Writers of color showcased at Gazillion Strong’s AWP event

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Through poetry, fiction, memoir, and spoken word, 11 literary artists took part in Gazillion Strong Presents: Writers of Color Showcase, at Aster Cafe in Minneapolis on Wednesday, April 8. Co-sponsored by Boneshaker Books, Moon Palace Books, and Gazillion Strong, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization, the event is one of several free, off-site events being held in conjunction with the 2015 Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, April 8 through 11. More than 12,000 writers, teachers, students, editors, and publishers are expected to attend the national annual event in this year’s host city, Minneapolis. 

To the delight of a packed house, Kao Kalia Yang, acclaimed author of The Late Homecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, read an excerpt from her forthcoming volume, The Song Poet, a memoir about her father, Bee Yang, a Hmong man working in the factories of Minnesota. The Song Poet will be published by Metropolitan Books in 2016.

Kao Kalia Yang

Kao Kalia Yang

Other highlights included readings by Los Angeles-based Nicky Sa-eun Schildkraut and Rachel Rostad, a Macalester student and recipient of an Academy Of American Poets Prize, both of whom explore their exaperiences as Korean American adoptees, among other themes, in their poetry and other genres. 

Nicky Sa-eun Schildkraut

Nicky Sa-eun Schildkraut

Matthew Salesses offered a sample of his forthcoming novel, The Hundred Year Flood, the story of a young man who escapes to Prague in the wake of his uncle’s suicide and 9/11.

Matthew Salesses

Matthew Salesses

Keno Evol, a poet, educator, spoken-word artist, fashion designer, revolutionist, dancer, and director rocked the stage with a dynamic spoken word performance. Evol has developed curriculum for Crack The Page. Shift The Stage. a literacy development program being used in several local schools. 

Keno Evol

Keno Evol

Writer and performer, Katie Hae Leo, who now resides in Phoenix, emceed the event. Others presenting were Erinrose Magerb: william bearhartMary-Kim Arnold, Sun Yung Shin and JaeRan Kim

JaeRan Kim

JaeRan Kim

A full and very rich evening concluded with the politically-charged works of Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria, a member of Palabristas, a local Latino/a poets collective.

Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria

Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria

 

 

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