Salvadoran American author ROBERTO LOVATO’s memoir Unforgetting which includes the astonishing, beautiful story of his recently-deceased father, Ramon, just made the 2022 shortlist of the prestigious William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Deemed “Groundbreaking” by the New York Times, Unforgetting is an urgent, no-holds-barred tale of gang life, guerrilla warfare, intergenerational trauma, and interconnected violence between the United States and El Salvador. Lovato’s memoir excavates family history and reveals the intimate stories beneath headlines about gang violence and mass Central American migration, one of the most important, yet least-understood humanitarian crises of our time—and one in which the perspectives of Central Americans in the United States have been silenced and forgotten. Lovato is co-founder and 2022 Advisory Board member of Rooted & Written.
Japanese American author SUSAN ITO’s memoir of essays will be published by the Ohio State University Press in 2023. She co-edited the literary anthology A Ghost At Heart’s Edge: Stories & Poems of Adoption (North Atlantic Books) and is a creative nonfiction co-editor at Literary Mama. Her work has appeared in Hip Mama, CHOICE, Growing Up Asian American, The Bellevue Literary Review, Making More Waves, the Kartika Review and elsewhere. She is a Professor in the Ethnic Studies Program at Mills College and in the Creative Nonfiction MFA program at Bay Path University. Ito is co-founder and 2022 Advisory Board member of Rooted & Written.
Burmese American poet MAW SHEIN WIN's most recent full-length collection is Storage Unit for the Spirit House (Omnidawn, 2020) which was nominated for the Northern California Book Award in Poetry, longlisted for the PEN America Open Book Award, and shortlisted for the California Independent Booksellers Alliance's Golden Poppy Award for Poetry. Win's previous collections include Invisible Gifts (Manic D Press); her chapbooks include Ruins of a glittering palace (SPA) and Score and Bone (Nomadic Press). She is the inaugural poet laureate of El Cerrito (2016-2018) and often collaborates with visual artists, musicians, and writers. Win is a 2022 Advisory Board member of Rooted & Written. mawsheinwin.com
Cuban American writer JESUS SIERRA completed a collection of short stories set in Havana during the first ten years of the Revolution and in the Cuban diaspora in San Francisco. His work has appeared in Zyzzyva, The Acentos Review, Caribbean Writer, Lunch Ticket and in the anthology Endangered Species, Enduring Values. Sierra is a co-founder and 2022 Advisory Board member of Rooted & Written.
Black author FAITH ADIELE was a co-writer of the HBO Series World of Calm. Each episode of a World of Calm is designed to transform your feelings through enchanting music, scientifically engineered narratives, and astounding footage. Join the immersive visual journey to naturally calm the body and soothe the mid. Narrated by Mahershala Ali, Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz, Lucy Liu, Cillian Murphy, Keanu Reeves, and Kate Winslet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uruYyBjtq0Q Adiele is a 2022 Advisory Board member of Rooted & Written.
Indian American filmmaker and writer SAILA KARIAT wrote the screenplay for and created the film The Valley, which was in over twenty film festivals and won best feature film in five festivals. Saila has written two other screenplays, Gods and Demons and Love in the Time of Corona. She is developing another script, I Was Never Awake, about a middle aged woman dealing with regret and loneliness, who finds a path out of her despair. Kariat is a 2022 Advisory Board member of Rooted & Written.
Filipino American author DOMINIC LIM (a Rooted & Written Fellow) recently sold his first novel (and a 2nd book) which will be published by Forever/Grand Central Publishing/Hachette in the summer of 2023. Lim remarked, “Both are rom-coms starring queer Asian men falling in love with other Asian men and both have happy endings. You'd be surprised how rare that it is. I'm so fricking excited to be able to finally share these stories with people. . . Thank you to the agent search group, the novelists group, my fellow Fellows, and to all of the Grotto members I've had the honor to meet so far. I'm daily inspired by what you all bring to the world and I'm incredibly lucky to be a part of this wonderful community!” Lim also co-hosts the long-running Babylon Salon reading and performance series in San Francisco. Lim is Program Support and a past Fellow/alum of Rooted & Written.
