We are back in 2019 for #AsianLitBingo – a month-long reading challenge during May! This is the master post with all the information for the reading challenge.
Inspiration and Purpose: In the U.S., the month of May is Asian American Heritage Month*, so we thought, what better way to celebrate than to do a reading challenge that spotlights books with Asian characters and centers Asian voices? In publishing, there are power dynamics in play that marginalize Asian authors, especially those who write Asian characters and draw from their heritage for their writing. In the context of publishing in countries where white people are the majority/dominant group, diaspora Asians in those countries have a hard time breaking into publishing.
In a more global context, Asian writers in Asia have a hard to reaching a wider market beyond regional publishing due to their perceived foreignness, plus a general lack of infrastructure for translations for those that don’t write in English (and many do write in English). There are also double standards in the industry that facilitate publication for white authors writing Asian[-inspired] characters/settings/stories while Asian writers who write from the place of a cultural insider are often told their stories are “too Asian” or “not Asian enough.” For this reason, we feel it is especially important to highlight #ownvoices Asian stories, where the authors share the heritage of the characters they write about.
*May is technically designated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. However, a number of Pasifika activists and friends have stated that lumping together Asian Americans with Pacific Islanders results in the erasure and co-opting of PIs and that they want to have their own spaces to discuss their issues. We are respecting that and keeping the two separate for this challenge.
We encourage readers to also support Pasifika spaces via Our Stories – Tala mai le Moana compiled by Lani Wendt Young, Pasifika Tales and the updated resources below.
Update: Back in 2017, Alec Te Pohe collected these useful Pasifika lit resources:
– Māori and Pasifika Month Reads via Ruru Reads
– Tina Makereti: five Māori and Pasifika favourites
– Māori (and Pasifika) writing in 2017: Thalia Kehoe Rowden recommends 22 picture books that feature Pasifika and Māori children
– Ministry of Education Pasifika and ESOL resources
– Pacific Island Books
– Kōmako: A Bibliography of Māori writing in English
Asian Lit Bingo Scope:
Aside from the reading challenge, we have planned a few social media events to complement the challenge and celebrate Asian literature in other ways. If you are an Asian blogger/vlogger/bookstagrammer/etc. and have your own idea for a post/video you want to make about Asian lit, go for it, and feel free to leave a comment here with the link so we can add it to the list. You can use this template for your blog header if you’d like.
Meet the Lit CelebrAsian team at our team page. Some team members are taking a short break to focus on work commitments but our active #AsianLitBingo hosts for 2019 include:
Shenwei @ READING (AS)(I)AN (AM)ERICA (#AsianLitBingo Creator)
Glaiza @ Paper Wanderer
Janani @ The Shrinkette
Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts
Stephanie @ Igniting Pages
Wendy @ Written in Wonder
Kate @ Snarky Yet Satisfying
Reading Challenge Information
The reading challenge is a general challenge and also a contest with prizes!
Use the hashtag #AsianLitBingo when posting on Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr about the challenge. Check out what other people are reading and find posts and reviews related to the challenge by searching the hashtag.
Similar to the Diversity Bingo challenge, the Asian Lit Bingo challenge takes the form of a bingo board, a 5 by 5 grid with 25 total prompts for books to read. The baseline goal is to read prompts for a single line, vertically, horizontally, or diagonally on the board, for a total of 5 books. Post your progress on Twitter with the hashtag #AsianLitBingo.
- Fiction books should have an Asian main character (can be one of several main characters) and be by an Asian author to qualify. It does not have to be #ownvoices, but reading #ownvoices books is strongly encouraged!
- Nonfiction books should be by an Asian author with a focus on Asian people, whether it’s a[n] [auto]biography, history book, essay collection, etc. A nonfiction book can count for prompts other than the nonfiction square provided that it that focuses on a person/group that corresponds to that prompt (e.g. an autobiography of a Asian trans woman could count for either the nonfiction category or the LGBTQIAP+ Asian MC category).
- The free space is for any book with an Asian main character by an Asian author.
Below is the bingo board, designed by Aentee. Note: “MC” stands for “main character” (though as specified above, it can be a book about a real person).
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