#AsianLitChat returns in May 2020!

Announcement: #AsianLitChat is returning in May 2020 with a few updates! Instead of an #AsianLitBingo readathon in May, join us in a book recommendation and book anticipation filled #AsianLitChat inspired by our original #AsianLitBingo prompts.

We recognise that accessing books can be a challenge for some during lockdown, so our focus for the 2020 #AsianLitChat is highlighting books by Asian Authors through a month long chat with weekly prompts.

The Hosts:

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 2020 include:

Shenwei @ READING (AS)(I)AN (AM)ERICA (#AsianLitBingo Creator)

Glaiza @ Paper Wanderer

Wendy @ Written in Wonder

Janani @ The Shrinkette

Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

Join us for week 1 of #AsianLitChat kicking off on May 1 on Twitter!

For a sneak peak of each week’s prompts, check them out below:

Week 1 – #AsianLitChat
Week 2 – #AsianLitChat
Week 3 – #AsianLitChat
Week 4 – #AsianLitChat
Week 5 – #AsianLitChat


If you’d still like to base your May reading TBR on our #AsianLitBingo prompts below, feel free to view our board below. Originally designed by Aentee of Read at Midnight.

Alternatively here are some readathons for Asian lit in May you can join in: South Asian Reading Challenge, Year of the Asian, Asian Readathon, and more.

Optional: If you’d like to make a book list or share an interview with an Asian author, feel free to tag us @LitCelebrAsian with #AsianLitChat so we can RT or link your blog post in our May roundup below.

May 2020 – Asian Author / Booklist Blog-Post Roundup:

Watch this space for updates!

Note: Due to different lockdown measures around the world, we’re not able to host book prize giveaways in May 2020 but we hope you can still join us for #AsianLitChat.

May 2020 – Spotlight Pasific Islander Books in Solidarity:

#AsianLitChat spotlights books by Asian authors but we’d love it if readers outside of this chat, would also spotlight books by Pacific Islander authors in May. We don’t use the #AAPI / #APAHM label out of respect for Pacific Islander friends but we also encourage readers to support Pasifika voices and spaces via Our Stories – Tala mai le Moana compiled by Lani Wendt YoungPasifika Tales and the updated resources below.

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

HUIA Publishers

– Pacific Island Books

Asian Lit Bingo 2019 Reading Challenge Announcement and Master Post


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

HUIA Publishers

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.

The Hosts 

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!

The Hashtag

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.

The Setup

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.

Eligible Books:

  • 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).


Asian Lit Bingo 2019

Book SuggestionsRead More »

Character Interview: Amal (from Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed)

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Amal is a character in Aisha Saeed’s novel, Amal Unbound.

Aisha Saeed is a New York Times bestselling author. She wrote WRITTEN IN THE STARS (Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books, 2015) which was listed as a best book of 2015 by Bank Street Books and a 2016 YALSA Quick Pick For Reluctant Readers. She is also the author of the middle grade novel AMAL UNBOUND (Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018) a Summer 2018 Indie Next Pick, An Amazon Best Book of the Month, has received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus and is a Global Read Aloud for 2018. She also has a forthcoming picture book BILAL COOKS DAAL (Simon & Schuster/Salaam Reads, 2019). Aisha is also a founding member of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books™. She has been featured on MTV, the Huffington Post, NBC, and the BBC, and her writings have appeared in publications including the journal ALAN and the Orlando Sentinel.

Aisha is represented by Taylor Martindale at Full Circle Literary Agency and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and three sons.

Hi Amal! I’ve been looking forward to talking to you. What have you been up to? How are you?

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Interview: Julie C. Dao – Author of Forest of A Thousand Lanterns and Kingdom of The Blazing Phoenix

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*Kate is one of our new Lit CelebrAsian team members. She introduces Julie C. Dao’s work below:

One of my favorite books (and debuts!) of 2017 was FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by Julie C. Dao. If you haven’t heard or read it yet, first, read it. Secondly, the book is a fabulous reimagining of the Evil Queen from Snow White and her origin story. The sequel KINGDOM OF THE BLAZING PHOENIX is slated to be released November 6, 2018 with all new branding and I am chomping at the bits for it.

Julie is active on social media and one of my favorite authors to follow because of her commentary and honest thoughts on being an Asian American. When searching my mind for an author to interview, I knew I had to reach out to Julie.

What does it mean to you to not only see more Asian protagonists in books, but Asians on the cover?Read More »

Join us for a General #AsianLitChat on 26 – 27 May Weekend!

asian lit bingo interviewguest post

Join us for a general  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.

Guest Post: Five Steps to Getting a Literary Agent by Clarissa Goenawan

asian lit bingo interviewguest post (2)

Clarissa Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer. Her award-winning short fiction has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in Singapore, Australia, the UK, and the US. Rainbirds is her first novel.

People often ask me, “Do you have any advice on how to be a writer?” I usually quote Stephen King. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others:
read a lot and write a lot.” I will also add, “Work hard, and never give up.”
But when people ask me for advice on how to publish internationally, or how to make
a living as a traditionally published writer, I will tell them to get a good agent.

Read More »

Interview: Veronica Montes – Author of Benedicta Takes Wing & Other Stories

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Veronica Montes is the author of Benedicta Takes Wing & Other Stories (Philippine American Literary House, 2018). Her fiction has appeared in Bamboo Ridge, Prism International, and maganda, as well as in many anthologies including Contemporary Fiction by Filipinos in America, Growing Up Filipino, Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas, and Kuwento: Lost Things among others.

What was the inspiration behind this short story collection?

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Character Interview: Kimberly Chang (from Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok)

Interview: Kimberly Chang
Kimberly Chang is a character in Jean Kwok’s novel, Girl in Translation.

Jean Kwok is the New York Times and international bestselling author of the award-winning novels Girl in Translation and Mambo in Chinatown. Her work has been published in 18 countries and taught in universities, colleges and high schools across the world. She has been selected for many honors including the American Library Association Alex Award, the Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book Award, and Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers. Jean’s writing has been featured in Time, The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, The Chicago Tribune, Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, People, Real Simple and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others.

Jean immigrated from Hong Kong to Brooklyn when she was five and worked in a Chinatown clothing factory for much of her childhood while living in an unheated, roach-infested apartment. In between her undergraduate degree at Harvard and MFA in fiction at Columbia, she worked for three years as a professional ballroom dancer. Jean lives in the Netherlands with her husband, two boys and three cats, and is working on her next novel. A Dutch television documentary with English subtitles was filmed about Jean and her work.

Hello Kimberly! It’s lovely to finally meet you! How are you?

Read More »

Interview: Victoria Namkung – Author of These Violent Delights

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For nearly 20 years, Victoria Namkung has been a Los Angeles-based author, journalist, essayist, and cultural commentator. Her writing has been featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, NBC News, VICE, Washington Post, USA Today, and InStyle, among other publications. After receiving a master’s from UCLA in 2000, she taught courses on gender, immigration, and writing at UCSB, UCLA, and 826LA, respectively. The daughter of a Dublin-born Jewish mother and Korean father, Victoria was raised in Irvine, California and maintains dual citizenship in Ireland. She’s the author of the 2015 novel, The Things We Tell Ourselves (Standard Time Press), and These Violent Delights (Griffith Moon), hardcover published in the fall of 2017. Paperback published in May 2018.

Learn more about Victoria Namkung’s book recommendations, work, and the research process behind her timely contemporary book, These Violent Delights, which tackles sexual abuse in the US elite education system:

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