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Asian American Studies Lecture Series: Ken Chen and Sally Wen Mao

Ken Chen and Sally Wen Mao, Authors

November 6, 2019 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · Donald G. Drapkin Studio, Lewis Arts Complex

Program in American Studies
Ken Chen, Sally Wen Mao: photos courtesy of the author

Celebrating New Asian American Writing

Ken Chen served as the executive director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop from 2008 to 2019. He is the recipient of the Yale Younger Poets Award, the oldest annual literary award in America, for his book Juvenilia, which was selected by the poet Louise Glück. An NEA, NYFA and Bread Loaf fellow, Chen co-founded the cultural website Arts & Letters Daily and CultureStrike, a national arts organization dedicated to migrant justice. A graduate of Yale Law School, he successfully defended the asylum application of an undocumented Muslim high school student from Guinea detained by Homeland Security. He will be working on his next manuscript — “Death Star,” which explores colonialism as the underworld and death as migration — at the Cullman Center of the New York Public Library in 2019.

Sally Wen Mao is the author of Oculus (Graywolf Press, 2019). Oculus has been featured or reviewed by Nylon, The Washington Post, Lit Hub, NPR, Vulture, O Magazine, The Millions, The Rumpus, Electric Literature, Poets & Writers, and The New Yorker, among others. Her first book, Mad Honey Symposium (Alice James Books, 2014), was the winner of the 2012 Kinereth Gensler Award and a Poets & Writers Top Ten Debut of 2014. She holds an MFA from Cornell University has taught at Cornell, Hunter College and widely elsewhere. She was a 2016-17 Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library and the 2017-18 Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Washington at The George Washington University.

In 2019-20, in cooperation with the Program in Creative Writing, the Lewis Center for the Arts, and the Department of English, the Asian American Studies Lecture Series is dedicated to contemporary Asian American letters, to showcase the recent explosion of Asian American creative writers and to highlight the expansive geopolitical diversity of what constitutes Asian American letters today.

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