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Woman. Warrior. Writer. Natashia Deón

Meet September’s Woman Warrior Writer Natashia Deón!

Natashia Deón is a two-time NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literature, a practicing criminal attorney, and author of the critically acclaimed and widely-reviewed novels, The Perishing and GRACE, named a Best Book by The New York Times and awarded Best Debut Novel by the American Library Association’s Black Caucus. A PEN America Fellow, Deón has also been awarded fellowships and residencies at Prague’s Creative Writing Program, Dickinson House in Belgium, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Professor of creative writing at Yale, UCLA, and Antioch University, her essays have been featured in The New York Times, Harper’s, The Los Angeles Times, Buzzfeed and other places. Deón founded REDEEMED, a criminal record clearing and clemency project that pairs professional writers and lawyers with those who have been convicted of crimes.

How did you come to author your life?

I came to author my life first as a lawyer and then again as a PEN America Fellow while I was completing my first novel GRACE. As a Fellow, I began teaching creative writing for 826LA and in high schools throughout Los Angeles. That fellowship changed the course of my life immeasurably.

Follow Natashia’s links & socials for updates on her writing, activism and life!  www.natashiadeon.com@natashiadeon (IG, Twitter, FB)

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Blog Educators Reading & Writing Teachers Woman. Warrior. Writer.

Woman. Warrior. Writer. Marie Myung-Ok Lee

Meet August’s Woman.Warrior. Writer. Marie Myung-Ok Lee!

Marie Myung-Ok Lee is an acclaimed Korean-American author of Somebody’s Daughter and The Evening Hero—a novel that focuses on the future of medicine, immigration, and North Korea. Lee has widely published across news outlets, won fellowships to Yaddo/Macdowell, is a founder of the Asian American Writer’s Workshop, and teaches at Columbia University.

How did you come to author your life?

Even while growing up in a Christian household in an all-white rural area I knew I was Buddhist-leaning non Christian at age 9, about the same time I declared I was going to be a writer for a living.  At 9, I started meditating even though I didn’t have the words for what I was doing. But I just knew doing both writing and meditating every day would lead to…something. Also, parenting my intellectually disabled, medically fragile son for 20+ years, I just show up for him, including for all the disasters and emergencies, Interestingly he has started communicating–at the same time my 18-years-in-the-making novel is finally coming out. You can’t do everything in a day, but you can commit to doing what ever “it” is, daily, like writing, parenting, being present. 

About The Evening Hero as a Buzz PICK Good Morning America Book Club selection Marie Lee says: “I think this is a good illustration go what doing something every day, even without promise of reward, can do.”

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Blog Educators Poetry Reading & Writing Teachers Woman. Warrior. Writer.

Woman. Warrior. Writer. Lisa Kwong

Meet July’s Woman. Warrior. Writer. Lisa Kwong!

A native of Radford, Virginia, Lisa Kwong is AppalAsian, a member of the Affrilachian Poets, and the author of Becoming AppalAsian(Glass Lyre Press). Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets, A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia, Anthology of Appalachian Writers, and other publications. She teaches at Indiana University and Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, Indiana.

To preview Kwong’s poems, check out these links:

http://www.stilljournal.net/lisa-kwong-poetry.php

http://www.stilljournal.net/lisa-kwong-poetry2021.php

How did you come to author your life?

I belong to many different communities; I also don’t belong anywhere sometimes. I’ve been the daughter of laborers in a room of professors’ and doctors’ kids or the “fat” one in a group of petite Asian women. I know the pain of being unseen, unheard, and misunderstood.

Through writing, I want to honor my family, to make sense of being an Asian from Appalachia, to celebrate, to mourn, to heal. I hope that my work can inspire others to be proud of who they are and where they come from. Writing gave me a voice when I didn’t have one. I hope it can help others to speak up for themselves, too.

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Educators Reading & Writing Woman. Warrior. Writer.

Woman. Warrior. Writer. Vanessa Hua

 

Meet May’s Woman Warrior Writer Vanessa Hua, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and author of A River of StarsDeceit and Other Possibilities, and Forbidden City. A National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow, she has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, a Steinbeck Fellowship and honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists’ Association. A Bay Area native, she teaches at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. www.vanessahua.com 

How did you come to author your life?

Years ago, on a reporting fellowship in South Korea, I told another journalist that I’d always wanted to write a book. She looked at me and said, “Well, then, write a book!” Dinnertime small talk, but her words resonated with me. I realized that if I truly wanted to achieve this goal, I needed to make it a priority. Writing in the mornings before work and at lunch and on weekends wasn’t enough; I needed to center my writing, to put the best part of myself in it even as I juggled other commitments.

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Blog Educators Reading Reading & Writing Teachers Woman. Warrior. Writer.

Woman. Warrior. Writer. Artress Bethany White

Meet April’s Woman Warrior Writer Artress Bethany White, a poet, essayist, and literary critic. She is the recipient of the Trio Award for her poetry collection My Afmerica (Trio House Press, 2019) and author of Survivor’s Guilt: Essays on Race and American Identity (New Rivers Press, 2020). She is associate professor of English at East Stroudsburg University and teaches poetry and nonfiction workshops for Rosemont College Summer Writer’s Retreat in Pennsylvania.

How did you come to author your life?

I came to author my life when I accepted my first university teaching position. I was already living in New York and describing myself as a writer. I was working as a coordinator for New York University’s executive MBA program and I was earning a livable wage. Then someone approached me about a teaching job at Long Island University. Intuitively, I knew that this was going to be a game-changer for me, and it was. That first job propelled me into completing a master’s degree and a Ph.D., and became the perfect career companion to my life as a writer. I love what I do!

 

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Educators Hawai'i Poetry Reading & Writing Teachers Woman. Warrior. Writer.

Woman. Warrior. Writer. Debra Kang Dean

 

Meet March’s Woman Warrior Writer Debra Kang Dean! Debra Kang Dean is the author of two prize-winning chapbooks and three full-length books of poetry. Totem: America, her most recent book, was shortlisted for the 2020 Indiana Authors Award in Poetry. Long engaged with taijiquan, she is on the poetry faculty of the Sena Naslund-Karen Mann School of Writing.

 How did you come to author your life?

Although the words “woman,” “warrior,” and “writer” separately apply to different facets of my being, it might be truer to say that life keeps authoring me—not as subject but in terms of the kind of writer I am. Widowed at fifty, I find those words rearranging themselves, each taking its turn as a verb. I have never forgotten reading how some post-menopausal women became ambiguous figures in one tribal society and so were able to move in the spaces between conventional boundaries—not an especially good fit for our very gendered, youth-oriented culture, but one that has helped me to keep the self that creates intact and persist through changing inner and outer weather. The struggle is real, but remember: This work is no small thing.