Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Countdown to Lao American Writers Summit 2017: Seattle!

In less than half a year, we'll be convening the next Lao American Writers Summit in Seattle. We've come a long way since 2010, when we still had people telling us it couldn't be done after everything. There's still a long way to go, but we're building something to remember.

The Fourth National Lao American Writer’s Summit will mentor and support the first and emerging generation of Lao American writers. Held in Seattle Washington, during the Summit, nationally-renowned Laotian American writers will conduct workshops with participants. Attendance has previously ranged from 100 to 450 people throughout the weekend.

The lead organizer for the upcoming Lao American Writers Summit will be the Pom Foundation. They will need donations and sponsorship from the community to continue their goal of preserving, promoting, and educating about Lao culture and arts. The Pom Foundation is well-known for their programming skills such as the popular Kinnaly Music and Dance Classes, Lao Cultural Exchange Program, Lao Summer Camp, and FORTE: Summer Camp Talent Show. I have absolute confidence in their ability to bring together a memorable gathering, but they'll also need your help as volunteers and donors.

Washington has close to 11,568 Laotians and over 2,000 Hmong, making it one of the largest Lao communities in the US. Previously, the National Lao American Writers Summit has been convened in Minneapolis, Minnesota and San Diego, California, with representation from 23+ states.

We've come a long way from the very first Lao American Writers Summit at the Open Book and Loft Literary Center in Minnesota. The Lao Arts have continued to expand and flourish. Among the things we'll be celebrating is the formation of Pom Foundation. We'll be introducing it to the national community at large, and seeing where they will need support in the years ahead. 2017 is the 10th anniversary of my first full-length book, On the Other Side Of The Eye, and part of my first year as President of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Catzie Vilayphonh will be releasing her debut book of poetry in 2017. It should be ready then for a book release party, as should Nor Sanavongsay's Xieng Mieng sequel. Saymoukda Vongsay is a new VERVE Spoken Word Grant recipient in addition to her recent work with the Smithsonian. Seattle holds a special place in the world of Lao Arts and Letters in Diaspora because in 1999 the late Outhine Bounyavong's collection Phaeng Mae: Mother's Beloved was published by University of Washington Press, thanks to a translation by Bounheng Inversin and Daniel Duffy. I hope you'll join us for this and so much more.

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