The University of Iowa

Diving into the In-Between: Writing about Identity and the Asian American Experience

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020

In this generative workshop, we will explore the possibilities of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, plays and hybrid practices. We will read selected texts and generate new work through many writing exercises, as well as offer sharing of work and constructive feedback. The texts in this class are focused on the Asian American experience, with the understanding that the category of “Asian American” is an imprecise container, attempting to hold groups with vastly different languages, cultures, and histories. What is the experience of assimilation and how may it differ for each immigrant generation? How does living in the ‘in-between’ social and cultural space affect characters? How are mental health and wellness issues considered in Asian American texts, specifically, depression, indecision, and hypervigilance?


In this class, we will look at the ways in which writing leads to and informs multiple genres and kinds of making. We’ll consider an illustrated memoir about a family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, a short story written by a South Korean author that was the genesis of a prize-winning novel, and other cross-genre works that use literary texts as source material. As we read, we’ll emulate some of the approaches that we encounter, allowing you to experiment with your writerly voice as it suits your practice. This class is open to all genres and may be of particular interest to those working on memoir, essay, and creative nonfiction.


In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; provide feedback on writing you produce in our weekend.

All Genres
Hybrid Forms
Young Adult