Looking at a generation of Asian-American writers

1965In his new book, The Children of 1965: On Writing, and Not Writing, as an Asian American (Duke University Press Books, 2013), Boston College Associate Professor of English Min Hyoung Song focuses on the works by emerging Asian American authors such as graphic novelists Adrian Tomine and Gene Luen Yang, short story writer Nam Le and poet Cathy Park Hong, among others. Based on an analysis of more than 100 works and his interviews with several of these writers, Song argues that collectively, these works push against existing ways of thinking about race, even as they demonstrate how race can facilitate creativity. While some of the writers eschew their identification as ethnic writers, others embrace it, and in their literature, a number of them address pressing contemporary matters: demographic change, environmental catastrophe, and the widespread sense that the United States is in national decline. The title of Song’s book is a reference to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 which lifted long-standing restrictions on immigration and ushered in the arrival of Asians to the US. Many of the authors in Song’s cohort of Asian American writers are children of these immigrants.

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