Call for Essays

February 1st, 2012

Tao of Parenthood: An Anthology of Essays

Description of Anthology:

There is no essential “Tao” or “way” of parenthood. This literary anthology of personal essays by and about writers of Asian ancestry will try to capture the multitude of perspectives on the impact of Asian culture, heritage, and identity on your experience as a child, on raising children, or on deciding whether to have children.

While Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” was a single narrative about a specific family, this anthology aims to open up the conversation. We are seeking stories to expand the perspectives of Asian parents and childhood within and beyond the American context. We welcome men and women writers with ancestry from Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Maldives). We also welcome those who are not of Asian descent, but are raising children of Asian descent.

This unique collection of literary essays, memoirs, and short creative nonfiction will reveal the diverse experiences of Asian writers worldwide.

Who Should Submit An Essay:

Writers from various perspectives are welcome to submit essays of all forms. Anyone self-identifying as Asian or mixed heritage Asian in any way is invited to submit their first person essay. This is an inclusive collection and seeks to highlight as many true stories as possible. We hope to hear from various generations, parents, grandparents, extended family members, nontraditional families, and biological and adoptive adult children. Also, those who are considering parenthood or those who have chosen not to become parents or those experiencing fertility challenges. We would like to hear from as many voices of experience as possible.

The essays must be true stories exploring some aspect of Asian culture and parenthood.

Kinds of Essays We’re Interested In:

Tell us a unique story about growing up Asian or raising Asian children. Break a silence. Speak a truth. Our primary criterion is that the narrative be engaging, true, and well-written.

Were you raised or affected by an Asian parent? Are you an Asian parent today? Are you raising an Asian child(ren) from an adoption? In what ways has Asian identity, culture, or heritage influenced your perspective towards parenthood?

You might interview your parents and write this up. (See StoryCorps examples at and sample:

You may write on anything related to the topic, but if you’re looking for ideas, here are some questions that may help you begin.

1. What did you appreciate about your Asian parent(s)? What did you despise? How have these perspectives changed over time?
2. What impact does Asian culture or ancestry have on you as a parent?
3. Was there a specific cultural revelation about your parent(s) or child(ren) that has informed how you approach parenthood?
4. If you have decided against becoming a parent yourself, do any factors have to do with how you were raised in connection to cultural heritage?
5. What culture clashes occurred between you and your parent(s) or child(ren)?
6. Would you like to interview your parent(s) and whether their Asian cultural knowledge or experience impacted how you were raised?



Submission deadline is April 1, 2012.


Email your 750-3000 word essay (first person personal essay, memoir, creative nonfiction) for consideration as a Microsoft Word file (DOC, DOCX), PDF, or text file to along with a brief email introducing yourself. MLA-format preferred (12 pt Times New Roman, double spaced, page numbers, title, name).

Unpublished work is preferred, but your previously published work is welcomed if rights have reverted back to you and you can supply a text file. Expect a decision within 3 months of submission. Simultaneous submissions accepted, but please withdraw the piece as soon as it is accepted elsewhere.

We’re looking for true stories: creative nonfiction, literary essays, memoir, autobiographical comics, or other innovative forms. The work must be in English or translated to English.

Publication Details

We do not have a publisher yet, but we are seeking publication by April of 2014. At the very least, we will pursue print-on-demand and e-book format. We would like to pay our contributors, but at this point, this is a volunteer effort and we hope to raise enough money to offer contributor copies.

Contact Information
Please contact Anh Nguyen Merrick ( with questions.

About the Editors

Anh Nguyen Merrick immigrated from Vietnam to the U.S. with her parents at the age of 4. Anh majored in English Literature at Bryn Mawr College and completed her masters at Harvard Divinity School. She has a 3.5 yr. old child and has recently immigrated to Australia.

Grace Talusan immigrated from the Philippines to the U.S. with her parents at age 3. Grace was awarded an Artist Grant in Fiction Writing from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a residency at Hedgebrook, and other fellowships and awards. Her work has been published in Solstice, Boston Magazine, Boston Globe Magazine, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, and Grace teaches writing at Tufts University and Grub Street. Grace is not a mother, but a very active aunt to eight nieces and nephews.

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