R. O. Kwon Addresses Fellow Asian American Women, Charles Yu Writes on the Dehumanizing Power of Racism, and More

by Staff
3.22.21

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

“Today I am not spending any more of my limited time alive defending the humanity of marginalized people…. This long, hard week, I have felt especially pulled toward the company of fellow Asian women, so that is who I will write to here.” In the wake of the shootings in Atlanta—and in response to long-standing anti-Asian violence—novelist R. O. Kwon writes a love letter to Asian women in America. (Vanity Fair)

“The events in Atlanta make it impossible to deny that Asians in America—especially Asian women—are seen by some not as people with agency and inner lives, but as props, as dehumanized objects, as set decoration.” Novelist Charles Yu reflects on how racism robs Asian Americans of full personhood. (Los Angeles Times)

“Those of us familiar with Asian American history know that Asians have been targeted for violence in this country as long as there have been Asian immigrants in this country.” Viet Thanh Nguyen talks to PBS NewsHour about the history of anti-Asian violence in the United States.

Egyptian writer Nawal El Saadawi has died at age eighty-nine. The author of more than fifty books, including The Hidden Face of Eve, she was both celebrated and persecuted for being an outspoken feminist. (Guardian)

The literary community has also lost Polish poet Adam Zagajewski, who died on Sunday at age seventy-five. The recipient of the 2004 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and many other literary awards, he is often remembered for his poem “Try to Praise the Mutilated World,” which was published by the New Yorker in the wake of 9/11. (Washington Post)

“The Sunday morning after I see the man overdose, I wake up from the nightmares I keep having, and I watch grainy ACT UP videos on my laptop. I am looking for instructions. How does one channel anger productively?” Hannah Gold writes about how ACT UP helped pioneer needle exchange advocacy in New York City. (n+1)

The archives of Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, are due to be collected in a crowdfunded book. In a “general note to myself,” Adams wrote: “Writing isn’t so bad really when you get through the worry. Forget about the worry, just press on. Don’t be embarrassed about the bad bits.” (Guardian)

Closing out five years as an executive editor at Ecco, Denise Oswald is moving to Pantheon to serve as editorial director. (Publishers Weekly)