Banned Together: Writing the Immigrant Experience @ CIELO galleries/studios, Los Angeles [13 August]

Banned Together: Writing the Immigrant Experience

14:00 - 15:30

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CIELO galleries/studios
3201 Maple Ave, Los Angeles, California 90011
A part of Writ Large Press's #90X90LA summer festival!

Banned Together: Writing the Immigrant Experience
Reading & Discussion
Writers: Dania Ayah Alkhouli, Amanda Choo Quan, harold terezón & Zosimo Quibilan, Jr.
Moderators | Curators: Erika Ayón & Irene Suico Soriano

The “Muslim travel ban”, “I.C.E. raids”, “radicalized” “accelerated deportation proceedings”, “undocumented criminals” and “building the wall” are now familiar media buzz bytes that have stoked bigotry and created chaos and anxiety in many homes and hearts in various Los Angeles communities. With the current President’s ability to instill fear in his followers regarding the “undocumented/ immigrant danger” and leveraging that to create a destructive and hyper-vigilant environment that has also successfully persuaded mainstream/corporate media to “normalize” stories that frame undocumented immigrants as a population coming in hordes to wreck this country or religious extremists hiding in suburbs hatching violent plots to bring down the US citizenry, it has become all the more important for the emerging resistance to create alternative spaces to counter inaccuracies and prevailing narratives detrimental to both our undocumented and documented immigrant communities. How are different immigrant communities faring? How are writers from the different communities responding? How can different communities collectively resist or subvert dehumanizing stories? What kind of stories continually need to be told or perhaps re-imagined? What new narratives have yet to be nurtured?

Come hear writers, writing from various perspectives (recent arrivals, the 1. 5 generation, first generation), read their work and respond to questions about audience, craft and politics. This reading and discussion will be a stark and frank exploration about what it means to be a writer, writing about the immigrant experience during this complicated and extraordinary moment in time.

Please join us.

Dania Ayah Alkhouli, a.k.a. Lady Narrator, is a Syrian American author and poet, born and raised in Southern California. Alkhouli earned her B.A. in Sociology and her M.A. in Public Policy & Administration from Cal State Long Beach. She published her debut book at 19, titled '91 at 19' after graduating with her Sociology degree. She will soon release her second poetry book 'Oceans & Flames' which is an anthology of poetry shedding light on her experience with and survival of domestic violence. In 2012, Alkhouli and her mother, founded the nonprofit organization, «A Country Called Syria,» which is a traveling exhibition that showcases the history and culture of their country, Syria. Currently, their exhibition is on display at the Doe Library at UC Berkeley and they hope to take it nationwide.

Amanda Choo Quan is a Trinidadian-Jamaican writer, performer and organizer currently based in Los Angeles. She is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, Mona, where she earned the Brodber-Pollard prize, and of CalArts' MFA in Creative Writing, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. She has attended Callaloo and Cropper Foundation workshops, the Juniper Summer Institute, and the Scottish Universities Summer International School. Her work can be seen in Callaloo or on various stages across LA. She enjoys writing about displacement, intimacy, and evil.

Zosimo Quibilan, Jr. won the National Book Award for Fiction and the Madrigal Gonzalez Best First Book Award in 2008 in the Philippines for Pagluwas (Going to the City: University of the Philippines Press, 2006). His work in English and Filipino are in Kweli, KCET, Kuwento: Lost Things, Verbsap, Tayo, Opus42, Likhaan Journal, Philippines Free Press, Mondo Marcos, Under the Storm, Transfiksyon, among others. Zosimo was a featured author at the 2011 Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival in Los Angeles and a presenter at the panel called “Kuwento for Lost Things: A Reading and Discussion of New Philippine Myths” at the North American Review Bicentennial Creative Writing & Literature Conference in Cedar Falls, Iowa He lives in South Pasadena, CA and occasionally gives talks on fiction at UCLA.

harold terezón is an educator and poet from Pacoima, CA. His work has appeared in POECOLOGY, Puerto del Sol, PALABRA, Rushing Waters Rising Dreams: How the Arts Are Transforming a Community, The Acentos Review, The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States, and The Packinghouse Review. As a teaching artist he has helped youth in San Francisco and Los Angeles find their voice through poetry and writing. harold is the author of the James D. Phelan Literary Award winning Hunting for Izotes, a collection of poems inspired by his family's immigrant experience.

Erika Ayón emigrated from Mexico when she was five years old and grew up in South Central, Los Angeles. She graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in English. She was selected as a 2009 PEN Emerging Voices Fellow. She has taught poetry to middle and high school students across Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in The Acentos Review, Incandescent Mind Journal, Orangelandia Anthology, Wide Awake Anthology, and Coiled Serpent Anthology among others. She is currently a 2016-2017 Community Literature Initiative Fellow. You can find out more about her at

Irene Suico Soriano is a Filipina American immigrant poet, independent literary curator and Shelter/Animal Rights advocate providing resources to aid the rescue of geriatric and terminally ill dogs and cats that enter LA’s city and county shelter system. She participates in local and international anti-vivisection efforts and believes in the fundamental rights of non-human animals to live and be free from harm and abuse. Her poetry manuscript Primates from an Archipelago will be published by Rabbit Fool Press in December 2017. #ungovernable #emptycages
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