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

Woman. Warrior. Writer. Devi S. Laskar

Meet December’s Woman. Warrior. Writer. Devi S. Laskar!

How did you come to author your life?

I credit my stubborn streak. I’ve been writing for a very long time. In 2010, through no fault of my own, I lost the bulk of my work. I had to start over. Although many people discouraged me from pursuing a writing life (in light of the real world problems that plagued my family and me) a few encouraged me to keep going — including my family. I have built back my writing life word by word, determined that no one was going to make decisions for me ever again.

Devi S. Laskar is a poet, novelist, essayist, photographer, artist, former newspaper reporter and TarHeel basketball fan. She is the author of award-winning The Atlas of Reds and Blues. Her second novel, Circa was published by Mariner Books and selected as the June 2022 Goop Book Club pick (founded by Gwyneth Paltrow). Her third novel, MidnightAt The War will be published by Mariner in  2024. She holds degrees from Columbia University, University of Illinois and UNC-CH. A native of Chapel Hill, N.C., she now lives in California with her family. You can learn more at devislaskar.com and follow her on IG and Twitter: @devislaskar

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

Woman. Warrior. Writer. Sun Yung Shin

Meet November’s Woman. Warrior. Writer. Sun Yung Shin!

신 선 영 Sun Yung Shin was born in Seoul, Korea and was raised in the Chicago area. She is a poet, writer, and cultural worker. The author of six collections and children’s books and the editor of three anthologies, her most recent book is The Wet Hex (Coffee House Press). She lives in Minneapolis where she co-directs the community organization Poetry Asylum with poet Su Hwang. You can learn more at: www.sunyungshin.com

How did you come to author your life?

An important part of authoring my life began with writing poetry when I was 22 or 23. I had always had a strong sense of self as a child, and a sense of wonder at the presence of our inner lives. Until poetry, I didn’t have the best (for me) means to express my inner life and explore the conditions of my life, especially as a Korean American immigrant, very much an Other in American society, mostly surrounded by silence. Poetry is a needle piercing the fabric of silence, leaving a trail, leading with flashes of light. 

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

Woman. Warrior. Writer. Kate Murayama

Meet October’s Woman. Warrior. Writer. Kate Murayama!  Kate Maruyama’s novel, Harrowgate was published by 47North. Her novella Family Solstice named Best Fiction Book of 2021 by Rue Morgue Magazine is out from Omnium Gatherum. Her novella Halloween Beyond: The Gentleman’s Suit is out this October from Crystal Lake, and her literary novel Alterations is upcoming from Running Wild Press.

How did you come to author your life?

I have always written, from novel to screenplay to novel to stories to novels. But it seems every time I sit down to write, I’m writing toward the question of love in all its human varieties. The questions keep me going: What do we do when our beloved dies but doesn’t leave? How far will we go to keep them with us? (Harrowgate) How can ancestral greed come before familial love and what does a loving innocent child do, caught in the crosshairs? (Family Solstice) How do we make peace when a friend slips away? (Halloween Beyond) Alterations examines how going against love can have repercussions through three generations of a family. Lifelong friendship is the question my next work is pushing toward.

Kate Murayama’s website provides resources and articles on allyship, whiteness, and privilege.

This is an excellent resource and a solid demonstration of how we might try to share and learn from each other.  Intersectionality as put forth by scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw is a key to changing the lives of women as a collective.

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

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)

Categories
Reading Reading & Writing Woman Warrior Woman. Warrior. Writer.

Woman. Warrior. Writer. Toni Ann Johnson

For the final December 2021 Woman Warrior Writer I’m happy to present Toni Ann Johnson!
Johnson’s short fiction has appeared in The Emerson Review, Coachella Review, Hunger Mountain, Callaloo, and elsewhere. A novel, Remedy For a Broken Angel (2014) was nominated for a 2015 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work by a Debut Author. A novella, Homegoing (2021) won Accent Publishing’s inaugural novella contest. A short-story collection Light Skin Gone to Waste won the Flannery O’Connor Award and is forthcoming from The University of Georgia Press in 2022.
 
How did you come to author your life?
In 2007 I wanted to plant trees in my South LA neighborhood in front of a Ralphs Grocery where there was no green space.  A nonprofit was willing to cut the concrete, donate the trees, and plant them. All Ralphs would have to do was water them. They declined, disrespecting my community. I made it my mission to get those trees in the ground. I blogged, wrote letters, made a video, published an op-ed, and eventually, the trees were planted. Since then, when people won’t help me, I move them out of my way.
I want to add a little personal note here because I first met Toni Ann back in the early 1990s during the time when we were reading poetry in Los Angeles. We met through a mutual friend, Cecilia (Mamby) Hart, my neighbor and pal in Venice. It was a time of romance and creativity, uncertainty and change. There were a series of events that happened in my life: fired from a lead in a play, fired from my job working for a producer, fired from my job as a script analyst, left by my on again off again boyfriend. Dear Reader, this happened over the course of two weeks. I was depressed. I decided to take a plane home. Toni Ann told me this: if I wrote to her, she would write me back. She did. She also told me that accepting the ups and downs of what it means to be a creative person was also a part of the life of an artist. I hadn’t wanted to accept this. I learned to. I have always remembered this. Decades later we reconnected and here she is. She’s a person of kindness.
Thank you always Toni Ann for the ways that you inspire and lead through your words and actions!
Categories
Blog Educators Hawai'i Reading & Writing Teachers Woman Warrior Woman. Warrior. Writer.

Woman. Warrior. Writer. Darien Hsu Gee

November’s Woman Warrior is Darien Hsu Gee ! Darien is the author of five novels published by Penguin Random House that have been translated into eleven languages. She is also the recipient of an IPPY award for her collection of micro essays, Allegiance (2020); a Poetry Society of America’s Chapbook Fellowship for Other Small Histories (2019); and a Hawai‘i Book Publishers’ Ka Palapala Poʻokela Award of Excellence for Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir (2015). She lives with her family on the Island of Hawai‘i and serves as series editor for Haliʻa Aloha, a micro memoir writing and hybrid publishing program.
How did you come to author your life?
I’ve never been good at listening to other people. I’ve had cheerleaders and naysayers, not to mention my own nagging doubt and self-sabotage, but I’ve always managed to right the ship and get back on course. It hasn’t been easy, but a writer’s life isn’t easy. I know the risks and sacrifices. I’ve worked hard, I’ve been lucky, I have some regrets. It’s in my bones. I’m willing to own it all, even when it’s hard or seemingly impossible.