Ken Chen is the recipient of the Yale Younger Poets Award, the oldest annual literary award in America, for his book Juvenilia, which was selected by the poet Louise Glück. He served as the Executive Director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop from 2008 to May 2019. An NEA, NYFA and Bread Loaf Fellow and National Book Award judge, Chen co-founded the cultural website Arts & Letters Daily and CultureStrike, a national arts organization dedicated to migrant justice. He has been quoted in NPR’s All Things Considered, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. A graduate of Yale Law School, he successfully defended the asylum application of an undocumented Muslim high school student from Guinea detained by Homeland Security. He is currently a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library, where he is working on Death Star, a book about his traveling to the underworld and seeing there everything that has been destroyed by colonialism. He is represented by The Wylie Agency.
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MEDIA MENTIONS & APPEARANCES
“A Poem in The Nation Spurs a Backlash and an Apology,” New York Times, 8/1/18.
“Michael Derrick Hudson Won Awards as Yi-Fen Chou.” Daily Beast, 4/20/18
Signatory to a letter in support of Queens Museum of Art Executive Director Laura Raicovich. Hyperallergic 1/31/18.
“A Writer Workshop for Workers and a Long Poem,” The New Yorker, 9/7/17.
“AAWW Continues the Conversation,” Poets & Writers, 12/15/15.
“Something Borrowed,” The New Yorker, 10/5/15.
“There’s a New Movement in American Poetry and It’s Not Kenneth Goldsmith,” The New Republic, 2015.
“They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist,” Buzzfeed, 9/11/15.
“A White Poet Borrows a Chinese Name and Sets Off Fireworks,” New York Times, 9/9/15.
“Jeff Chang on Hip Hop, Street Art, and Racial Justice in America,” NBC News, 11/12/14.
“#ActualAsianPoet Claps Back at White Poet Who Used Asian Pen Name,” Colorlines, 9/14/14.
“To Achieve Diversity In Publishing, A Difficult Dialogue Beats Silence,” All Things Considered, 2014.
“In Elite MFA Programs, The Challenge Of Writing While ‘Other,’” All Things Considered, 2014.