Why There Are Words

Literary readings

New America Media, Blog , Andrew Lam Posted: Aug 10, 2011

What do you hunger for? Maybe the same things as our readers. Come find out. August 11, Studio 333, 7 pm. $5 gets you in the door. Bring mad money for authors’ books and drinks. more info here.


In 1982, Mehri Dadgar, an idealistic 22-year old, was arrested on a Tehran street for distributing pro-Democratic literature. In her memoir she tells of her narrow escape from execution and her struggle to preserve her sanity under the pressures of torture and isolation. Before immigrating to the United States in 1994, she studied art at the Art University in Tehran. Since living in America, she has exhibited her art in Canada, Sweden, England, and the United States, and received her MFA in art. She teaches at the College of Marin and Book Passage about the peaceful message common in all original scriptures including the Quran.

Alta Ifland grew up in Romania and came to the United States in 1991. She is the author of a bilingual (French-English) book of prose poems, Voice of Ice, which was awarded the 2008 French prize Louis Guillaume, and a collection of short stories, Elegy for a Fabulous World, which was nominated for the 2010 Northern California Book Awards. Her latest book of short stories, Death-in-a-Box, has just been released by Subito Press. In 2010 she was a fellow in fiction at the Wesleyan Writers’ Conference.


Andrew Lam

Andrew Lam is co-founder and editor of New America Media, an association of over 2000 ethnic media organizations in America. He has also contributed over 60 commentaries to NPR’s All Things Considered. His essays have appeared in dozens of newspapers across the country, including the New York Times, The LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, among many others, and in magazines such as Mother Jones, The Nation, Utne Magazine, and more. His short stories are also widely anthologized and taught in many universities and colleges.

His book, Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora won the 2006 Pen American Beyond the Margins Award, and was short-listed for Asian American Literature Award. He was the first Vietnamese to put together an anthology of Vietnamese American writing in English called Once Upon A Dream: Vietnamese American Experience, in 1995. His 2010 book East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres was listed as a top ten indie book by Shelf Unbound Magazine. His next is a collection of short stories, Birds of Paradise, and is due out in 2012. Born in Vietnam, he came to the US in 1975 when he was 11 years old, earned a Master in Fine Arts from San Francisco State University in creative writing, and a BA degree in biochemistry from UC Berkeley.

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