Does Asian American literature and creative writing matter?
The 500 Project seeks to profile 10 Asian American individuals from each State who answer YES to the above question.
In part of a new initiative of the Kartika Review, I and others are spending the next year looking for at least 10 individuals from each state who enjoy writing and reading the work of other Asian Americans.
In Minnesota, there are over 60 ethnic communities tracing their heritage to Asia or the Pacific Islands. These communities thrive across the United States, coast to coast.
And in each one of these communities, all of these writers must ask: Can't we find, among all of those thousands, even just 10 people who are passionate about Asian American literature, writer activists who will express without equivocation that Asian American literature matters?
For each of the 50 states, there must be at least 10 Asian Americans in each who would answer yes. So, joined by Kartika Review, I and my colleagues are seeking out those 500 writer activists.
Why should it be so hard to identify them and build a vibrant, amazing network of readers and writers? How can a canon of contemporary Asian American literature be built if we cannot even find these 500?
Are there more than 500? I believe yes, absolutely.
But let's start somewhere.
You can check out our progress over the year at: