Celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander Heritage Month


May is AANHPI Heritage Month, a time to share the remarkable stories from writers and speakers on topics as diverse as tech, politics, literature, heritage, immigration, and more. Contact us for more information about bringing one of these speakers to your school, library, business, or association.

Literary Voices

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Cathy Park Hong

Award-winning poet and New York Times-bestselling author of Minor Feelings

Cathy Park Hong is an award-winning poet and essayist whose book, Minor Feelings, is a searching work that ruthlessly reckons with the American racial consciousness. Hong weaves together personal stories, historical context, and cultural criticism to ultimately create an emotional and impactful exploration of Asian American personhood. Minor Feelings is the 2020 recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. In her moving talks, she offers a fresh and honest perspective on race and Asian American identity, discusses how poetry and writing can be a means for understanding ourselves and our world, and comments on the ways politics and culture are influenced by art—and vice versa.

Charles Yu

National Book Award-winning author of Interior Chinatown

Charles Yu is a screenwriter and the author of 2020 National Book Award winner Interior Chinatown, a genre-bending masterpiece that explores the confining stereotypes of Asian Americans in Hollywood and in American culture more broadly. Yu’s previous novel, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, was a New York Times Notable Book and a TIME Top 10 Fiction Book of 2010. In his entertaining and thought-provoking lectures, Yu speaks to audiences of all kinds about the Asian American experience, representation and stereotypes in film and television, and the unique power of science fiction to address the human condition.

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Ocean Vuong

Poet and author of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

Ocean Vuong is a celebrated poet whose debut novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, was one of the most acclaimed novels of 2019. A dazzling coming-of-age story that touches on identity, immigration, and the power of language to both connect and divide, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous launched Vuong into the national spotlight. Vuong was named an “Essential Asian American Writer” by Buzzfeed Books, and he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, the youngest recipient of the grant in the 2019 class. Whether speaking about the challenges and rewards of creating art from the margins of mainstream American society or revealing the process behind his award-winning writing, Vuong is a vital literary voice for audiences everywhere.

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Megha Majumdar

Former Editor in Chief at Catapult and author of A Burning

Megha Majumdar is an editor at Catapult whose novel, A Burning, is one of the most highly anticipated debuts of 2020. Set in a contemporary India spinning toward extremism, A Burning relentlessly traces the lives of three characters whose fates become irrevocably intertwined in the wake of a devastating act of domestic terrorism. With a fresh voice and insightful analysis, Majumdar speaks to audiences about her perspective as a writer from the diaspora, the troubling conditions in both her current home and her country of origin, and the project of writing politically-engaged fiction in a time of crisis.

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Chang-rae Lee

New York Times-bestselling author of The Surrendered and Native Speaker

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C Pam Zhang

Novelist of How Much of These Hills is Gold and Land of Milk and Honey, and a National Book Foundation 2020 "5 Under 35" Honoree

C Pam Zhang is a bold, new literary voice whose debut novel, How Much of These Hills is Gold, published to wide acclaim. Hailed as a Notable Book of 2020 by The New York Times and The Washington Post, longlisted for the Booker Prize, and named one of Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2020, Zhang’s debut novel is an immersive, affecting piece of historical fiction that retells the often homogenized story of the American West from a fresh perspective. Zhang speaks to audience about how she reimagined history in her powerful book, the art of eschewing normalized ideals of productivity, and the ways grief can fuel and shape one’s writing.

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Jean Kwok

Award-winning author of Girl in Translation

As a little girl, Girl in Translation author Jean Kwok emigrated from Hong Kong to New York, where—despite working long hours in a Chinatown factory—she excelled in the classroom, eventually graduating from Harvard and Columbia. With infectious energy and charm, she comments on the American immigrant experience and ballroom dance, the subject of her new novel Mambo in Chinatown.

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Beth Nguyen

Author of Pioneer Girl, Stealing Buddha's Dinner and Short Girls

Ha Jin

National Book Award-winning novelist, international bestseller, and two-time winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Ha Jin is an award-winning, internationally bestselling author of six novels and numerous collections of short stories and poetry, including the National Book Award-winning Waiting. Born in mainland China, Ha Jin grew up in a small rural town in Liaoning Province. From age fourteen to nineteen he volunteered to serve in the People’s Liberation Army, and began teaching himself middle and high school courses in his third year in the army. When the Tiananmen massacre changed China’s political landscape, Jin realized it would be impossible to write honestly in China, and chose to stay in the US, where he had been studying American Literature. He speaks to audiences about what it means to create freely, and urges them to never take creative freedom lightly.