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Celebrating Ten Years of The Margins

Looking back at our first decade

Ten Years of The Margins
September 12, 2022

This year marks the ten-year anniversary of AAWW’s digital magazine, The Margins. Founded in 2012, The Margins set out to chart the future of Asian American literary culture. Over the past decade, we’ve published more than 1,200 writers and 1,800 poems, works of short fiction, essays, interviews, translations, and hybrid works by Asian, Asian American, and Asian diasporic writers. 

Some of the earliest works published in The Margins looked at the intersection of race and pop culture during the 1990s. The essays were blog-like, voice-driven, bite-sized. Alongside them you’d find reported features by AAWW’s second cohort of Open City Fellows, including a series on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New York City. Gradually, The Margins began publishing more literary work, including a weekly poetry feature that is seven years strong. By 2016, the vision for the magazine started to circle around a set of questions and larger political commitments: countering Islamophobia, interrogating the national borders around literary cultures, and naming what Asian American writing has to do with imprisonment. These questions led to a flowering of translations, works by incarcerated writers, and our practice of publishing folios of writing drawn together by a theme. The Margins is, in part, characterized by the many different forms of writing it draws together. The magazine places cultural criticism and longform reportage alongside literary works and translations. 

To capture the breadth of voices we’ve published and to chart some of the questions our writers keep surfacing, our team has spent the past few weeks peering into the archive of work, and organizing it for you to revisit. You’ll find ten lists below to peruse.

As with any list, we could only feature a fraction of all the pieces that have galvanized and changed us, but we hope this serves as an entry point into a wealth of stories. We hope you enjoy dipping into our recent archive as much as we did.

Read the full list below.

Lists from top to bottom, left to right:

  1. Borders

  2. Artistic Lineages

  3. Queer Bodies, Queer Futures

  4. Translation

  5. Uncaging Our Imaginations

  6. Passing Through

  7. Move(s)ment

  8. Foodways as Pathways

  9. Remembrance Is a Ghost

  10. A Day in the Life