Graffiti (Aunt Lute Books)
The editors of GRAFFITI gave the contributors a special challenge: to write in a way that centers neither "whiteness" nor "anti-whiteness”, that is not limited by their struggle, their oppression, or how their characters will be received by the white imagination. To create a literary safe space of creative play far removed from the white gaze. A place where POC can focus on one another in solidarity.
The results are joyous and mind-expanding. Contributors to GRAFFITI include American Book Award-winner Tongo Eisen-Martin, award-winning fantasy author L. Penelope, award-winning writer Vickie Vértiz, alongside Kirin Khan, Gary Dauphin, Sarah LaBrie, Alycia Pirmohamed, Kanika Punwani, and many other acclaimed writers. It features a foreword by poet and novelist Elmaz Abinader, and an introduction by novelist Nayomi Munaweera.
Through poetry, short stories, and essays, the works in GRAFFITI expose lives that move in unexpected ways, rendering characters who don’t fit the cultural tropes we cling to. GRAFFITI shows what writers-of-color do when they are given permission to scribble, scrawl, romanticize, and speculate, without being politicized or exoticized.
Praise for Graffiti:
“This stunning collection bursts with power, vision, and originality. Graffiti is a sampling of some of the most vital and exciting writers of color out there.” — Mark Sarvas, author of Memento Park
“Graffiti isn’t just a brilliantly composed collection, it is an absolutely essential one. I feel fundamentally changed after having read this powerful anthology.”— Alex Espinoza, author of Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime
“Graffiti springs forth like an anthem from a future, where, unaware of the white gaze and ethnic codification, people of color are one.” —Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us
Vickie Vértiz was born and raised in Bell Gardens, a southeast Los Angeles city. Her writing is featured in the New York Times magazine, Spiral Orb, Huizache, Nepantla, Omniverse, the Los Angeles Review of Books, KCET Departures, and the anthologies Open the Door (The Poetry Foundation and McSweeney’s, 2013), and The Coiled Serpent (Tia Chucha Press, 2016), among many others. Vértiz’s first full collection of poetry, Palm Frond with Its Throat Cut, was published in the Camino del Sol Series and won a PEN America Literary Prize in 2018. A member of Miresa, a cooperative speaker's bureau, Vickie teaches in the MFA writing program at Otis College of Art and Design.
Ramy El-Etreby is a queer, Muslim, Arab American writer, performer, storyteller, and educator based in Los Angeles, California. His writings have appeared in the Huffington Post, Queerty, KCET, and the ground-breaking anthology Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex, and Intimacy (Beacon Press, 2014).
Kanika Punwani has an MFA in creative writing from Rutgers University–Newark, where she was also a professor of English. An editor and writer, her nonfiction spans the travel, lifestyle, and culture sectors and has appeared in several Indian publications. A VONA alum, she is currently working on a debut short-story collection that deals with themes of home, identity, and migrations.
Pallavi Dhawan is a writer and lawyer living in Los Angeles. She received her bachelor of arts in political science and international relations as well as her juris doctor from University of California, Los Angeles. She is an alumna of VONA/Voices, the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and Hedgebrook. She is working on her first novel.
Tamika Thompson is a writer, producer, and journalist. Her fiction is forthcoming in or has been published by Glass Mountain, Literary Orphans, the Matador Review, Orca, and Huizache, among others. Her nonfiction is forthcoming in or has been published by the New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, the Huffington Post, Another Chicago Magazine, MUTHA Magazine, and PBS.org. She lives in the Chicago metropolitan area with her husband and two children. You can find her at www.tamikathompson.com.
Gary Dauphin is a Haitian American writer based in Los Angeles. His nonfiction has appeared in Artforum, Village Voice, Vibe Magazine, Lacanian Ink and the National Magazine Award– nominated Bidoun. He attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop in 2007 and was once described in the New York Times as "hard to categorize."