Evan Chen


Again and again, I hear my Kundiman co-fellows use the word "magical" to refer to their experience of the retreat. I also hear the word "kumbaya" used, perhaps as a means of injecting self-deprecation into the emotional intensity of our experience throughout the retreat. Both words fail to suffice, as "magical" suggests something that cannot coexist alongside the grind of our daily lives, and "kumbaya" suggests anaïveté misguiding us through our business as writers. Kundiman was a transformational experience for me. Never before have I sat in a circle of people and felt so connected to the writers around me, so appreciated, respected, and loved by writers who understand what it means to feel trapped in the hyphen so often used to separate "Asian" from "American."

– Evan Chen