Essay by Nina Sharma '16 Nominated for Pushcart Prize
December 16, 2017
An essay analyzing the murders of Asian Americans in both popular culture and real life, by Nina Sharma '16, has been nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize.
In “Not Dead,” Sharma reflects on the violent murders of a character in the AMC television show, The Walking Dead, and a man whose death became a lightning rod for the Asian American community in the 1980s – and how they speak to larger issues in society.
She delves into the parallels between the murders of Glenn Rhee, portrayed on the show by actor Steven Yeun, and Vincent Chin, a Chinese-American man who was beaten to death in a Detroit suburb in 1982.
“The Korean American Glenn was the only character of Asian descent within the core group of survivors we follow in the nearly seven-year long run of The Walking Dead,” she writes. “Anger swelled among the show’s fans after Glenn’s death became one in a long line of characters of color to get the axe.”
According to Sharma, the essay “has been a world inside my world for some time now.” She added that it was “an honor” to work on the piece with Jyothi Natarajan, editorial director of the Asian American Writers' Workshop. The essay was published in July in The Margins, AAWW’s “flagship editorial platform.”
According to the organization, the publication “is a bold new online magazine dedicated to inventing the Asian American creative culture of tomorrow. In an age when Asian Americans are relegated to sidekicks, whether in sitcoms or the corridors of power, we believe it’s time to bring Asian Americans into the conversations that matter.”
Sharma, whose work has been featured in Anomaly, Longreads and The Grief Diaries, among other places, was recently awarded a fellowship from Vermont Studio Center.
The Pushcart Prize organizers accept up to six nominations, in print or online, from small magazines and book press editors across the world. Poetry, short stories, essays, memoirs and stand-alone excerpts from novels are all considered. Translations, reprints and both traditional and experimental writing are also welcome.
Nominations are accepted between October 1 and December 1.