About the Project
Being of Taiwanese descent in North America is a relatively new experience. Compared to immigrant groups with long, well-documented histories, our community is still figuring out its place. We need creative platforms of our own to aid in self-discovery, contextualize our collective history for a more just and informed future, and celebrate our peers who are dissecting their identities and making art. We’re more than bubble tea. We’ve got things to say.
Chrysanthemum, a print collection of visual and written work by emerging artists and writers, shares fresh takes on the Taiwanese diasporic experience. The anthology includes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and visual art by over 20 different creators on the central theme of “liminality,” or in-betweenness. The works we have collected explore what it means to be in the liminal space between identities, times, places, and stages.
This anthology is, to our knowledge, the first of its kind. We hope you’ll support us by backing our Kickstarter.
Inspiration and Impact
In recent years we’ve seen social and political themes explored in writing of all genres, including Citizen by Claudia Rankine, Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu, and Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang, among many others. We’ve sought to collect a similarly broad range of styles and voices in Chrysanthemum. In publishing our anthology, we hope to engender a revival of interest in Taiwanese diaspora identity akin to the Asian American movements of the 60's and 70's. We want to showcase our emerging writers and artists. We want to have a gathering place for new ideas and insights and to encourage our audience to ask questions. We want to celebrate the specificity and diversity of our experiences. We want our community to come together and join the movement.
The Story So Far
Andrea and Kevin first met in New York in July 2013, then again when both were living in Taipei a year later. Often over dinner or drinks, they met to talk about the nuances of being Taiwanese-American in Taiwan, even as they explored the concept of identity in their own reading and writing. Identity also happened to be at the fore of the conversation on a societal level, both in Taiwan, as citizens processed the events of the Sunflower Movement and the election of a new president and legislature, and in America, as the media began to devote increasing coverage to racial tensions and the country's own presidential election.
When Andrea moved back to America in 2016, the conversation continued, and the idea for a mini-anthology of Taiwanese-American writing began to take shape. Andrea brought in her childhood friend Albertine, with whom she first dabbled in original fiction and illustration, to work on the project.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. After releasing a call for submissions, we received over 80 pieces, many of which we liked but did not have room to include in this first anthology. We’ve spent months communicating with our contributors to polish their work and are entering the final stages of copyediting and formatting. We’re excited to be so close to bringing our project to life.
About the Name
The chrysanthemum serves as an image familiar to both Taiwanese and Western cultures; a nod to the references to nature, longevity, and transience present in many of our pieces; and a symbol of autumn, when we will be releasing our anthology. The chrysanthemum is a flower that bears symbolic associations in other countries, including China and Japan, but this is emblematic of what we hope to express: that Taiwan is a place influenced by many other places and that Taiwanese North American identity is influenced not only by Taiwanese culture but also by the many cultures that make up the fabric of North America.
We have already completed the submission process and have edited chosen works. We aim to finalize formatting by mid-October, print books via Blurb in early November, and fulfill orders in late November (just in time for the holidays!).
We are printing a limited run of the anthology through Blurb.com. If we secure funding, we aim to sell copies online. Below is our cost breakdown:
- 60% printing costs via Blurb
- 20% shipping costs
- 10% fulfillment costs
- 10% contributor compensation
$4,000 — Increase author/artist compensation. Our authors and artists contributed to this anthology as a labor of love. Help us pay these incredible creatives some additional cash and support them in their work!
$5,000 — Fund travel for promotional events. With additional funding, we will be able to travel to conferences, book readings, and schools to promote Chrysanthemum. Help us get the word out!
$6,000 — Kickstart a second anthology. We’d love to begin working on a second anthology focused on a new theme. Make our dream a reality!
Partnership with TaiwaneseAmerican.org
We are fortunate to have partnered with TaiwaneseAmerican.org, who will provide technical and structural support in the making of Chrysanthemum.
Founded in 2006, TaiwaneseAmerican.org is a non-profit organization that aims to connect and promote those who identify with the Taiwanese identity, heritage, or culture. Its volunteer-driven website highlights the people, events, and organizations that make up Taiwanese America.
Aster Hung for the cover art - www.asterhung.com
Rashida Davison for the video editing work - IG:@rmdavison
Kevin Young and Mitch Akutsu for the film - https://vimeo.com/kevinjyoung
Mary Ann Jiang and Chu Yi for the social media support
Kate Davis and Katie LaTour for editing and design advice - https://www.etsy.com/shop/mucksprout and https://katie-latour.squarespace.com/
Risks and challenges
As the works have already been chosen and edited, the major risks remaining are delays in printing and fulfillment. We will do our best to maintain clear communication with our printers to avoid or quickly resolve any issues.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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