191. Frances Kai-Hwa Wang: Lyric Reflections on Family, Hope, and Asian American Culture

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Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a prolific writer, passionate speaker, multicultural educator, and activist on Asian Pacific American issues. In her new collection of essays, You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids, she navigated the space between cultures and reflects on lessons learned from both Asian American elders and young multiracial children. It’s a rich space, filled with linguistic nuance that Wang so deftly weaved throughout her writing.

In the aftermath of a messy divorce, Wang writes in hope of beginning to build a new life with four children, bossy aunties, unreliable suitors, and an uncertain political landscape. Her essays are peppered with a wide range of topics, including cooking food to show love, surviving Chinese School, being an underpaid lecturer, finding love in a time of elections, crying with children separated from their parents at the border, charting the landscape of frugal/hoarder elders during the pandemic, witnessing COVID-inspired anti–Asian American violence while reflecting on the death of Vincent Chin, teaching her sixteen-year-old son to drive after the deaths of Trayvon Martin and George Floyd, and trusting the power of writing herself into existence.

Within the lyric essays, Wang found the courage and hope to speak out for herself and for an entire generation of Asian American women.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is an award-winning poet, essayist, journalist, activist focused on issues of Asian America, race, justice, and the arts. Her writing has appeared at NBCAsianAmerica, PRIGlobalNation, Center for Asian American Media, Detroit Journalism Cooperative, Cha Asian Literary Journal, Kartika Review, Drunken Boat, and the Joao Roque Literary Journal. She co-created a multimedia artwork for Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, is a Knight Arts Challenge Detroit artist, and is a Communities Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour out of Dearborn/Detroit.

Buy the Book: You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids (Made in Michigan Writers) (Paperback) from Third Place Books

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