Bryan Thao Worra, Laotian Americans, And The National Endowment For The Arts For Poetry

Friday, December 05, 2008

This is cool news - and one for my poetry readers out there:

Laotian American writer Bryan Thao Worra, 35, a resident of the Hawthorne neighborhood of North Minneapolis has received a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for poetry for 2009. Literature Fellowships are "the Arts Endowment's most direct investment in American creativity, encouraging the production of new work and allowing writers the time and means to write."

The fellowships alternate annually between poetry and prose. For 2009, 42 poets will receive fellowships of $25,000 each. This year there were over 1,000 applications from across the US. He is the first Laotian American to receive an NEA fellowship in Literature, although the NEA has previously given National Heritage Fellowships to traditional Laotian weavers and musicians.

Thao Worra will use the fellowship funds to complete his next book and to travel across the US observing Laotian American refugee communities to study the effect of regional dialect on Laotian American expressive language and culture and how it affects their sense of democracy.
Congratulations to Worra for winning the fellowship.

Read the full write up down at the Asian American Press.