Our quarterly Fireside Chat series brings an Asian diasporic author, artist, or academic into conversation with Jafreen Uddin, Executive Director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. This October, Jafreen will be joined by debut novelist Nawaaz Ahmed (Radiant Fugitives) to share updates from the Workshop, and to discuss uplifting the next generation of Asian American creators.
NAWAAZ AHMED is a transplant from Tamil Nadu, India. Before turning to writing, he was a computer scientist, researching search algorithms for Yahoo. He holds an MFA from University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and is the winner of several Hopwood Awards. He is the recipient of residencies at MacDowell,
Yaddo, Djerassi, and VCCA. He’s also a Kundiman and Lambda Literary Fellow. His first novel, Radiant Fugitives, was published by Counterpoint Press in August 2021. He lives in Brooklyn.
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.
Nawaaz Ahmed, Jafreen Uddin