2022-23 Hugo Fellows Final Reading
The 2022-2023 Hugo House Fellows invite you to celebrate the success of their fellowships with a grand finale showcase! Join us for happy hour after the reading for mixing and mingling with our Fellows and community.
The Fellows will read from the projects they’ve been working on during their Hugo Fellowships, our incubator program that nurtures and provides support to local emerging writers. Hear work from Lili Gu, Ari Laurel, Magda Manning, Nancy Mburu, Meera Vijayann, and James Washburn. Hosted by our Writers-in-Residence Ching-In Chen and Joyce Chen, who served as mentors for this class of Fellows.
You can read more about the 2022–23 Hugo Fellows and their projects here.
The House bar will be open to serve alcoholic and NA beverages.
Descended from ocean dwellers, Ching-In Chen is a genderqueer Chinese American writer, community organizer and teacher. They are author of The Heart's Traffic: a novel in poems (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press, 2009) and recombinant (Kelsey Street Press, 2018 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry winner) as well as chapbooks to make black paper sing (speCt! Books) and Kundiman for Kin :: Information Retrieval for Monsters (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, Leslie Scalapino Finalist). Chen is co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities (South End Press, 1st edition; AK Press, 2nd edition) and Here Is a Pen: an Anthology of West Coast Kundiman Poets (Achiote Press). They have received fellowships from Kundiman, Lambda, Watering Hole, Can Serrat, Imagining America, Jack Straw Cultural Center and the Intercultural Leadership Institute as well as the Judith A. Markowitz Award for Exceptional New LGBTQ Writers. A community organizer, they have worked in Asian American communities in San Francisco, Oakland, Riverside, Boston, Milwaukee, Houston and Seattle and are currently a core member of the Massage Parlor Outreach Project. They currently teach at University of Washington Bothell in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and the MFA program in Creative Writing and Poetics. www.chinginchen.com
Joyce Chen is a writer, editor, and community builder who draws inspiration from many coastal cities. She has covered entertainment and human interest stories for Rolling Stone, Architectural Digest, Elle, Refinery29, the New York Daily News, and People, among others, and her creative writing credits include Poets & Writers, Lit Hub, Narratively, and Slant’d, among others. She has contributed op-eds to Paste magazine, and writes book reviews for Orion and Hyphen magazines. In 2022, she co-edited the anthology Uncertain Girls in Uncertain Times, a collection of poetry paired with essays and life lessons. She is a proud VONA alum and was a 2019-2020 Hugo House fellow. She is also the executive director of The Seventh Wave, an arts and literary nonprofit that champions art in the space of social issues.
Meera Vijayann is a writer and essayist based in Kirkland, Washington. As a writer who lives with a chronic illness, she is drawn to social invisibility within South Asian diasporic cultures, and the influence of mayam, the Tamil word for illusion. Her writing is shaped by the decade she spent as a development professional and journalist reporting on sexual violence in India and has appeared in Catapult, Entropy, Electric Literature, and The Guardian, among others. Her essay about how immigration laws separated her from her family won the Medium Writer’s Challenge Finalist Prize in 2021. Through her fiction, she hopes to gently peel away the nostalgia that pervades South Asian literature and dive into gaps in collective memory. She is currently working on her debut novel, which explores how the falsehoods perpetuated by America’s H1B work visa program affect two young Tamil immigrants.
James T. Washburn (he/him) is a gay, trans, and disabled Storyteller-Activist based in Seattle. His work is deeply inspired by his community and experiences at the intersection of marginalized identities. He takes inspiration from folklore, mythology, and queer history; his work focuses on discovering queerness in traditional stories and reimagining familiar tropes and archetypes through a queer lens. James' works span from immersive novellas to chamber operas and physical theatre, and he is the Founding Artistic Director of Magpie Artists' Ensemble, a multidisciplinary queer collective. He is joined for this reading by local performers Jasmine Flora (she/her) and Michelle Marais (she/they).
Magda Manning is a queer trans writer, artist, and educator from Taos, New Mexico. They received their MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in 2019, and are a current Hugo House Fellow (2022-2023). For Magda, writing is a process of self-making, a way of engaging with/in community, and a powerful practice of embodiment for all people, young and old. They are in a two-person cribbage league with their mom, and live in Seattle with their partner.
In her writing, Nancy Mburu amplifies the experiences and stories of East African immigrants in an authentic way that also encompasses the complex relationship with culture, traditions, language, gender dynamics, and race as black diasporans. Nancy incorporates her native language, Swahili, rooting her stories in its cultural and political context which continues to influence her, and how she interacts with different tribes and countries herein the diaspora. As a poet, she continues to be a voice that speaks up against injustice by drawing attention to incidences of hypocrisy and inequality regardless of who commits them or how uncomfortable the topic is. Nancy's purpose is to tell her story as a Kenyan African and immigrant through her own lens, to help others understand her culture's experience while striving for social justice.
Ari Laurel is a fiction writer in Seattle who writes about decolonial futures, climate, and the Pacific Northwest. She primarily draws from her experience as a racial justice community organizer in Missoula and a labor organizer in Seattle. Her stories are politically motivated, reflecting a strong current of international solidarity, food sovereignty, land return, and ecological restoration. She is a 2022 Hugo House fellow, a 2022 Fernland Studios artist in residence, and a 2023 June Dodge fellow at the Mineral School.
Her work has appeared in Ninth Letter, Passages North, Blue Mesa Review, The Conium Review, The Toast, Duende, and more. Her short story “Farewell Address to the Last Mango in the Pacific Northwest” won first place in Blue Mesa Review’s 2021 Summer Fiction contest. This story is currently part of a larger project.
Lili Gu is a poet and filmmaker passionate about exploring justice, liberation, and the human condition through storytelling. She studied poetry while in engineering school at Columbia University and went on to receive her MFA in Film Production and Directing from UCLA. Her work has received numerous accolades, screening internationally and on television networks such as PBS. This will be Lili’s return to poetry. Her writing works to uncover language away from the white gaze, speaking truth to power on themes of Chinese American assimilation, queerness, and intergenerational strength. She makes art as an act of love—toward visions of an imagined future in which all humans can not just survive, but thrive.