known as Giã. With a degree in Western Philosophy from the University of Saigon, he has lived as an educator and author and has published works in literary journals within Vietnam and abroad.

NGUYỄN HOÀNG QUYÊN, after a structured liberal education at Stanford University, now seasonally translate-writes and curates visual art in Vietnam.

một cây vải đổi lấy mười vuông thóc thì phải || one bolt of fabric for ten vuông of unhusked rice

The first piece of Transpacific Literary Project's Trans:Act folio is up today! Nikka Cornelio-Baker's "Tiangge" takes u...
04/18/2019
Tiangge

The first piece of Transpacific Literary Project's Trans:Act folio is up today!

Nikka Cornelio-Baker's "Tiangge" takes us into the wet womb of her childhood marketplace in Dumaguete City, Philippines—exploring the "unadulterated rawness of death" at the market, "where currency is crumpled and stained, flecked with the scales of fish and the blood of cattle".

Jack fish = 70 pesos/kilogram (1980s)

https://aaww.org/tiangge/

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112 W 27th St Ste 600
New York, NY
10001

We are conveniently located near the B/D/F/V, N/R/W/Q, 6, A/C/E, 1/2/3 trains, as well as the PATH train and Penn Station.

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