Chinese American author RITA CHANG-EPPIG’s short story was selected for the 2022 Best American Short Stories, and her novel about the infamous Chinese pirate queen Shek Yeung will be published in 2023 by Bloomsbury. (It will feature ruthless women! Sword fights! Chinese mythology and fortune-telling!) Chang-Eppig remarked, “I applied to the Grotto fellowship with the first pages of this novel and then wrote at least two-thirds of it during my Grotto fellowship year, so thank you for your faith in the book.” https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/book-deals/article/88193-book-deals-week-of-january-3-2022.html Chang-Eppig is a past Fellow/alum of Rooted & Written.
Chinese American author JENNY QI (a Rooted & Written Fellow) was the 2020 Poetry Winner of the Steel Toe Competition and her book of poetry, Focal Point, was published in 2021. Qi also recently published a poem "Postcards from the Living" in The Atlantic. A link to Qi’s poem is here: https://www.theatlantic.com/books/archive/2021/08/poem-jenny-qi-postcards-living/619762/ Qi is a past Fellow/alum of Rooted & Written.
Black author LISA GRAY, was appointed the Executive Director for the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA), the foremost multi-genre writing program for writers of color. The press release stated, “After a nationwide search, the board chose Gray based on her deep experience leading social justice and equity-centered organizations to stability so they can flourish. Gray combines a love of literature with 30 years of experience working with communities and nonprofit organizations to create and access opportunities for people of color. A VONA alumna, she understands the needs of writers of color, and she knows what it takes to lead organizations to success.” Gray also won an Edgar Award for her short story "The Queen of Secrets" in the anthology New Haven Noir. Gray is Program Support for Rooted & Written.
Chinese American author VANESSA HUA is an award-winning, best-selling author and columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her novel, A River of Stars, was named to the Washington Post and NPR’s Best Books of 2018 lists, and has been called a "marvel" by O, The Oprah Magazine, and "delightful" by The Economist. Her short story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities, a New York Times Editors' Choice, received an Asian/Pacific American Award in Literature and was a finalist for a California Book Award, and a New American Voices Award. Her forthcoming novel, Forbidden City, was called “magnificent” by Publisher’s Weekly, and will be published on May 10, 2022. Hua is Program Support for Rooted & Written.
Taiwanese American author GRACE LOH PRASAD is the author of The Translator’s Daughter, a memoir about navigating linguistic, cultural, political, and generational barriers as a Taiwanese American immigrant trying to build a connection with her birthplace. Prasad's writing has been published in The New York Times, Longreads, Artsy, Hyperallergic, Catapult, Jellyfish Review, Ninth Letter, Blood Orange Review, XRAY Literary Magazine, The Manifest-Station, Barren Magazine, KHÔRA, and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. She is a contributor to the anthologies Six Words Fresh Off the Boat: Stories of Immigration, Identity and Coming to America; Ms. Aligned 3; and Chrysanthemum: Voices of the Taiwanese Diaspora, Vol. II, and the editor of Citizenship And Its Discontents, a folio of BIPOC writers in ANOMALY. She recently published an essay in the New York Times about making origami cranes with her son during the pandemic, and how art and rituals help us make sense of traumatic and stressful times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/26/style/pandemic-origami-cranes.html Prasad is Program Support for Rooted & Written.
Indian American author and journalist JAYA PADMANABHAN is a columnist at the San Francisco Standard, a consultant at Ethnic Media Services, and a contributor to India Currents, Elemental, The Bold Italic, Next Avenue, Forbes among others. Padmanabhan previously was the editor of India Currents from 2012 to 2016, and achieved 20 awards for her editorials and editorial leadership. Jaya is the author of Transactions of Belonging—a collection of short stories published in April 2014. Padmanabhan is Program Support for Rooted & Written.
Ethiopian American author MERON HADERO won the 2021 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story "The Street Sweep," first published in Zyzzyva. She also appeared on the latest episode of the BBC's The Cultural Frontline: Literature in Lockdown: Meron Hadero and Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones).
