Editor’s Note: Looking Out of Windows

This year marked my second year of editing diaCRITICS. I started the editorship during the pandemic, which changed life as we knew it. In terms of the work itself, nothing particularly changed in the way diaCRITICS (and the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network) did what we do. We have always been a national (and international) team: I’m based in Washington, DC, our deputy editor Sydney Van To in Berkeley, and our other editors are around the States and the world. Like a lot of other publications these days, we are virtual by default.

So, what has changed in the last two years? If you looked at the 70 pieces we’ve published in 2022, the work we shared still shows the diversity of the Vietnamese diaspora, its vivacity, and its importance.

But, quarantined or nearly quarantined for two years, I think we all wanted to look beyond ourselves, beyond our borders. At diaCRITICS, while we have always aimed to be an international publication, as our world closed in upon us, we all wanted to open that window even more.

In 2022, we published work by and about artists from Germany, the Czech RepublicCanada, and France. We also kept an eye out for writers and artists from across the Southeast Asian diaspora, sharing poetry from the Philippines, a reflection on the cultural importance of Khmer singer Sinn Sisamouth, and an interview with a debut Singaporean crime writer. Southeast Asia and its diaspora are diverse and diaCRITICS aims to be a place for these voices.

For 2022, I was personally overwhelmed with gratitude for and awe of the authors and artists in our music issue. We asked you what music meant to you and you delivered! We also asked what it was like to parent while passing on one’s language and the answers were nuanced and gave readers a view of the lives of those who are bilingual—our anxieties, our hopes, our love.

As we take our yearly break in December, revisit some highlights of our year:

Australia Contributing Editor Sheila Pham recommends Cathy Duong’s review of Chinatown by Thuan, one of the few books translated into English from Vietnamese.

If you’re interested in Chinatown, Deputy Editor Sydney Van To recommends Rachel Min Park’s two-part interview with the book’s translator Nguyễn An Ly. While you’re reading about books, check out Kimberly Nguyen’s review of Come Clean, Joshua Nguyen’s debut poetry collection.

Don’t forget to check out our This is For Mẹ section edited by Jess Boyd, who recommends her reflection on clothes and matrilineal inheritance and Christina Vo’s search for her mother’s story.

Really, I’m proud of all we’ve published, and I hope, as we wind down the year, you take the time to read and revisit the plethora of voices here.

See you in the new year!

Eric Nguyen
Editor in Chief

Eric Nguyen is the Editor in Chief of diaCRITICS.


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