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Appalachian Writers of Color

Myriad stories make up the Appalachian region. Our initiative focuses on highlighting and supporting the talented scholars of color from the region. Join our annual celebration of Appalachia’s rich and diverse voices by featuring emerging and renowned authors, poets, literary critics, and unique presentations.

Lisa Kwong

Our 2023-24 Appalachian Writer of Color

Lisa Kwong is the author of  Becoming AppalAsian (Glass Lyre Press, 2022) and a member of the Affrilachian Poets. Born and raised in Radford, Virginia, Kwong identifies as AppalAsian, an Asian from Appalachia.  

 A first-generation college student, she earned her B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and holds an M.F.A. in poetry from Indiana University (IU). Her poem "Searching For Wonton Soup" was Sundress Publications' 2019 Poetry Broadside Contest Winner, and her work has been nominated for the Weatherford Award in Poetry, Pushcart Prize, and Best of the Net. Her poems have appeared in  About Place Journal, Women Speak, Best New Poets, A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Still: The Journal, Naugatuck River Review, Appalachian Heritage, Pluck!, The Sleuth, and other publications. 

 Kwong is also a multidisciplinary educator. She has taught courses in Asian American studies, creative writing, English composition, and student success at IU and Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, Indiana.

Lisa Kwong, seen wearing glasses, smiling.

Our Past Scholars

Check Them Out!

A black and white photo of author Neema Avashia

Neema Avashia

Neema is the 2022-2023 Appalachian Writer of Color and author of Another Appalachia: Coming up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place. Neema grew up in the Kanawha Valley and currently lives and teaches in Boston. 

Visit Neema's Website
Check out the HC Reading
Author Steven Dunn in a hoodie.

Steven dunn

Steven Dunn is the 2021-2022 Appalachian Writer of Color and the author of Potted Meat and Water and Power. Steven was born and raised in West Virginia, and after 10 years in the Navy he earned a B.A. in Creative Writing from University of Denver.

Check Out Steven's Bio
Hip-Hop Geography Video
Author Amy Alvarez wearing hoop earrings.

Amy Alvarez

Amy Alvarez is an Affrilachian poet and WVU professor who was a panelist on our Affrilachian Writing discussion. She is the author of Makeshift Altar and the co-editor of Essential Voices: A COVID-19 Anthology

View Amy's Website
Affrilachian Writing Video