Not only do you not have an uncle in publishing or see people from the neighborhood get MFAs, immigrants and children of immigrants are inculcated to opt for “safe,” “secure,” often well-paying jobs; a writing career may seem like an unimaginable luxury or a fantasy. This panel of working writers looks at both psychic and structural issues that add a special challenge for writers from immigrant families.
Ken Chen is the Executive Director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and a recipient of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award for his poetry collection, Juvenilia, which was selected by Louise Glück. He is one of the founders of CultureStrike, an arts organization dedicated to migrant justice.
Monica Youn is the author of Blackacre, Ignatz, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and Barter. She has been a Wallace Stegner Fellow and a Witter Bynner Fellow. She currently teaches poetry at Princeton University and at the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
Marie Myung-Ok Lee is the author of the novel Somebody’s Daughter and one forthcoming. Her fiction has appeared the Kenyon Review, FiveChapters, TriQuarterly, Witness, and Guernica. Her nonfiction has appeared in the Atlantic, Salon, New York Times, and the Nation. She teaches creative writing at Brown and Columbia.
Juan Martinez is an assistant professor at Northwestern University. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Huizache, Ecotone, Glimmer Train, McSweeney’s, Conjunctions, Selected Shorts, Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America, and elsewhere.
Irina Reyn is the author of the novels The Imperial Wife and What Happened to Anna K, as well as the anthology, Living on the Edge of the World: New Jersey Writers Take on the Garden State. She teaches creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh.
Ken Chen, Monica Youn, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Juan Martinex, & Irina Reyn
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