Essays in Diaspora

Room 437, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 4
Thursday, March 9, 2023
9:00 am to 10:15 am


Diasporic essayists writing in multiple hybrid forms talk craft and content that subvert and resist the colonialist / imperialist gaze and genre boundaries of the Western canon. Panelists discuss inspiration for essays from multiple ancestors, from anti-patriarchal writers around the globe, Indigenous and First Nations storytelling traditions, and oral and visual sources. Topics include centering subjectivity, exploring historical trauma and memory, and exploring spirituality and activism.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: Event_Outline-Essays-in-Diaspora.docx



May-lee Chai (翟梅莉) is an American Book Award–winning author of eleven books, including the memoir Hapa Girl, a Kiriyama Prize Notable Book, and Tomorrow in Shanghai. Her essays have won the Gulf Coast Prize and been cited as Notable in Best American Essays. She teaches at San Francisco State.

Melody Moezzi is an Iranian-American Muslim author, attorney, activist, and visiting associate professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her latest book, The Rumi Prescription, won a 2021 Wilbur Award. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times and other outlets.

Carolyn Desalu is an assistant professor of journalism at Elon University. Her editorial work appeared in Essence, Jet, Ebony, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Globe and Mail. An essay about academia and natural hair will be published in Being #BlackintheIvory: Contending with Racism in America.

Terese Mailhot is from Seabird Island Band. Her writing appears in West Branch, Guernica, Pacific Standard, Elle, and elsewhere. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Heart Berries: A Memoir. She is a Tecumseh Postdoctoral Fellow at Purdue University.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center