The Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN) primary mission is to promote stories from the Vietnamese diaspora. We undertake to support this body of work through literary festivals, local readings, writing retreats, panel discussions, blogs, video and publications. Our goal is to increase understanding about the diversity and complexities of our experiences and imaginaries across national boundaries.
We also 1) support other forms of cultural expressions such as film and visual art, 2) extend ourselves to other ethnic groups with whom we share a history marked by colonialism or/and war, and 3) create programs catered to underprivileged youth.
We define the Vietnamese diaspora as communities of people of Vietnamese origin outside of Vietnam. We take on a diasporic perspective because many of our family members have been pushed out of Vietnam to many parts of the world and it makes sense for us to share stories and engage in dialogues.
DVAN began in 2007 due to the recognition that Vietnamese Americans were underrepresented compared to other Asian Americans in both the academia and popular culture. Until today, less than 50 books and short story collections by and about Vietnamese Americans have been published by nationally recognized publishers. Vietnamese American filmmakers and visual artists are similarly under-represented. Such selective publishing, film and art world practices prevent the society at large from understanding the complex experiences, history and culture of a growing community, as well as recognize the impact the community has had on society. Our vision is that, by coming together as a group across national boundaries, we can bring forth new ideas about identity and citizenship. Ultimately, we aim to be active agent of social change by encouraging self-determination and dialogues for the purpose of healing and full incorporation in the fabric of society.
Ink and Blood
Our initial core members used to be a part of a San Francisco-based organization called Ink and Blood (“Muc va Mau”), which was active from 1994 to 2000. The mission of that organization was to promote the works of Vietnamese American writers, poets and visual artists. DVAN is strongly inspired by Ink and Blood's mission and spirit.
Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN) is part of the incubator program at Intersection for the Arts, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
VIET THANH NGUYEN (Executive Director, DVAN Founder) is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. His novel The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize, among other awards. His other books include the bestselling short story collection, The Refugees (2017), Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War(2016), and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (2002). Along with Janet Hoskins, he co-edited Transpacific Studies: Framing an Emerging Field (University of Hawaii Press, 2014), and he edited The Displaced: Refugee Writers On Refugee Lives (Abrams Press, 2018). He has been a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (2011-2012), the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard (2008-2009) and the Fine Arts Work Center (2004-2005). He has received residencies, fellowships, and grants from the Luce Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Asian Cultural Council, the James Irvine Foundation, the Huntington Library, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Creative Capital and the Warhol Foundation. Most recently he was the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations. He is the founder and executive director of DVAN and publisher of diaCRITICS.
ISABELLE THUY PELAUD (Co-Director of Programs, DVAN Co-Founder) is a professor in Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University and the author of This is All I Choose to Tell: History and Hybridity in Vietnamese American Literature(Temple University Press, 2011), and co-editor of Troubling Borders: An Anthology of Art and Literature by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora (Washington University Press, 2013). Her essays and short stories have been published in Making More Waves (1997), Tilting the Continent (2000) and Vietnam Dialogue Inside/Out (2001). Her academic work can be found in Mixed Race Literature (2002), The New Face of Asian Pacific America (2003), Amerasia Journal (2003)(2005), Michigan Quarterly Review (2005) and the Journal of Asian American Studies(2012).She is co-founder of DVAN and the DVAN-sponsored writers collective, She Who Has No Master(s).
DAO STROM (Co-Director of Programs, diaCRITICS Editor) is a writer, musician, and image-text artist whose work explores hybridity through melding disparate “voices”—written, sung, visual—to contemplate the intersection of personal and collective histories. Her books include You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else(Ajar Press, 2018), a bilingual poetry book; We Were Meant To Be A Gentle People, a hybrid-forms memoir accompanied by a music album, East/West (2015); and two books of fiction, The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys (2006) and Grass Roof, Tin Roof (2003). She has received grants and fellowships from the Creative Capital Foundation, Precipice Fund, Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), Oregon Arts Commission, and National Endowment for the Arts. In 2018 she became editor of diaCRITICS and a DVAN co-director. She is also co-founder on two collective literary arts projects, She Who Has No Master(s) and De-Canon.
ANH THANG DAO (Consultant) is a crucial part of DVAN’s community team providing project guidance and support. She was Nguyen’s student at USC, where she wrote her doctoral dissertation on Vietnamese Writers of the Diaspora. She has published in peer-review journals and anthologies and possesses critical expertise needed to place the dialogues that emerge from DVAN’s literary project within broader socio-historical-political contexts. She is currently Senior Policy Analyst at the SF Arts Commission.
AIMEE PHAN‘s first book, We Should Never Meet: Stories (St. Martin’s Press, 2004) won the Association for Asian American Studies Book Award in Prose. It was also named a Notable Book by the Kiriyama Prize in fiction, as well as a finalist for the 2005 Asian American Literary Awards. Her fiction has appeared in Colorado Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Chelsea, Prairie Schooner and Meridian. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, USA Today and the Oregonian. She has received a 2010 National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship, a Maytag Fellowship from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a MacDowell Colony Residency. She currently chairs the Writing and Literature program at the California College of the Arts.
JULIE THI UNDERHILL is an artist, photographer, filmmaker, writer, and historian. Her poetry, essays, and oral histories have been published in Takin’ It to the Streets: A Sixties Reader (2004), Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace (2006), Embodying Asian/American Sexualities (2009), and New America Media (2010). She received a Rockefeller Fellowship from the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences (UMass- Boston, 2005-06). She received her MA in 2009 from UC Berkeley, where she is a Chancellor’s Fellow. She is currently a doctoral candidate in UCB’s department of ethnic studies, where she specializes in Cham studies, diasporic studies, Asian American film/video, Asian American history, and transnational feminisms.
MINH TSAI is a foodie, and founder of Hodo Soy Beanery, an artisanal tofu company in the Bay Area. Prior to starting Hodo, Minh spent 10 years in strategic consulting and investment banking working with fortune 500 companies. Minh graduated from Columbia with a BA in Asian Studies and Masters in Economic Development. Beside his passion for food, Minh enjoys writing, wines and friendships.
KHOI NGUYEN is currently studying American Studies at University of Minnesota. They received a MA in Women’s Studies with a concentration on queer Asian American literature at Southern Connecticut State University. Khoi taught creative writing to high school youth for the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and started DVAN’s Youth Program. They lectured in Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University.
DO THI TUYET NGAHonorary Board/Core member
Designer: My-Lan Tran
Video: Antwan Vu
Data: Albert Yuen
Program assistant: Philip Nguyen
Photographer: David Pham