Welcome to Asian Heritage Month at the Pond! 31 Wonderful Days of Celebrating Asian Voices and Literature

Our Friend is Here: Asian Heritage Month Edition. 31 Wonderful Days of Celebrating Asian Voices and Literature

A warm and happy welcome to The Quiet Pond, friends!

Something that I want The Quiet Pond to be is a book blog that celebrates our identities and who we are. Whether it is through recommending books or providing a platform for people to speak, I want The Quiet Pond to be a book blog that always does more, helps others, and does good.

With what’s going on in the world at the moment, a lot of book events have been cancelled. For those who aren’t aware, book events are an avenue for authors to promote their books and themselves, and no longer having that avenue has impacted so many authors – especially debut authors. So I wanted to step up – The Quiet Pond may not be big nor will it save everything, but I felt like the very least I could do was to do something to help. As the quote goes, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” In such times, I could not agree more.

When the idea of hosting something for Asian Heritage Month struck me randomly while I was sitting at my desk, working from home, I wondered why I never thought of it before. Why not host something for Asian Heritage Month, which occurs throughout the month of May?

Introducing: Asian Heritage Month at The Quiet Pond!

Thus, it is with so much excitement that I mark the beginning of the Pond’s very first Asian Heritage Month guest feature series! Throughout the month of May, we will (hopefully!) be hosting 25 Asian authors, artists, and bookish content creators from around the world to talk about their book, their work, or something that is meaningful and important to them. In other words, over the course of May, we will have 25 or so wonderful friends who will be visiting the pond – with their very own ‘pond-sona’ (pond + persona)! – and will have wholesome and thoughtful discussions with myself as Xiaolong, Joce as Cuddle, or Skye as Sprout.

Once again, we are so excited for our very first Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition guest series. I think it’s going to be a wonderful month! We have invited a group of wonderful people – Asian middle grade authors, young adult authors, adult authors, debut authors, seasoned authors, book bloggers, and booktubers! I also hope that you are ready for some incredible and thought-provoking conversations about what it means to be an Asian writer and reader — I have no doubt that you will come away from this guest series with plenty of books to add to your to-read lists!

I hope you all enjoy Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month edition, friends. Be sure to tune into the Pond every day, as we’ll have a visitor at the Pond almost every day!

And of course, happy Asian Heritage Month! 

