Asian American Writers’ Workshop presents “Spring Will Come: Writings from East Turkistan,” a new notebook from The Margins.


March 31, 2023

(New York, New York) — On March 20, 2023, in time for Nowruz, the Iranian (Persian) new year, Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s award-winning digital magazine, The Margins, published “Spring Will Come: Writings from East Turkistan.” This notebook is one of the first multi-genre digital collections of writings published in the United States featuring works by writers from the contested region in Central Asia bordering several countries, including Russia, India, Mongolia, and China. Uyghur advocates and translators Munawwar Abdulla and Rahima Mahmut guest-edited the notebook, which includes art by Uyghur artist Efvan.

Featuring fifteen poems and short stories in English, Kazakh, and Uyghur, “Spring Will Come” marks a time of growth and renewal. The editors, who are native to the region, aimed to focus the body of work on a collective narrative as told by the people of Uyghur, Kazakh, and other Muslim populations in East Turkistan, rather than historians or governments. The collection also includes works from writers who are currently detained in East Turkistan.

Efvan Originally published in ‘The Taste of Uyghur’ (Teklimakan Uyghur Neshriyati, 2022) by Abduweli Ayup.

While much of the work centers feelings of separation and longing for a home that no longer exists, the collection reclaims the persistence and strength of these communities, refusing to be “defined by tragedy, victimhood, or our oppressors.”

“East Turkistan has a powerful poetry and storytelling tradition,
from nomadic oral epics to large online poetry salons.
In this notebook, we seek to spotlight the literature and art of the region, as well as the people’s persistence that surfaces both in the work
and in the making of it.”

Munawwar Abdulla and Rahima Mahmut, GUEST EDITORS

The notebook’s title comes from Abdurehim Ötkür’s poem “Calling Out for Spring,” written in 1947 and translated by Mahmut, and Abdurrahim Imin (Parach)’s poem “The Beloved Will Come.”

The notebook is available for view at aaww.org/springwillcome

The notebook’s guest editors, Munawwar Abdulla and Rahima Mahmut, and The Margins’ senior editor Soleil Davíd are available for interview and comment. 

About The Margins:
Recently celebrating its tenth anniversary, The Margins is an award-winning digital magazine of literature, arts, and ideas published by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW). The Margins draws upon a commitment to social justice to imagine a vibrant, nuanced, multiracial, and transnational Asian America. It features original poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, critical essays, reportage, translations, interviews, and experimental and hybrid-genre work.

About Asian American Writers’ Workshop:
Founded in 1991, Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW) is and has always been devoted to creating, publishing, developing, and amplifying Asian American and Asian diasporic storytelling and to providing an alternative literary arts space at the intersection of migration, race, and social justice. Through our programming in New York City and online, we have expanded our reach globally and intergenerationally and hope to continue to grow and nurture a sanctuary space for our futures and imaginations.

For press and media queries, contact Devyn Mañibo at dmanibo@aaww.org