49 Words I Wish I Could Write In My Family’s Language
Join Hugo House in welcoming six writers who have written and translated pieces into a chosen language for a multilingual reading leaning into the things we wish we could say. For each of these artists, language and translation means something different—specific, dangerous, beautiful, hopeful, or de/constructive. In the crossing, they hope to find something.
Featured readers are Naa Akua (via pre-recorded video), Jordan Alam, Brian Dang, Anis, Jéhan Òsanyìn, Bel-Quiaoit Quarless, and Arianne True.
“Look at your words in a mirror. Translate, translate! Did you? Do it again, do it!” – Don Mee Choi, DMZ Colony.
This project co-sponsored by the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and was supported, in part, by a grant from 4Culture.
This event will require attendees to show proof of COVID vaccination. Thank you for helping us keep our partners, performers, and community safe!
Bel-Quiaoit Quarless is inclined to break through western ideals of art and transform it into its beginning form: art for human’s sake. Peddling poems and novellas from underneath a secret burrow, their sublimity concerns the dark corners of human existence, in an erotic, dismal, pathetic rain-mundane way. They invite you to break apart their work and toss a follow to their instagram @kaocountry.
Anis is your hot gay dad. According to their titas, they are and always have been masyadong suplada, masungit, walang hiya. They write about surviving sexual violence, which is to say, they write about returning to trust. They are disliked, disbelieved, and less and less afraid. Follow their instagram attempts @artista_anisgisele.
Jéhan Òsanyìn (they/them) is a somatic abolitionist and futurist facilitator who is also an Equity actor and Gregory Award nominated playwright. They studied theatre in Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Brazil and Venezuela. Jéhan produces their art through their experimental experiential art studio, earthseed, where studio research and performance explores the stories our bodies tell with and without our consent. Earthseed offers individual coaching, workshops, and lots of opportunities to investigate racialized identity development through experiential education and liberation.
Naa Akua, is a New York-born poet, actor, educator, and sound-word practitioner who is Ghanaian/Bajan and queer. Akua uses the vibratory energy of sound and the intent of words as a vehicle towards healing. Akua, former 2019 Citizen University Poet-in-Residence is a Writers in the Schools (Seattle Arts & Lectures) Writer-in-Residence at Franklin High School, Hugo House teacher, and Young Women Empowered (Y-WE) youth facilitator. www.naaakua.com
Brian Dang (they/them) is a Vietnamese/Chinese playwright, poet, and mentor based in Duwamish Territory (Seattle). Brian is a proud resident playwright at Parley. For Brian, playwriting is an act of envisioning an eventual communing and an opportunity to freeze time as we know it. Their writing has been workshopped with Seattle Opera, Pork Filled Productions, Karen’s Secret Army, Theatre Battery, and the Undergraduate Theater Society. Brian was a 2020-21 Hugo House Fellow and their play h*llo k*tty syndrome was supported by 4Culture and Seattle Office of Arts and Culture. Brian is also an arts administrator, serving as the Literary Manager of Washington Ensemble Theatre. They’re grateful for having somehow convinced the world they can read and write.
Arianne True (Choctaw, Chickasaw) is a queer poet and folk artist from Seattle. She teaches and mentors youth poets around the Salish Sea and moonlights as a copyeditor. Arianne has received fellowships from Jack Straw, Hugo House, Artist Trust, and others. She is a proud alum of Hedgebrook and of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She was also Seattle Rep’s inaugural Native Artist-in-Residence, where she created and exhibited an immersive multimedia poetry installation. You can find more of her work collected online at ariannetrue.com.
Jordan Alam is a queer Bangladeshi American writer, performer, therapist, and former doula (forever #birthnerd). Their short stories and articles have been published in The Atlantic, SeattleMet, Autostraddle, CultureStrike Magazine, Entropy, and The Rumpus among others. They have performed on stage and facilitated workshops on embodied writing nationwide, most recently at Kundiman, Hugo House, and Town Hall Seattle. They are currently working on a debut novel about family secrets told from the points of view of four Bangladeshi American women in the aftermath of their mother's unexpected death. You can follow them on Instagram at @jordan_alam or find out more about their work at jordanalam.com.