2019 Mentorship Lab Fellows

2019 Mentorship Lab Fellows

Mentorship Lab

Fordham University, lincoln center
New York City
July 2019 – december 2019

Application Period: March 1st – April 15th
This program is made possible with support from The Jerome Foundation.

We are thrilled to announce a new mentorship initiative: Kundiman’s 2019 Mentorship Lab! This program will support 9 emerging writers through a six-month program. Three writers will be chosen in each genre of Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, & Poetry, and will work closely with one of our established Mentors: T Kira Madden (Creative Nonfiction), Bushra Rehman (Fiction), & J. Mae Barizo (Poetry)!

program details

This program will support nine NYC–based emerging artists for a six-month mentorship program from July 2019 – December 2019. This lab will include not only mentorship support from mentoring artists, but also writing workshops, master classes, and a culminating reading open to the public. Kundiman has long been a source of community and support for Asian American writers, and we’re excited to offer this space of close collaboration and community guidance.

Mentorship Fellows receive $1000; a six-month mentorship with the Mentor in their genre; six Master Classes and six Writing Workshops; and travel, lodging, and participation in a feature reading at the Asian American Literature Festival in Washington, DC in August 2019. To encourage learning and community across genres, the Master Classes will include fellows from all three genres. The Workshops will be conducted within specific genres.


Master Classes and Workshops will take place at Fordham University Lincoln Center in NYC.

The Asian American Literature Festival will take place in early August 2019 in Washington, D.C. Travel and lodging will be provided.


The Mentorship Lab is open to emerging writers who self-identify as Asian American. Writers must not have published a full-length book by the conclusion of the Lab, and cannot be enrolled in a degree-granting program during the time of the Mentorship Lab. Writers must be residents of the five boroughs of New York City, and be living in NYC for the full period of the Mentorship Lab. 


requirements for mentorship fellows

  • Meet with entire cohort for introductory meeting in July 2019

  • Participate in biweekly 30-minute check-ins with Mentors from August 2019–December 2019, via phone or Skype

  • Present at featured reading at the Asian American Literary Festival, which takes place in early August 2019 in Washington, D.C.

  • Attend all 6 Master Classes and 6 Writing Workshops on biweekly Mondays at Fordham Lincoln Center from September – December 2019

  • Participate in culminating public reading in December 2019



Between March 1st and April 15th, apply to the Mentorship Lab by clicking on one of the below buttons. Submit a cover letter and brief writing sample of 5–7 pages of poetry or 5 pages of prose (1250 words max). Mentorship Fellows will be announced by June 10th. There is no application fee.

2019 mentors

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J. Mae Barizo is the author of The Cumulus Effect (Four Way Books). She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from Bennington College, the Jerome Foundation, and Poets House. A prize-winning poet, critic and performer, recent work appears in AGNIBookforumBoston Review and Los Angeles Review of Books.  A classically-trained musician and a champion of cross-genre work, J. Mae has performed sound/text collaborations with Salman Rushdie, film composer Paul Cantelon, and many more. She has performed with Mark Morris Dance Group, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Kanye West and Pharrell, among others. She teaches writing at Poets House, the New School and Pratt School of Architecture. She lives in New York City.

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T Kira Madden is a queer, APIA writer, photographer, and amateur magician. She is the founding Editor-in-chief of No Tokens, and facilitates writing workshops for homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals. A 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in nonfiction literature, she is the author of the memoir LONG LIVE THE TRIBE OF FATHERLESS GIRLS (Bloomsbury). She lives in New York City and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

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Bushra Rehman has co-edited the anthology Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism. She has written an autobiographical novel titled Corona. Her latest work, Marianna’s Beauty Salon, is a collection of poems. Rehman has received awards and residencies from the Jerome Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, Cave Canem, Center for Book Arts, Cullman Center for Teachers, Kundiman, Hedgebrook, Soul Mountain Retreat, Norcroft, Barbara Deming Memorial Foundation and Headlands Center for the Arts. She has served as a teaching artist for Poet’s House, Teachers & Writers Collaborative, Urban Word NYC, and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.

2019 Fellows

Creative Nonfiction


Pik-Shuen Fung is a writer and artist from Hong Kong and Vancouver. She is a 2018-19 Margins Fellow at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, a 2019 Kundiman Fiction Fellow, and has also received a residency from the Millay Colony. Her writing has appeared in The Margins and Ricepaper Magazine, and her artwork has been exhibited at the Newark Museum, the Katonah Museum, The Frank Institute at CR10, and Beverly’s. She has an MFA in Fine Art from the School of Visual Arts and a BA in Visual Art from Brown University. As a writer, she is drawn to experimental forms, and her prose traverses family history, maternal lineage, and the experience of love and loss in the Chinese diaspora. She lives in New York City.

