This October, we’ll be considering the importance of finding a space of our own, considering both literal and figurative definitions of home, in conversation with leaders of Asian American organizations and publications. Featuring Jafreen Uddin, Executive Director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, Curator of Asian Pacific American Studies at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific Center, and Snigdha Sur, Editor in Chief of The Juggernaut, and moderated by Cathy Linh Che, Executive Director of Kundiman.
In commemoration of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s 30th anniversary, AAWW at 30 will explore the values and ideas that lie at the heart of the Workshop’s mission. From the complexities of representation to the need for an artistic home to interrogating our editorial and archival legacies, this series of events will serve not only as a retrospective of our rich and layered history, but also as a resounding call to envision our future.
JAFREEN UDDIN was appointed Executive Director of the AAWW in January 2020. She is the first woman to lead the organization since its founding in 1991. With over a decade of experience working in the public sector, she specializes in communications, education, and fundraising.
She most recently served as Deputy Director of Development for Special Events with PEN America, managing a high-level portfolio of events and cultivation activities. Prior to joining PEN America, she helped oversee Executive Education as an Assistant Director with NYU’s Stern School of Business, developing and coordinating both degree and non-degree programming for cohorts of senior-level executives. She began her career with a nearly-eight-year stint at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where she helped create the infrastructure for the public programming calendar of events, and spent nearly three years managing an online Book Salon for Aslan Media, spotlighting writers and artists from the greater Middle East/South Asia region.
She regularly volunteers her time with a number of literary and social change organizations. She previously served as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for Laal NYC, an organization supporting Bangladeshi women in the Bronx, and currently serves as Chair of the Adult Internship Committee for We Need Diverse Books and as a Literary Council Member for the Brooklyn Book Festival. She received her B.A. in political economics from Barnard College, Columbia University, and her M.A. in global history from NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science.
LAWRENCE-MINH BÙI DAVIS, PhD is Curator of Asian Pacific American Studies at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. He serves as lead organizer for the Asian American Literature Festival and is a co-founder of the pop-up Center for Refugee Poetics. He is also founding Director of the arts antiprofit The Asian American Literary Review and editor-in-chief of its literary journal. He is currently ranked as the 9th best ice cream maker in human history.
SNIGHDA SUR founded The Juggernaut, a site and newsletter dedicated to South Asian news, out of frustration with the lack of media coverage. She serves as CEO and has raised $1 million from investors including Y Combinator and 8VC’s Bhaskar Ghosh. The Juggernaut’s subjects range from Kashmiri American activism to the legacy of India’s first female pilot. Sur founded The Juggernaut, a site and newsletter dedicated to South Asian news, out of frustration with the lack of media coverage. She serves as CEO and has raised $1 million from investors including Y Combinator and 8VC’s Bhaskar Ghosh. The Juggernaut’s subjects range from Kashmiri American activism to the legacy of India’s first female pilot.
CATHY LINH CHE is the author of Split (Alice James Books), winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize, the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the Best Poetry Book Award from the Association of Asian American Studies.
Her work has been published in The New Republic, The Nation, McSweeney’s, and Poetry magazine. She has received awards from MacDowell, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Djerassi, Willapa Bay AiR, The Anderson Center, The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, Artist Trust, Hedgebrook, Poets House, Poets & Writers, The Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown, The Asian American Literary Review, The Center for Book Arts, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Residency, the Jerome Foundation. She has taught at the 92nd Street Y, New York University, Fordham University, Sierra Nevada College, and the Polytechnic University at NYU. She was Sierra Nevada College’s Distinguished Visiting Professor and Writer in Residence. She is working on a poetry manuscript and a creative nonfiction manuscript on her parents’ experiences as refugees who played extras on Apocalypse Now. She is currently a PhD student in English at Fordham University. She serves as Executive Director at Kundiman and lives on the traditional lands of the Lenape people.
Jafreen Uddin, Snighda Sur, Cathy Linh Che, Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis
AAWW at 30