March 24, 2021 / Source: The Bizz USA
By Aaryana Sharma; Edited by Haarika Kalahasti
Since the start of the pandemic, Asians worldwide have been facing hate due to the widespread of COVID-19, and now, Asian-Americans are being attacked and played the victim in many racist attacks all over the US. Examples of attacks include the murder of 84-year old Vicha Ratanapakdee, and a 91-year-old man who was caught on camera being thrown to the ground in Oakland Chinatown. Hate and prejudice are never the answer, and it is important to recognize everyone’s contribution to society equally. Today, we’re going to introduce our favorite Asian Authors.
The first author we wanted to bring to the spotlight is Afghani-born author Khaled Hosseini. Hosseini has written two best-selling books, A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner, which both highlight the Afghan culture and societal issues. Hosseini immigrated from Afghanistan at a young age and currently resides in California. In 2006, Hosseini became a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Additionally, Hosseini established The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit, which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
Indian-American author Sandya is a recognized best-seller author known for writing romance novels for teenage-youth. Her novels feature a South-Asian (typically Indian) main character and a romance-plot that merges a Bollywood film plot with a typical teen-romance. Her books have been recognized by the New York Times and the Colorado Book Award. Sandhya also writes adult romance under the name “Lily Menon.” Representing Indian-American teenagers through romance, Sandhya Menon adds color and presentation to our bookshelves.
The third author we wanted to highlight is Wendy-Wan-Long-Shang, a Chinese-American author who often depicts Chinese culture. Through her narratives, she reflects her background as a Chinese-American kid, and student, in her writing. While her works are typically meant for a middle-grade audience, her stories of a split-identity are ones we all can relate to. Her bestseller, The Great Wall of Lucy Wu focuses on a middle schooler who faces a cultural shift once her grandma moves into the family. Wendy-Wan-Long-Shang represents an immigrant’s cultural identity struggle by representing a narrative all ages can relate to.
Sabina Khan is a Bangladeshi immigrant in Canada known for highlighting stigmas and issues in South Asian society while capturing the beautiful cultural aspects as well. Sabina Khan began writing as a way to display her daughter’s experiences in mainstream literature. Her bestseller, The Loves and Lies of Rukshana Ali revolves around the “taboo topic” of coming out in a conservative Muslim family, which she writes base on her daughter’s experience coming out. Khan writes representative works without stereotyping or judging which adds authenticity and life to her writing.
Rupi Kaur is a Punjabi immigrant in Canada, known for her inspiring poetry. Kaur’s poetry series captures the struggles and successes of immigration, womanhood, and misogyny, and gender stigma. Fighting against sexual abuse against women, Kaur writes her novels as a reminder of feminist strength and ability. Her self-published poetry collections inspire women around the world and add diversity to our narrative as Asians in North America. Her newest book Home Body focuses on her personal experiences through womanhood and immigration written in verse.
An Indian-American author, Kelkar writes middle-grade books about growing up as a South Asian in the US. Her most popular work has been “As American as Paneer Pie” which focuses on racist acts towards the Asian community, the struggles of assimilation, and finding a new identity as a South-Asian immigrant. Additionally, Kelkar has worked as a part of the writing team for Bollywood movies Lage Raho Munna Bhai, and Eklavya.
Asian-American author Jenny Han writes middle grade and high school books. Her most popular book series To All the Boys I’ve Ever Loved is on Netflix where it has become the Top 10 most-watched movie series. Additionally, Han has written the series The Summer I Turned Pretty. Han’s books focus on making an Asian-American character the lead and showcasing authentic Asian-American heritage and the small struggles of growing up as an immigrant kid in the U.S.
Indian author Aravind Adiga writes adult fiction and nonfiction. After his education in Oxford, Adiga has been a journalist for the NY Times, and an author who captures social conflicts in India. His novel The White Tiger, which depicts the struggles of the lower class in their way to the top, won the 2008 Man Booker Prize and has been added to Netflix. His novels The White Tiger and Selection Day focus on internal issues in India such as the societal hierarchy of caste and corruption and capitalism. Agida’s books highlight a more liberal and diverse narrative to modern Indian literature which is being accepted by mainstream media.
These Asian authors, and so many more like them, strive to create a more inclusive and diverse narrative. These authors have experiences with immigration, societal pressures, and forms of forced assimilation which they represent in their books. Many of these Asian authors write about their own experiences and bring their culture into their writing, creating a more authentic voice.
During times of conflict and hate, we have to recognize the important, diverse contributions to our society. We can start our recognition by simply looking at another perspective, or reading a more diverse story.