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Julie Ae Kim is a writer hailing from Queens, New York and is a proud public school graduate. Her current work explores how sexuality and desire is shaped by other people's expectations. She primarily writes on themes of sexuality, family, and Asian America.  She is the Co-Founder of the Asian American Feminist Collective and works in New York City politics. She now lives in Brooklyn and is always fiending to be out in nature. You can find her on Instagram @jakets.


Danielle Batalion Ola is a Filipina writer who was born and raised on the island of Kaua'i. She's found her way across the mainland to Brooklyn, where she writes stories both real and imagined with her dog Stitch at her side. Her work is published or forthcoming in Lunch Ticket and Pomme Journal.



Divya Nair was born in Evanston, Illinois, raised in Cupertino, California, and now resides in Harlem, NYC. By day she helps Fortune 500 companies find patterns in data and tries not to take herself too seriously. In her spare time she focuses on hyperlocal government and empowering people to take ownership of the block they live on. In May 2019, she launched her passion project — the Instagram account @nycdatastories to help bring awareness around using open data to increase transparency in government. She is working on a multigenerational fictional novel that tells the diaspora story of one family that stretches from pre-partition South India of the early 1920s to Harlem, NYC in the 2010s.


Kimarlee Nguyen spends an inordinate amount of time trying to find new ways to make essay-writing fun for fourteen-year olds in her work as a full-time English teacher at The Brooklyn Latin School. The rest of her free time is devoted to writing her first novel. A recent graduate of Long Island University's MFA program, Kimarlee's fiction has appeared in PANK, Hyphen Magazine and The Adroit Journal, among others. She has been selected as a 2018-19 Emerging Writer Fellow by the Center for Fiction and has been awarded fellowships from VONA/Voices, The Fine Arts Work Center, The Key West Literary Seminar, the Anderson Center at Towerview and Tofte Lake Center.  


Shrima Pandey is a writer & community organizer based in Queens. She received her BA in Anthropology and MA in Migration Studies, both of which influenced and were influenced by her identities as a New Yorker, an immigrant, and Nepali. Her writing, poetry and prose, draws on both those academic and personal journeys. You can find some of her poetry in Newtown Literary. Although Shrima has traveled and studied in many cities around the world, she was drawn back to her home borough. Currently, she works full-time helping South Asian small businesses thrive and organizes with a grassroots group to tackle gentrification in Queens.



Paul Aster Stone-Tsao (they/he/we) is an emerging poet and multidisciplinary artist currently based in Brooklyn, New York. His work is dedicated to exploring phantasms and the particular weft of haunting that inheres in the narrative of diaspora, gender, race, identity, and sexuality and the place from where that is understood. Their work with language is deeply tethered alongside a reckoning with how language might begin to bear (its own) recognition and what that might offer in the blur of solace caught in the rungs of memory and counter-memory. This- for a life that is not only possible, but in its constant remaking by way of breath- also, livable. Their poems have been published in Luna Luna Magazine, Rendering Unconscious: Psychoanalytic Perspectives, Politics & Poetry (Trapart Books: Sweden), No, Dear Magazine's ERROR Issue No. 23 as well as forthcoming in Dirt Child Vol. 1. He performs as the fallen angel of Legacy and occasionally appears in drag (she's from the future).


June Daowen Lei, a recent college graduate and native New Yorker, works as the Public Programs Assistant at the Brooklyn Museum, where she helps organize hundreds of free and low cost community programs each year. She also is a co-organizer of Sin Fronteras, a collective of artists fundraising against US-sanctioned violence at the border and in Central America. In 2018, June completed her undergraduate thesis in contemporary poetry at Bowdoin College in Maine, and has worked at several art museums and organizations pursuing her research interests of performance art, Asian American art, and feminist theory.  


Ananya Kanai Shah was born in Boston and grew up in Ahmedabad, India. She graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in literature, applied mathematics, and economics. After graduating, she interned at PEN America and currently works in advertising in New York.

2019 Finalists

Creative Nonfiction

• Hannah Bae
• Julia Flasphaler
• Yasmin Majeed
• Shivani Radhakrishnan
• Rajat Singh


• Julia Chen
• Vivek Gowda
• Christie Louie
• Aarti Monteiro
• Tiffani Ren


• Kiran Bath
• Irene Hsu
• Laimah Osman
• Ayisha Raees
• Mary Sun

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Kundiman’s Mentorship Lab is made possible with support from The Jerome Foundation.