Announcing AAWW Interim Director Lillian Cho and the search for our next Executive Director


June 5, 2019 – The Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW) announced this week the organization’s new Interim Executive Director and the search for the permanent Executive Director.

The Interim Executive Director will be Lillian Cho, an experienced leader with decades of nonprofit management and fundraising experience. Lillian Cho served as the Executive Director of the Asian American Arts Alliance from 1996 to 2010. Working as a nonprofit consultant since 2010, she has served as an interim director, development director, or consultant at several organizations, such as the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, ArteEast, the Laundromat Project, and Urban Essex Coalition for Smart Growth. Having started on June 1, 2019, Lillian will serve for approximately a six-month period as the AAWW Board of Directors conducts a search for the permanent Executive Director.


“Lillian possesses an excellent background of fundraising and leadership in the Asian American arts community,” said Mariko Gordon, a member of the AAWW Board Executive Committee. “I am excited for her and the Board to steward AAWW through a new phase of its history as the AAWW Board conducts a search for the organization’s permanent Executive Director.”


“The Workshop is well-poised to build on the accomplishments that former Executive Director Ken Chen has spearheaded during his tenure,” Lillian Cho said. “I’m thrilled to reconnect with the community, and looking forward to working with the board and staff to ensure a smooth transition that paves the way for new leadership.”


AAWW is now accepting applications for an Executive Director to lead the organization into a new era. The ideal candidate will combine substantial nonprofit development experience, leadership and strategic planning skills, and a curatorial vision regarding currents in contemporary literature and Asian American identity. The Executive Director’s chief responsibilities include fundraising the annual budget, serving as the artistic director of the organization, and planning and developing the strategy to sustain the organization in the future. This is a full-time position based in New York City.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and should be submitted at


The permanent Executive Director will be replacing former AAWW Executive Director Ken Chen, who stepped down after eleven years and will pursue a fellowship at the NYPL Cullman Center in the fall. The announcement regarding his exit is available here:


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Founded in 1991, AAWW is the preeminent national arts nonprofit dedicated to the belief that Asian American stories deserve to be told. We define “Asian” with radical inclusivity to also encompass West Asia (Arab, Iranian and Afghan Americans) and South Asia (Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka). We are an alternative arts space dedicated to literature at the intersection of migration, race, and social justice. Dedicated to the fostering, creation, and dissemination of Asian American literature, The Asian American Writers’ Workshop is a national home for Asian American stories. Our main program areas work on three levels: 1) the intimate level of fellowships to individual writers; (2) the community-based level of public programs, workshops, festivals, as well as classes for youth and seniors; and 3) the virtual/national level of our online publications, The Margins and Open City, as well as book publications, our podcast, and video. First, we distribute grants to emerging Asian American writers, having re-granted more than $100,000 in the last few years. Second, we are a quirky yet curated literary community dedicated to Asian American alternative culture and create a public space for writers of color by hosting more than 50 events a year, featuring nearly 200 writers and artists. Speakers have included Jhumpa Lahiri, Porochista Khakpour, Moustafa Bayoumi, Hari Kunzru, Ashok Kondabolu, Hari Kondabolu, Bushra Rehman, Maxine Hong Kingston, Tarfia Faizullah, Vijay Prashad, Favianna Rodriguez, Jeff Chang, Chang-rae Lee, Teju Cole, Claudia Rankine, and Alexander Chee. Finally, at a more national level, we publish the online magazines The Margins, our magazine of arts and ideas, and Open City, which is dedicated to chronicling low-income immigrant communities in New York. About 8,000 people a week access our online magazines, as well as our podcast, Spotify, YouTube, and Facebook livestream. We helped found the pro-immigrant initiative, CultureStrike, which sent 50 writers and artists to a weeklong witnessing delegation at the Arizona border. Invited to the White House during the Obama era, and covered by the NY Times, Wall Street Journal and NPR, we seek to invent the future of Asian American culture.