Established in 1991, AAWW is a national not-for-profit arts organization devoted to the creating, publishing, developing and disseminating of creative writing by Asian Americans–in other words, we’re the preeminent organization dedicated to the belief that Asian American stories deserve to be told.
We’re building the Asian literary culture of tomorrow through our curatorial platform, which includes our New York events series and our online editorial initiatives. In a time when China and India are on the rise, when immigration is a vital electoral issue, when the detention of Muslim Americans is a matter of common practice, we believe Asian American literature is vital to interpret our post-multicultural but not post-racial age. Our curatorial take is intellectual and alternative, pop cultural and highbrow, warm and artistically innovative, and vested in New York City communities.
The Margins, the flagship editorial platform of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, is a bold new online magazine dedicated to inventing the Asian American creative culture of tomorrow. In an age when Asian Americans are relegated to sidekicks, whether in sitcoms or the corridors of power, we believe it’s time to bring Asian Americans into the conversations that matter. We’re thinking about Asian American identity in a way totally different from anyone else for a pan-racial, trans-cultural, truly world-spanning audience.
Open City is our new online magazine that takes the real-time pulse of metropolitan Asian America as it’s being lived on the streets of New York right now. We tell the stories of the Asian and immigrant neighborhoods that comprise one million New Yorkers and 13 percent of the city, but that rarely find their way to mainstream media.
With CultureStrike, we seek to launch a cultural movement around immigration. We enlisted 300 writers–like Salman Rushdie, John Waters, and Russell Banks–to boycott Arizona in the wake of SB1070. And we sent 50 writers and artists to Arizona to tour the border, including Maxine Hong Kingston, Teju Cole, Wangechi Mutu, and Daniel Alarcón.
Our curatorial platform is premised on the idea of a big-tent Asian American cultural pluralism. We’re interested in both the New York publishing industry and ethnic studies, the South Asian diasporic novel and the Asian American story of assimilation, high culture and pop culture, Lisa Lowe and Amar Chitra Katha, avant-garde poetry and spoken word, journalism and critical race theory, Midnight’s Children and Dictee. We are against both an exclusive literary culture that believes that race does not exist and Asian American narratives that lead to self-stereotyping and limit the menu of our identity. We are for inventing the future of Asian American literary culture. Named one of the top five Asian American groups nationally, covered by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Poets & Writers, we are a safe community space and an anti-racist counterculture, incubating new ideas and interpretations of what it means to be both an American and a global citizen.
Ken Chen, Executive Director
Jyothi Natarajan, Managing Editor / Editor, The Margins
Sharmila Venkatasubban, Editor, CultureStrike
Tina Pamintuan, Editor, Open City
Ryan Wong, Program Director
Nadia Ahmad, Program Assistant
Margaret Chen, Financial Consultant
Bryan Eslinger, Web Producer
Spring 2014 Interns
Jennifer 8. Lee
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni