Lao American Writers Summit: June, 2017
Mark your calendars for Seattle! The National Lao American Writers Summit will be convened at Highline Community College, June 23-24th 2017 (Friday & Saturday). More details will follow soon, including a website update at http://www.laowriters.org. This year is being made possible by a collaboration between POM Foundation, the Lao Community Service Center (http://www.lcsc-wa.org), Highline Community College, and Seattle Lao community members. They will start a crowdfunding campaign very soon.
The Fourth National Lao American Writer’s Summit will mentor and support the first and emerging generation of Lao American writers. During the Summit, nationally-renowned Laotian American writers will conduct workshops with participants.
The Pom Foundation is well-known for their programming skills such as the popular Kinnaly Music and Dance Classes, Lao Cultural Exchange Program, Lao Summer Camp, and FORTE: Summer Camp Talent Show. The Lao Community Service Center (LCSC) is a non-profit community organization that assists refugees and immigrants with social, cultural, and educational services. LCSC’s mission is to unite and strengthen the Lao Community in the Pacific Northwest. Highline College is an institution of higher education located in Des Moines, Washington, south of Seattle, Washington. Highline was founded in 1961 as the first community college in King County, Washington.
We have absolute confidence in their ability to bring together a memorable gathering, but they'll also need help, including volunteers and donors because this is a major undertaking as a community building effort. Washington has close to 11,568 Laotians and over 2,000 Hmong, making it one of the largest Lao communities in the US.
Previously, the National Lao American Writers Summit has been convened in Minneapolis, Minnesota and San Diego, California, with representation from 23+ states. We've come a long way from the very first Lao American Writers Summit at the Open Book and Loft Literary Center in Minnesota. The Lao arts have continued to expand and flourish.
Among the things we'll be celebrating this year is the formation of Pom Foundation. We'll be introducing it to the national community at large, and seeing where they will need support in the years ahead.
2017 is the 10th anniversary of Sahtu Press author Bryan Thao Worra's first full-length book, On the Other Side Of The Eye, and part of his first year as President of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Catzie Vilayphonh will be releasing her debut book of poetry from Sahtu Press later in 2017. We'll hopefully see a preview at the Summit, as well as a glimpse at Nor Sanavongsay's Xieng Mieng sequel. Saymoukda Vongsay is a new VERVE Spoken Word Grant recipient in addition to her recent work with the Smithsonian. Previous Lao American Writers Summit chair Krysada Panusith Phounsiri also received a Rhysling Award for Poem of the Year for his poem "It Begins With A Haunting" addressing the legacy of UXO in Laos, which first appeared in his debut book, Dance Among Elephants from Sahtu Press in 2015.
Seattle holds a special place in the world of Lao Arts and Letters in Diaspora because in 1999 the late Outhine Bounyavong's collection Phaeng Mae: Mother's Beloved was published by University of Washington Press, thanks to a translation by Bounheng Inversin and Daniel Duffy.
We hope you'll join us!