Past Event

Our Word presents Postcolonial Narratives

April 7, 2022
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
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How do we write stories that wrestle with the legacies of colonialism and enslavement? How do we craft narratives that interrogate intergenerational trauma, and resurrect stories and historical figures that have been excluded from the Western narrative?

Postcolonial Narratives Panel includes Asako SerizawaKawai Strong WashburnNuvoyo Rose Tshuma, and Sally Wen Mao. Join us on Thursday, April 7 at 5:30 PM EST on Zoom to hear our panelists discuss the role of post-colonialism in their work.


ASAKO SERIZAWA was born in Japan and raised in Singapore, Jakarta, and Tokyo. Her debut book of fiction, INHERITORS, won the PEN/Open Book Award and The Story Prize Spotlight Award, was a Massachusetts Book Awards Honors Book, and longlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. A graduate of Tufts University, Brown University, and Emerson College, she is a 2022 National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient and has been awarded two O. Henry Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MacDowell, The Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and elsewhere. She currently lives in Boston.

KAWAI STRONG WASHBURN was born and raised on the Hamakua coast of the Big Island of Hawai’i. His first novel, Sharks in the Time of Saviors, Won the 2021 PEN/Hemingway award for debut novel and the 2021 Minnesota Book Award; it was also longlisted for the 2020 Center For Fiction First Novel Prize and was a finalist for the 2021 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award. Former US President Barack Obama chose it as a favorite novel of 2020, and it was selected as a notable or best book of the year by over a dozen publications, including the New York Times and Boston Globe. It has also been translated into eight languages and counting. Washburn lives with his wife and two daughters in Minneapolis.

NOVUYO ROSE TSHUMA is a 2020 Lannan Fiction Fellow and the author of the novel House of Stone, winner of a 2019 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award and the 2019 Bulawayo Arts Award for Outstanding Fiction, and listed for the 2019 Orwell Prize, the 2019 Dylan Thomas Prize, the 2019 Rathbones Folio Prize, and the 2020 Balcones Fiction Prize. She has been invited to give public lectures about House of Stone at the University of Oxford, the Nordic Africa Institute, and Vassar College. Novuyo is a native of Zimbabwe and has lived in South Africa and the USA. Her collection Shadows was published by Kwela in South Africa to critical acclaim and won the 2014 Herman Charles Bosman Prize. She has taught fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and serves as an Assistant Professor of fiction at Emerson College.

SALLY WEN MAO is the author of two collections of poetry, Oculus (Graywolf Press, 2019), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Mad Honey Symposium (Alice James Books, 2014). The recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, she was recently a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library and a Shearing Fellow at the Black Mountain Institute. Her poetry and prose have appeared in The Best American Poetry 2021 and 2013, The Paris Review, Poetry, Harpers Bazaar, A Public Space, The Kenyon Review, The Georgia Review, Guernica, and A Public Space, among others.


About Our Word

Our Word is a student organization whose mission is to enrich the Columbia University School of the Arts, and the literary community in general, with outreach, advocacy, and inclusion of new and old literary voices. Read more online.