By LeAnn Nguyen
March 5, 2018 for ethnicseattle.com
March is Women’s History Month, dedicated to celebrating the contributions that women have made to history and society. While women have been involved in many areas, we wanted to highlight a few who tell us stories.
Seattle has been home to quite a few notable female writers, including a number of women of color. Here are five women of color authors from Seattle whose works you can enjoy this month!
A daughter of a Filipino immigrant father and a Filipina-Mexican-American mother, Donna Miscolta grew up in Southern California before moving to Seattle as a young woman. She went on to earn Master’s degrees in Education and Public Affairs at the University of Washington. While her day job is working as a project manager for King County, Miscolta is also an accomplished writer. Her published work, which is inspired in part by her Filipina-Latina upbringing, includes the two books When the de la Cruz Family Danced and Hola and Goodbye. The latter has received several awards, including an Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal.
A graduate of Western Washington University and current resident of Seattle, Ijeoma Oluo began her writing career following the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin. Her work, which covers topics such as race, feminism, and social justice, has since appeared in news outlets including The Stranger and The Guardian, and her accolades include being named one of the 50 most influential women in Seattle by the Seattle Met in 2018. Her books have also been met with praise, with the recently-released So You Want to Talk About Race being named “New & Noteworthy” by The New York Times.
Monica Sone grew up in Seattle as a daughter of Japanese immigrants. In 1942, her family was targeted by federal authorities under Executive Order 9066, which forcibly removed Japanese-Americans from the West Coast and relocated them to concentration camps. Sone and her family were relocated to the Puyallup Assembly Center before being moved to a camp in Idaho, where she remained until 1943. Sone recounted this experience in her memoir Nisei Daughter, which went on to become a classic of Asian-American literature for its portrayal of her family’s relocation, as well as what it was like to be Japanese-American in Seattle in the 1930s.
A native of Pakistan, Maliha Masood moved to Seattle in 1982, where she studied International Business at the University of Washington. After taking a backpacking trip to the Middle East shortly before September 11, 2001, Masood decided to write about her experiences in her memoir Zaatar Days, Henna Nights to help bridge the Arab-Muslim world with the rest of the world. Now a full-time writer, Masood continues to write about topics including Islam, gender, and culture. She also co-wrote and appeared in a PBS documentary called Nazrah: A Muslim Woman’s Perspective.
A California native who moved to Seattle in 1999, Octavia Butler’s science fiction earned two of the most prestigious awards for the genre, the Hugo and Nebula awards, multiple times. She was also the first ever science fiction writer to earn the MacArthur Fellowship (or “Genius Grant”). Though much of her writing was fantastical, Butler’s inspirations include her real-life experiences with racism and sexism, and her work envisioned a future of diverse, multi-ethnic (and multi-species) communities.
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