All posts filed under: Writing

Writer Souvankham Thammavongsa featured in award-winning literary journal

Writer and poet Souvankham Thammavongsa’s work will be featured in an upcoming award-winning literary journal. Thammavonga’s short story, “Worms,” is included in Ploughshares’ winter 2018-19 issue, a collection of stories, poems and essays from writers all around the world. In “Worms,” Thammavongsa unravels the layered relationship between a single mother and teenage daughter, both of whom are Lao refugees residing in a western world. They, and other Lao refugees, pick worms from the ground on a farm for meager wages. Although only eight pages long, “Worms” explores privilege and the ache and injustice of uprooting one’s life for the promise of a better future—only to be met with hardship along the way. Thammavongsa herself was born in a refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, Granta, NOON and Best American Non-Required Reading. She is working on her first collection of stories, called “How to Pronounce Knife,” which is set for a 2020 release date. Thammavongsa currently resides in Toronto, Canada. Other stories in Ploughshares’ winter issue will cover topics ranging …

Saymoukda Vongsay unpacks family, migration and identity in debut children’s book

When writer Saymoukda Vongsay first wrote “When Everything Was Everything,” a poem depicting the Lao refugee experience, she didn’t expect it to transform into what it is today. In her first children’s book of the same name, Vongsay reveals glimpses into her childhood as a young Lao girl navigating America with her displaced family. Touching on universal and present topics like refugee experiences, class, and family,  the story connects with children and adults of all ages. Although the book was just released this past month, its inception spans even farther. Vongsay said she wrote “When Everything Was Everything” around seven years ago at a writers workshop for women of color as a last-ditch “hurrah” before quitting her writing career. One prompt asked the group to think of a time in their lives that involved a lot of movement or migration and Vongsay said she thought back to her early years. “I just created this list of all the times I felt my family moved or migrated,” she said. “I was also looking up movement in other …