The Asian American Writers’ Workshop announced today the appointment of Ken Chen to the post of executive director of the organization. His predecessor, Quang Bao, stepped down in January.
Chen, a graduate of Yale Law School, comes to the Workshop after working as an attorney at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP. He was previously an editor of Arts & Letters Daily, which he helped found in 1998; he established the monthly arts magazine Satellite in 2002. His poetry and prose has been published in the Best American Essays series, the Boston Review of Books, Manoa, Field, Pleiades, and Barrow Street, among other magazines. Chen is also a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
“Ken is uniquely qualified to lead the Asian American Writers’ Workshop into its next phase of growth,” said Harold Augenbraum, a member of the directorial search committee. “We expect that his entrepreneurial approach and personal dedication will inspire others to get involved.”
Some of Chen’s plans for the Workshop include revamping the organization’s Web site, collaborating with established writers to create a mentorship program, and developing “inventive programming” focused on literary topics such as graphic novels, experimental writing, and Asian literature in translation.
“I encourage writers and readers of Asian American literature to see the Workshop as a welcoming environment for all writers, no matter what age, ethnicity or genre,” Chen said. He asked that those interested in becoming involved with the Workshop “feel free to contact me and tell me the type of programming they would find valuable.”
The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, a nonprofit literary organization founded in New York City in 1991, sponsors readings, workshops, and other creative writing programs, as well as the annual Asian American Literary Awards.