The Kundiman Mentorship Program

In 2017, Kundiman partnered with the Asian American Literary Review, and Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center to host a Mentorship initiative. During a two month long letter writing exchange, mentors and mentorship fellows shared work, exchange ideas about writing process, craft and practice, the writing life, Asian American history, and personal reflections about the world around them. The mentorship culminated in a reading at the Asian American Literary Festival in Washington D.C., and the letters will be published by the Asian American Literary Review.

The Mentorship was open to any writer who self-identifies as Asian American who had not published a full length book by the date of the festival. Mentees received a two month long mentorship, $1000 honorarium, travel, and lodging at Festival. 

Poetry Mentorship



Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee; the hybrid genre, photo-text memoir Intimate; and five books of poetry: A Crash of RhinosSix Girls Without PantsThe Invention of the KaleidoscopeAnimal Eye, and Imaginary Vessels. Her work has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Village Voice Writers on the Verge Award, an NEA Fellowship, Pushcart Prizes, the University of Georgia Press’ Contemporary Poetry Series Award, a Fulbright Fellowship, inclusion in the Best American Poetry series (2012, 2013, and 2017) and various state arts council awards. Her poems and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The New Republic, Virginia Quarterly Review, Tin House, and on National Public Radio among many others.  Her newest book of nonfiction, The Broken Country: On Trauma, A Crime, And The Continuing Legacy of Vietnam, won the 2016 AWP Nonfiction Prize and will be published in 2017. In May 2017, she was named Utah Poet Laureate.



Justin Rovillos Monson is a Filipino-American artist currently serving a prison sentence in Michigan. He has been published in the Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing, Pacifica Literary Review, and Duende Literary Journal.

Prose Mentorship

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Alexander Chee is the bestselling author of The Queen of the Night and Edinburgh. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic, an editor at large at VQR and The Lit Hub, and a critic at large for The Los Angeles Times. His essays and stories have appeared in Best American Essays 2016, The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Slate, Guernica, andOut, among others. He is winner of the Whiting Award, the AAWW Lit Award, and fellowships from the NEA and the MCCA. He teaches creative writing at Dartmouth College.



Born stateless in Seoul and raised on four continents, Grace Jahng Lee is a recipient of fellowships/awards from VONA, Yaddo, Brooklyn Arts Council, the Jerome Foundation, and Hedgebrook. Fragmented identities, memory, intergenerational trauma, and home are central themes in her writing. She is working on an autobiographical novel and essay collection.