Saturday, February 09, 2013

Help Xieng Mieng reach 100 backers this weekend!

Happy Vietnamese / Chinese New Year! Welcome to their Year of the Snake. (And goodbye, Dragon. It was an amazing one!)

Award-winning artist Nor Sanavongsay's Xieng Mieng kickstarter is a success, fully funded in 72 hours.

Children born in the Year of the Snake are reputed to be particularly wise, insightful and clever, so for Xieng Mieng, "The Cleverest Man in the Kingdom," it's an apt year for his story to be published.

But now they're on the second and arguably most important phase: Getting all 500 copies of the run into good homes across the United States and around the globe. An amazing story shouldn't just sit in a warehouse. A good book should be read.

This weekend they'd like to get at least 100 backers for the project. Today, they're just 13 backers away from reaching THAT goal of 100, and any amount of support helps. Plus: $5 gets you an e-book edition, $15 gets you the e-book and hard copy, and more, well, gets you more.

With Week 1 done, this campaign set an incredible precedent for the community already, and there's so much potential for what it can mean for other Lao artists and writers. It's currently second only to the Luang Prabang Film Festival among Lao-centered Kickstarter campaigns so far, and still has 3 weeks to go.

This is an important project because it's helping our community to determine how we want to receive our reading material and how we will work within the publishing industry. Will we completely bypass mainstream and Asian American publishers who are afraid to take a risk on our community of 200,000+ in the US and make our own effective publishing and distribution networks?

From a social justice lens, this is an important issue: Are barriers reduced for smaller communities to have a voice in American and global arts and letters? How do we create a robust publishing environment that allows our communities to present our own stories in our own words on our own terms?

It's taken us over 14 years to get to this point for the Xieng Mieng story. How do we create a cultural setting where we can reduce the wait time between books, and develop as a community who can support many artists and voices preserving our heritage and expanding on it?

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