© 2016 Karissa Chen all rights reserved.

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listens to while writing.

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February 18

2015

[ on representation]

One of my biggest struggles in my writing life has been coming to terms with where I fit in "Asian American literature." For a long time, I didn't want to be categorized as writing Asian American literature, because I thought that term was reserved for the Amy Tan variety of stories. I wanted to have the freedom to write outside of boxes. It's taken several years for me to realize that this was an unhealthy way of thinking -- that this allowed others to put me in a box rather than for me to seize control and agency of how I think of my own writing. Still, race and representation is unavoidable in today's society, and especially as an editor for an Asian American magazine, I think about it a lot.

 

Nicole Callahan over at The Toast was kind enough to ask me to partcipate in a roundtable discussion with three other Asian American emerging female writers -- Cathy Linh Che, Christine Hyung-Oak Lee, and Ari Laurel. We discussed representation, childhood influences and more in this conversation. It's a conversation I've been waiting my whole life to have, and one that I wish existed for me to read when I was a younger reader and writer. I don't pretend to have all the answers -- I still struggle sometimes with my own anxieties in regard to my responsibility towards my community in my writing -- but it's conversations like these that help me broaden my thinking, and at the very least, help me realize I'm not alone in this game.

 

Please read this conversation here!

 

 

 

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