Black author TONYA M. FOSTER was awarded a Harvard Radcliffe Fellowship and was named the George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in the Creative Writing department of San Francisco State University. Foster is the author of A Swarm of Bees in High Court, and the bilingual chapbook La Grammaire des Os; A History of the Bitch (Sputnik and Fizzle, forthcoming 2020); and co-editor of Third Mind: Creative Writing through Visual Art. Her writing and research focus on ideas of place and emplacement, and on intersections between the visual and the written. She is an editor at Fence Magazine and at The African-American Review. Her poetry, prose, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Callaloo, Tripwire, boundary2, MiPOESIAS, NYFA Arts Quarterly, the Poetry Project Newsletter, and elsewhere. Foster is a recipient of awards and fellowships from the Ford and the Mellon Foundations, from New York Foundation for the Arts; and has been an Artist-in-Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts and at the Macdowell colony. Her recent collections are a double-sided cross-genre collection on New Orleans—A Mathematics of Chaos ::Thingification (Ugly Presse 2021); and Monkey Talk, a cross-genre series about race, paranoia, aesthetics, and surveillance, the development of which is supported by a 2020 grant from the Creative Capital Foundation.
Chinese American author BONNIE TSUI’s novel, Why We Swim was named One of TIME Magazine’s Must-Read Books of 2020, an NPR Best Book of the Year, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, a Los Angeles Times Book Club pick, an Atlas Obscura/Literati Book Club pick, a Bloomberg Best Nonfiction Book of the Year, a Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, an Amazon Editor’s Pick for Best Nonfiction, and a Best Book of the Season by the San Francisco Chronicle, Outside, Oprah, BuzzFeed, and Bustle magazines.
Multi-ethnic and Hispanic author MARIE BACA recently signed a contract with Chelsey Heller of Aevitas Creative Management to represent her nonfiction book about quotable (and often questionable!) parenting advice from the past 150 years. Baca is a journalist, essayist and humor writer whose bylines have appeared in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Columbia Journalism Review and Albuquerque Journal, among other publications.
Brazilian American screenwriter, producer and filmmaker XANDRA CASTLETON's scripts have served as the basis for an award-winning documentary and television and narrative film projects, among them an Emmy Award-winning profile of John Waters. Her films have premiered at festivals such as Sundance, Tribeca, AFI, and Rotterdam, while her feature dramatic comedy, Full Grown Men, was the winner of the 2007 Sundance Channel Audience Award prior to a critically successful theatrical release by Emerging Pictures. Xandra was the co-creator and writer of the scripted television documentary Stand Up Planet, starring Hasan Minhaj of The Daily Show.
Chinese American writer IRVING RUAN was named by Paste Magazine as one of the best humorists writing today, Irving is a contributing writer for The New Yorker magazine. His writing has appeared in McSweeney's Quarterly, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Funny Or Die, CollegeHumor, Hyphen Magazine, The Bold Italic, and elsewhere. His work has been included in The New Yorker’s best Shouts & Murmurs of 2019, 2020, and 2021.
Indian American author SHANTI SEKARAN’s novel The Samosa Rebellion made the California Independent Booksellers Alliance Golden Poppy Awards Long List 2021. Sekaran also authored The Prayer Room and Lucky Boy. She is an Adjunct Professor at the California College of Arts and St. Mary's College of California, where she teaches creative writing.
Black author NATALIE BASZILE’s novel We Are Each Other’s Harvest made the California Independent Booksellers Alliance Golden Poppy Awards Long List 2021. Baszile’s earlier novel Queen Sugar has been made into a dramatic television series, produced for OWN by Warner Horizon Television.
Asian American author, filmmaker and artist JD BELTRAN has written columns for SFGate.com, the Huffington Post, Fabrik Magazine and Visual Arts Source, and is on the San Francisco Arts Commission, where she served as President for 8 years. Her award-winning films and artworks have been exhibited and screened worldwide, including at the SFMOMA, the Walker Art Center, The Getty Center, the MIT Media Lab, and the International Film Festival Rotterdam. She also is the Founder and Director of the Center for Creative Sustainability in San Francisco.
Pashtun American writer/poet, SABINA KHAN-IBARRA is currently working on completing her chapbook, new vocabulary, and her novel, The Poppy Flower. Her poetry, short stories and short creative nonfictions have been published in various journals and anthologies, including Non-White and Women, Taboos and Transgressions, both published within the past two years. She worked as a Communications Director at MuslimARC (Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative) for ten years and is still a member. She lives in Half Moon Bay, California with her husband, two children and two cats.