Kristen Wu


Mentor: Ljiljana Coklin

Swallow is a collection of three fictional short stories that follow several Asian American women at different stages of their lives. The stories pay homage to the complicated feelings defining the experiences of Asian American womanhood. From dating struggles to unexpected career paths, these women grapple with gendered and racialized expectations in their quest for authenticity. Informed by both my own experiences and Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, my project examines the intersections of gender and race and how they play out, both subtly and dramatically, in the everyday lives of Asian American women. Although their stories differ, the characters in Swallow deftly clean up the debris of historical stereotypes while working to redefine modern ideological constraints. Despite navigating feelings of dissonance in their bodies, they eagerly embrace the hope that change promises. Swallow offers stories about living between cultural, gender, and racial stereotypes and about what it means to be liberated even in the face of the absurd.