We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a month-long reading challenge during May. This is the master post with all the relevant 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.
Update: Back in 2017, Alec Te Pohe collected these useful Pasifika lit resources:
Asian Lit Bingo Scope:
Aside from the reading challenge, we have planned a series of blog posts (e.g. discussions, author interviews, author features, etc.) and social media events to complement the challenge and celebrate Asian literature in other ways. We’ll be adding links to these posts and details on the social media events on this master post as they go up. 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 of our team hosts are taking a break to focus on the exam period during May but our active hosts include:
Shenwei @ READING (AS)(I)AN (AM)ERICA (#AsianLitBingo Creator)
Aentee @ Read at Midnight (Graphic Designer Extraordinaire)
Glaiza @ Paper Wanderer
Janani @ The Shrinkette
Kai @ Quartzfeather
Sinead @ Huntress of Diverse Books
Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts
Wendy @ Written in Wonder
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).
We have compiled a [far from exhaustive] list of book titles that fulfill each prompt. Here’s the link to the list.
Reading Challenge Sign-up
To sign up for the challenge, simply make a blog post/vlog/etc. with a summary of what the challenge is about, a link to this master post, the bingo board, and your tentative TBR if you put one together (you won’t be penalized for the contest portion if you don’t follow your TBR). You can add any book recommendations as you see fit for other people who are interested in participating in the challenge (optional). You are welcome to use the header image of this post for your post. Once you’ve posted your announcement, add your post to the Sign-up Link-up below:
There are two contests associated with this reading challenge, each with a prize.
General Rules for Qualifying Books:
- Book must 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 #ownvoices is strongly encouraged.
- Book can be a novel/novella/novelette or comic book/graphic novel.
- Book must be read during May 1st through May 31st to qualify.
- Review link-up will close end of June 1st at midnight PDT. The extra margin is to give people the opportunity to write up a review for a book they might have finished late May 31st. We’ll follow the honor system assuming you didn’t read the book on June 1st.
Contest 1 – Equal Opportunity/Participation Contest
Every person who participates in the reading challenge and reads at least 3 books for the challenge will have one entry each for this contest. The winner will be randomly drawn. If somehow the winner drawn is the same as the winner of the second contest, we will draw a different winner.
- Your choice of one 2018 release by an Asian author.
- Open to international.
Contest 2 – Extra Credit/Merit-Based Contest
For the more competitive folks, the competition for the prizes is based on the number and type of books you read and review for the challenge. The person who accumulates the most points wins. Here is the point system:
- 1 point per book read
- 1 extra points per #ownvoices (ethnicity-wise) book (so 2 points total for an #ownvoices book)
- 1 point per review for qualifying books. Please write at least 300 words for the review that are not quotes or copy pasted synopses.
- Your choice of one 2018 release by an Asian author
- Open to international.
Wrap-Up Post Link-Up
In order to verify your participation and points for the contests, please make a post/video that lists all of the qualifying books you’ve read (please label whether they’re #ownvoices) and links to reviews for any books you’ve reviewed.
This is to keep all the reviews for the challenge in one place for easy access. Please add links to your reviews to the link-up below:
Social Media Events
Join us for a general
#AsianLitChat on 26 – 27 May this weekend!
Readers and writers are welcome to chat about books by Asian Authors.
We’ll be diving into representation, writing and sharing favourite stories, so drop by! Many readers and writers are in different timezones, so we’ll be chatting all weekend – even after the official hour is over.
Saturday 26 May – 9:30pm GMT | 5:30pm ET
Sunday 27 May – 7:30am AEST | 9:30am NZST
For more times, add your city to the time converter.
Asian Lit Posts
To be announced over May:
Credits and Acknowledgements
A huge thank-you to Aentee @ Read at Midnight for designing all the gorgeous graphics for this challenge.
I’d also like to thank each and every one of my co-hosts for their time, labor, dedication, and ideas. You transformed this reading challenge from a little pet project of mine to something so much bigger and better. I am grateful to be working with all of you.
– Shenwei, Asian Lit Bingo Founder.