Asian Heritage Month at The Quiet Pond 2020

  1. An Interview with Wai Chim, Author of The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling; On Writing Histories, Diaspora Families, and Mental Illnesses
  2. An Interview with Jessica Kim, Author of Stand Up, Yumi Chung! On Comedy and Diaspora Korean Identity
  3. An Interview with Jason Tanamor, Author of Vampires of Portlandia; On Writing Filipino Folklore & Filipino-American Identity
  4. An Interview with Julie Abe, Author of Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch; On Japanese Influences and Writing Empowering Stories
  5. An Interview with Xiran Jay Zhao, Author of Iron Widow; On Feminist Fantasy, Giant Robots, & Diaspora Worldbuilding
  6. An Interview with Emery Lee, Author of Meet Cute Diary; On Eir Writing Journey, Trans Characters and Trans Joy
  7. Tashie Bhuiyan, Author of Counting Down With You, Shares Her Love Letter to Writing One’s Culture and Identity
  8. An Interview with Lyla Lee, Author of the Mindy Kim Series; On the Inspiration Behind Mindy Kim and Writing Korean Culture
  9. Katie Zhao, Author of The Dragon Warrior, On Embracing Our Inner Dragons
  10. An Interview with Adiba Jaigirdar, Author of The Henna Wars; On The Intersections of Queer & Muslim Identity, and Cultural Appreciation versus Appropriation
  11. An Interview with June Hur, Author of The Silence of Bones; On Craft, Homely Reminders, & Korean History
  12. Christina Li, Author of Clues to the Universe, On The Book that Helped Her See Herself
  13. Krisha, Book Blogger & Dancer, Recommends Her Favourite South Asian Books
  14. May Cho, Malaysian Brunei-Based Booktuber, On Why Representation Matters to Her
  15. An Interview with Henry Lien, Author of Peasprout Chen; On Immigrant Stories, Asian Speculative Fiction, and Celebrating Enthusiasm
  16. An Interview with Hena Khan, Author of Amina’s Voice & More to the Story; On Writing Young Muslim Characters and… A Sequel in the Works!
  17. Ikram, Book Blogger at Readlogy, On Her Experiences of Being a South-East Asian Reader
  18. An Interview with I.W. Gregorio, Author of This is My Brain in Love; On Being a Badass Teen Businesswoman, and Pretty Awesome Asian-Americans named Joce 😉
  19. An Interview with Sangu Mandanna, Author of A Spark of White Fire; On Retelling Mahābhārata, Free Will versus Fate, and the Stories Behind Her Books
  20. Jia, Book Blogger at A Book and Words, Recommends Her Favourite West Asian Books!
  21. An Interview with Yao Xiao, Author of Everything Is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid; On Being a Queer Chinese Immigrant and Bridging Different Worlds
  22. Charvi, Book Blogger at Not Just Fiction, On Authors of Colour Inserting Different Languages in Their Books
  23. An Interview with Naomi Hirahara, Author of Iced in Paradise; On Being a WOC Mystery Author, Lovable Curmudgeons, and Mystery Recs by PoC!
  24. An Interview with Aliette de Bodard, Author of the Dominion of the Fallen Series; On Writing Her French & Vietnamese Identities and Lunar New Year
  25. Mackenzie, Bookstagrammer and Book Blogger at Colour Me Read, Discusses The Girl From Everywhere – Both The Book & Herself
  26. A Conversation with Sylvia Bi, Publishing Design Assistant, On the Joy of Diversity in Fanart
  27. An Interview with Lauren Ho, Author of Last Tang Standing; On Her Experiences of Being a Chinese-Malaysian Woman and Humorous Asian Reads

Why are you calling it ‘Asian Heritage Month’, and not ‘Asian Pacific American Heritage Month’?

Calling it ‘Asian Heritage Month’ was a conscious decision made by us, so allow us to provide an explanation!

First, though May is technically ‘Asian Pacific American Heritage Month’, Pasifika and Oceanic activists have said that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have distinct and unique experiences, and putting them together perpetuates harm and erasure of Pasifika peoples. Furthermore, Pasifika activists have stated that they want their own space – unique to Asians – to celebrate their heritage and discuss the challenges they face. Rather than choosing to call this guest feature series ‘Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month’ whilst there are no Pasifika creatives featured, I didn’t want to contribute to further harm and erasure of unique Pasifika identities. In addition, I’ve felt uncomfortable with features that include ‘Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month’ but subsequently do not include any Pasifika people. Thus, I wanted this feature to be named in a way that is accurate and reflects the people spotlighted without being misleading.

Nonetheless, I still want to recognise the Pasifika voices who claim May as their heritage month as well. If being Asian and being Pasifika is part of your identity, then that is so valid and I support/tautoko your experience and identity. I also highly recommend checking out this Twitter thread of wonderful Pasifika voices and if you are looking for book recommendations by Māori and Pasifika authors, you can see my post from 2019 here.

Second, we decided to remove ‘American’ out of our guest feature series’ name because we didn’t want to exclude Asian authors, content creators, and readers that live outside of America. We love and value the perspectives of all Asian voices, no matter where they are in the world. Furthermore, I’m from New Zealand and Skye is from Malaysia! So it didn’t feel right for us to call our guest feature series ‘Asian American Month’ even though Skye, myself, and many of our guests are not American.

7 thoughts on “Welcome to Asian Heritage Month at the Pond! 31 Wonderful Days of Celebrating Asian Voices and Literature

  1. I’m already excited for the voices this feature will bring to your blog and I appreciate the thoughtful explanation on why you’re calling the feature Asian Heritage Month!

    Liked by 1 person

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