Neema Avashia is the daughter of Indian immigrants and was born and raised in southern West Virginia. She has been an educator and activist in the Boston Public Schools since 2003 and was named a City of Boston Educator of the Year in 2013. Her first book, Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place, was published by West Virginia University Press in March 2022. It has been called “A timely collection that begins to fill the gap in literature focused mainly on the white male experience” by Ms. Magazine, and “A graceful exploration of identity, community, and contradictions,” by Scalawag. The book was named Best LGBTQ Memoir of 2022 by BookRiot, was one of the New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2022, and was a finalist for the New England Book Award, the Weatherford Award, and a Lambda Literary Award. Neema lives in Boston with her partner, Laura, and her daughter, Kahani.

Julia H. Lee is professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of three books: Interracial Encounters: Reciprocal Representations in African and Asian American Literatures, 1896-1937 (New York University Press, 2011), Understanding Maxine Hong Kingston (University of South Carolina Press, 2018), and The Racial Railroad (New York University Press, 2022). With Professor Josephine Lee, she is co-editor of Asian American Literature in Transition, 1850-1930 (Cambridge University Press, 2021), a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2022. You can find her on Instagram @julia.x.lee.

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