Akhil Sharma to feature in Asian American Literature Festival in Washington, DC

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WASHINGTON, DC – The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, the Library of Congress, the Phillips Collection and Dupont Underground will host the Asian American Literature Festival from July 27–29.

Featuring more than 50 prominent Asian American poets, writers, literary scholars, graphic novelists, spoken-word artists and children’s literature authors, including the Indian American novelist Akhil Sharma the festival will present an array of live performances, mentoring sessions and interactive workshops.

The event will take place at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery July 27 from 11:30 a.m. to7 p.m.; at the Phillips Collection July 28 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; at Dupont Underground July 28 from 6 p.m. to11 p.m.; and at the Library of Congress July 29 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“Asian American literature has always been a crucial space for writing hidden histories and building new communities,” said Lisa Sasaki, director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, in a statement. “This festival is a chance to honor Asian American writing and writers and grow the next generation of literary trailblazers.”

Highlights of the literary festival:

  • A two-day long participatory reading of Carlos Bulosan’s seminal 1946 novel America Is In the Heart
  • An animated adaptation of a chapter from Viet Thanh Nguyen’s forthcoming novel The Committed (sequel to Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer) by artist Matt Huynh
  • National Book Award finalist Karen Tei Yamashita and Kimiko Hahn, president of the Poetry Society of America, will give intimate lectures on their personal journeys through Asian American literary history
  • LITERAOKE, a fun combination of literary reading and karaoke, with performances by Franny Choi, Tarfia Faizullah, Ed Lin and local Washington, D.C. poet Regie Cabico
  • Writer-scholar round-robin session for exchanging writing and scholarly interests and building new networks
  • The Asian American Literature Donation Project, which will provide donated works of Asian American literature to local spaces of need

Held in partnership with the Poetry Foundation, the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center, Dupont Underground, the Phillips Collection, the Association for Asian American Studies, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and a host of Asian American arts organizations, this three-day event is the first national festival of its kind.

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