WeHo Reads: Asian Pacific Diaspora Talk Story

Wednesday, May 8, 2024 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. PT

Hear from a panel of poets and writers as they share their stories and discuss what it means to be Asian American during AAPI Heritage Month

Wednesday, May 8, 2024 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

6:30 reception, 7 pm start, 8:30 end

West Hollywood Library Community Room, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.

RSVP on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/weho-reads-asian-pacific-diaspora-talk-story-tickets-780523214947?aff=bookswellweb

Hear from a panel of poets and writers during Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month as they share their stories, connect across the diaspora, and discuss what it means to be from the Asian-Pacific diaspora. Musical guest Jett Kwong opens this event by celebrating the panel of Asian/Pacific American authors, including Ryka Aoki, Curtis Chin, Jasmin Iolani Hakes, Angela Peñaredondo, and Fariha Róisín, and hosted by West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Jen Cheng.

This event is open to the public and free to attend; RSVPs are requested at www.weho.org/wehoreads.

WeHo Reads is a literary series presented by the City of West Hollywood. More information and events at www.weho.org/wehoreads. BookSwell, a literary events and media company dedicated to lifting up writers from historically excluded communities, is producing the WeHo Reads 2023 season. Additional support is provided by UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and Poets & Writers, as well as media partnerships with Book Soup and the Los Angeles Review of Books.


Ryka Aoki

Ryka Aoki is a poet, composer, teacher, and novelist. Her latest novel, Light From Uncommon Stars (Tor 2021) was awarded the 2022 Alex and Otherwise Awards, and was a finalist for the 2022 Hugo, Locus, and Ignyte Awards. She is the 2023 recipient of Lambda Literary’s Jim Duggins Award for Outstanding LGTBQ Mid-Career Novelist. Ryka has been honored by the California State Senate for “extraordinary commitment to the visibility and well-being of Transgender people.” She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University and is professor of English at Santa Monica College.

For more info, visit www.rykaryka.com.

Jen Cheng

Jen Cheng is the Fifth West Hollywood City Poet Laureate, the author of Braided Spaces, and a multidisciplinary storyteller who amplifies under-represented voices. Jen is the founder of Palabras Literary Salon, celebrating BIPOC poets and writers, and a 2023 California Arts Council Fellow. Jen blends East-West cultural influences in a new form, Feng Shui Poetry. With stories for tween audiences, mystery detective fans, and queer love, Jen is a cross-pollinator. She is a filmmaker with a documentary project celebrating LGBTQ Elders.

She can be found on Twitter/IG @JenCvoice or her website: www.JenCvoice.com

Curtis Chin

A co-founder of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in New York City, Curtis Chin served as the non-profits’ first Executive Director. He went on to write for network and cable television before transitioning to social justice documentaries. Chin has screened his films at over 600 venues in sixteen countries. He has written for CNN, Bon Appetit, the Detroit Free Press, and the Emancipator/Boston Globe. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Chin has received awards from ABC/Disney Television, New York Foundation for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and more. His memoir, Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant was published by Little, Brown in Fall 2023. His essay in Bon Appetit was just selected for Best Food Writing in America 2023 and he just produced an episode of America’s Test Kitchen’s podcast, Proof.

For more info, visit http://curtisfromdetroit.com.

Jasmin Iolani Hakes

Jasmin Iolani Hakes was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii. She has received support from Writing x Writers, Community of Writers, Hedgebrook, VCCA, and Storyknife. Her essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee. She is the author of Hula, named a must-read book by Oprah Daily, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and others.

For more info, visit www.jasminiolani.com.

Angela Peñaredondo

Born in Iloilo City, Philippines, ANGELA PEÑAREDONDO is a queer Filipinx, interdisciplinary writer and educator. They are the author of nature felt but never apprehended (Noemi Press), All Things Lose Thousands of Times (Inlandia Institute, Winner of the Hillary Gravendyk Regional Book Prize) and Maroon (Jamii Publications). Their work has appeared in The Academy of American Poets, Pleiades, Michigan Quarterly Review, Southern Humanities Review and elsewhere. They’ve received fellowships and awards from Hedgebrook, Kundiman, Macondo, TinHouse, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown among others. They are an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at California State University San Bernardino. Currently, Peñaredondo lives in Los Angeles with their partner and many cramped plants.

For more info, visit https://linktr.ee/angelapenaredondo.com.

Fariha Róisín

Fariha Róisín is a multidisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles. As a Muslim queer Bangladeshi, her work has pioneered a refreshing and renewed conversation about wellness, contemporary Islam, degrowth and queer identities. She is the author of books Like a Bird, How to Cure a Ghost, Who is Wellness For?: An Examination of Wellness Culture and Who it Leaves Behind, and her latest collection of poetry, Survival Takes a Wild Imagination.

For more info, visit https://www.fariharoisin.com.