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AAWW Fave: I Can’t Go On…I’ll Go On

Featuring Patty Yumi Cottrell, Anelise Chen, Eugene Lim, & Lisa Chen

We’re stepping back in time to select favorite AAWW Radio episodes to republish for our new listeners. This week, listen to a reading and conversation from 2018 with brilliant experimental Asian American writers Anelise Chen, Patty Yumi Cottrell, and Eugene Lim. They read passages from their novels So Many Olympic Exertions, Sorry to Disrupt the Peace, and Dear Cyborgs, all of which circle around what it means to live and survive in this difficult world. Following their readings listen to the insightful and honest conversation they have with writer Lisa Chen about protest, immigrant narratives, and writing voice in fiction.


Anelise Chen is the author of So Many Olympic Exertions, an experimental novel that blends elements of memoir and sports writing through the perspective of a Taiwanese American graduate student who discovers that her friend from college has committed suicide. Ed Park writes, “Reading Anelise Chen’s debut is like being placed in a fast-moving stream it’s impossible to stop and you won’t want to. A rare joy.” 

Patty Yumi Cottrell’s debut novel Sorry to Disrupt the Peace follows a Korean adoptee who returns to her home in the Midwest, after learning that her adoptive brother has died from suicide. Cottrell is a 2018 Whiting Award winner and is the recipient of the Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medal for First Fiction for her book. 

Dear Cyborgs is Eugene Lim’s fourth novel that begins with two Midwestern Asian American boys bonding over superhero comics and then zig-zags towards alternate universes and strange realities of clairvoyance and cyborgs. In his review of the novel, The New Yorker’s Hua Hsu writes “Lim’s novel feels more like a meditation on the possibility and virtue of protesting forces that feel overwhelming–of our capacity to tell meaningful stories about ourselves when we feel like the outcome is preordained.”Poet and Margins contributor Lisa Chen moderates the event and with the authors, discusses survival strategies, self-awareness, and the balance of tension in the books.