Thanks to Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, the future of reading in 2018 seems brighter already.
Buchanan is a fictionalist and novelist whose work has appeared in publications like The Guardian, Guernica, and The Harvard Review. In 2016, she made her debut with Harmless Like You, a novel that explores art, relationships, and otherness through the lens of a Japanese woman named Yuki whose startling entry into womanhood creates dreadful upshots for her son in the future.
For her next literary effort, Buchanan will enlist a number of famed writers and newcomers alike to discuss identity, placement, and displacement as an Asian or Asian-American in America. So this raises the question: What does it mean to be or feel at home?
“I never know what to call myself. At readings, people laugh at me when I get introduced as British-Japanese-Chinese-American, like it’s a punchline. I think, hey it’s not a joke,” the author expressed in an interview conversing mixed-race identity with the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in July.
“When I was young, I only knew two mixed-race people and one of those was my brother. The first time I encountered mixed-race people in literature was in manga, and they were always these blonde, blue-eyed Japanese people and everyone was always really excited that they were blonde and blue-eyed,” Buchanan continued. “They seemed distant from anything I knew about myself.”
In both the literal and visceral sense, Buchanan knows a thing or two about the dilemma that plagues many peoples of color today, particularly those people of color who are still having to challenge the notion of what “home” embodies. So last year, she issued an open call to writers to submit poetry and prose to her forthcoming Asian diasporic anthology called Go Home!, slated for publication in March 2018.
To be published by Feminist Press, the compilation will focus on Asian and Asian-American writers whose writing centers on the concept of displacement and belonging and will provide commentary on “home,” both the feeling of such and as a physical place.
Based on a synopsis, the epithet bears with it more than a racially-charged slur, it is an “impossible demand.” For Go Home!, home is “unreachable” and the anthology, edited by Buchanan herself, promises to “showcase the incredible variest of responses to the word home” by some of the brightest voices of the Asian diaspora.
In addition to Alexander Chee (The Queen of the Night), Chang-Rae Lee (Native Speaker), and Buchanan herself, other writers enlisted to contribute are as follows: Mia Alvar, Gina Apostol, Muhammad Amirul, Chaya Babu, Gaiutra Bahadur, Wo Chan, Karissa Chen, Marilyn Chin, Muna Gurung, Kimiko Hahn, Mohja Kahf, Alice Sola Kim, Jason Koo, Amitava Kumar, T Kira Madden, Rajiv Mohabir, Fariha Róisín, Jennifer Tseng, Sharlene Teo, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Wendy Xu.
As someone who has developed a massive interest in literature by Asian and Asian-American voices—many of my favorite books this year were authored by Celeste Ng and Han Kang—I am so pumped to get my paws on a copy of Buchanan’s anthology.
I’ve currently been stockpiling books by Chang-Rae Lee and Chee’s forthcoming nonfiction work is on my list of must-reads next year as well. So with the entry of Buchanan’s latest, 2018 is priming to be a great year for diverse reading yet again!