Editor’s Note: Looking Toward 2020

Two years ago this time I was preparing to assume the editorship of this blog, diaCRITICS, from Viet Thanh Nguyen, and having many thoughts about diaspora and the vantage points—both fluid and fixed—it can afford us, which I wrote about in this editorial essay that marked the beginning of my editorship with diaCRITICS.

Now, as 2019 winds down and we look toward 2020, I am pleased to note the progress diaCRITICS has made over the past two years: a website redesign; an influx of new, younger-generation voices; commentary from first- and 1.5-generation voices as well; the profiling of dozens of artists and writers working across a wide range of milieus, creating startling, provocative, healing, intimate, inquisitive, genre- and definition-blurring worksart questioning beauty standards, gender, borders, experiences and definitions of diaspora; a new series, this is for mẹ (edited by Jessica Boyd), of epistolary-based pieces on mothers, motherland, mothering themes; and a new set of “texture poems” evoking contemplations, both visual and textual, of April 30th.

In my editor’s note that I titled “2018 ///\/\/// Beyond”, I was positing, perhaps, both a question and a direction; but was also unwilling, exactly, to name what that “beyond” might be, or how/where the “///\/\///” currents might lead us. As we look now toward 2020 and its imaginaries, I harbor the same questing and the same resistance to naming—who we are, where we belong, what our boundaries or limits may be. Our diaspora has so many facets, so many corners and shores; we will remain open to hearing those stories, heeding those voices. 

A couple end-of-year housekeeping notes:

  • diaCRITICS is taking a publishing hiatus from mid-December to mid-January. During this time we will still be highlighting past stories on our Instagram and Twitter feeds, however, so please keep visiting the site, and please share your favorite stories.
  • In 2020, we will undergo another site redesign, to merge diaCRITICS’ website more cohesively with our parent organization DVAN/Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network’s site. This will increase both DVAN and diaCRITICS’ capacities to create networks that serve and support writers and their works. (You can look out for this site launch in March 2020.)
  • DVAN and Kaya Press are still fundraising for their joint publishing initiative. While diaCRITICS is the online publishing arm for DVAN, this collaboration with Kaya Press will support the publishing of books in print by diasporic Vietnamese authors. Your donation will be matched if you donate by December 31st via this Facebook link.



We close out with some acknowledgements and highlights of 2019:

A warm welcome to diaCRITICS’ new deputy editor, Amy Lam, who came on board in early 2019. You can find Amy online at www.byamylam.com, and I would especially recommend this excellent essay of hers, “Her Tattoo is My Name & My Name is a Poem”, published by Tin House Magazine.

Our book reviews editor, Eric Nguyen, who is responsible for some of the most astute reviews on books by Vietnamese diasporic authors, just sold his own debut novel, A History of Lost Things, to Knopf. Big, big congrats, Eric, and well-deserved!

We also owe special thanks to Vi Khi Nao, who conducted a number of in-depth and utterly unique interviews with several writers, including She Who Has No Master(s), Jessica Nguyen, Sophia Terazawa, Jennifer Nguyen, Anh-Hoa Thi Nguyen, and a very special interview with DVAN co-founder Isabelle Thuy Pelaud. Check out her interviews here.

Thanks to ongoing contributions from our news editor, RP, and our Australia contributing editor, Sheila Pham.

And a fond, admiring thank you to all of the writers and artists who shared their work with diaCRITICS readers and community this year, especially to those who contributed to our “Textures of April 30th” special series this year.


Photo by Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, at Djerassi Artist Residency, Jan 2019.

Dao Strom is the editor-in-chief of diaCRITICS. She is the author of You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else; We Were Meant To Be a Gentle People; The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys; and Grass Roof, Tin Roof. daostrom.com


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