In 2012, the Asian American Writers' Workshop launched a set of online magazines in order to build conversations around cutting-edge ideas in Asian American literature, art, and social justice. Though the aims of our publications are distinct, both of them are committed to the reinvention and advancement of Asian American intellectual culture.

  • The Margins is our magazine of arts and ideas dedicated to charting the rise of the Asian American creative class through essays, interviews, and creative writing.
  • Open City is our narrative journalism magazine that seeks to tell the stories of Asian American neighborhoods, primarily in New York.

We’re looking for 1) original creative writing, whether poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or even interdisciplinary work; 2) essays on literature and politics by sophisticated thinkers who can speak to a general audience about race, gender, sexuality, immigration, postcolonialism, pop culture, and diaspora; 3) reportage about immigrant communities in NYC by narrative storytellers who can set a scene with rich imagery and descriptive detail. 

Our stories have been linked to by the Wall Street Journal, the New Inquiry and the New York Times. Our contributors have included Jessica Hagedorn, Hanya Yanagihara, Chang-rae Lee, Bhanu Kapil, Ashok Kondabolu, Jenny Zhang, Katie Kitamura, Hua Hsu, Kim Hyesoon, Alexander Chee, Vijay Iyer, and Yoko Ogawa. See below for ways you can submit your work!

Have you found the Muslim Ban as maddening, tragic, and absurd as we have? Well, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop is calling for submissions of creative writing that imagine new narratives, concepts, and futures in response to the Muslim Ban. As you may have seen, the Supreme Court’s reinstatement of the Ban restricted nationals of six predominantly Muslim countries and refugees–unless they can prove they’ve got a “bona fide relationship” with the United States. At AAWW, we want to ask what’s a bona fide relationship, anyway?

We’re calling writers to send stories, poems, essays, and interviews that answer this question and engage with the Muslim Ban while also offering creative openings from which to imagine new narratives. What does it mean to have a bona fide relationship to a country? Or to have your bona fide relationship to your family defined by the state? What bona fide relationships do you want to have? While we’re interested in your TSA nightmares, we’re looking for stories that aren’t just reactive but create new counter-narratives. We’re not looking for rants or op-eds, but pieces that may indirectly speak to themes of belonging (or exclusion), identity, and marginalization through this vehicle of examining the Supreme Court’s language. Get as creative as you like–we’re open to work that resides across/between genres, including speculative fiction, journalism, visual art, comics, and stand-up. Priority will be given to writers from Muslim communities and refugee populations, but we welcome submissions from all.

Time is of the essence here. No word minimum or limit. Work will be considered for publication in the BONA FIDE RELATIONSHIPS portfolio on AAWW’s online magazine, The Margins.

Beyond the scope of the travel ban/Supreme Court, we are looking to publish stories, essays, poetry, interviews, and interdisciplinary work by writers from Muslim, Middle Eastern and South Asian communities. Whether you’re an established or emerging voice, please submit your work!

Application deadline: Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 11:59 pm
Fellowship starts: October 24, 2017
Information Session: Thursday, August 24, 6:00 pm at AAWW, 112 W 27 Street, 6FL, NYC 10001

The Asian American Writers’ Workshop is now accepting applications for the Open City Fellowship, a unique opportunity for emerging Asian American writers to publish narrative nonfiction over the span of six months on the vibrant immigrant communities of New York City.

For the Fall 2017 fellowship, Open City will offer a $2,500 grant, skill-building workshops, and publishing opportunities to writers to write about the vibrant Asian immigrant communities of New York City. The Fellowship spans six months, starting in October 2017 and ending in late April 2018.  

We are especially looking for writers eager to work on neighborhood-based stories in Sunset Park, Bay Ridge, Midwood, and Boerum Hill in Brooklyn; Manhattan's Chinatown; Astoria, Flushing, Jackson Heights and Richmond Hill in Queens; and other growing Asian immigrant communities across New York City, including those in Staten Island and the Bronx. 

Apply for an Open City Project Grant if you:
  • are a strong, voice-driven storyteller who cares about social justice movements and wants to transport readers to places like Flushing, Queens, and Sunset Park, Brooklyn;
  • have an entrepreneurial spirit and understand that building a career as a writer includes building a social media presence;  
  • can demonstrate nonfiction writing experience and a dedication to developing a writing career; and 
  • are excited about getting your hands dirty in "the field" and cultivating trust and sources in your neighborhood.

Open City documents the pulse of metropolitan Asian America as it's being lived on the streets of New York right now. We're looking for writers to create deft, engaging narratives that bring the face, name, place, and heart of the community to issues like gentrification, immigration, Islamophobia, community policing and racial and gender discrimination. 

Previous Fellows have gone on to write and report for Granta, Al Jazeera America, the American Prospect and Slate, among other outlets. Their works during their time as Fellows have been picked up by NPR, The Atlantic Cities, and the New York Times.  


The Fellowship duration is six months, starting in October 2017 and ending in late April 2018.


All applicants must carefully read our FAQ before applying to determine whether or not they are eligible. Open City Project Grants are open to emerging Asian American writers who reside in New York City. To be considered, you must apply through this Submittable form. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us at opencitymag [at] gmail [dot] com.

  2. Get to know Open City.
  3. Fill out the application below and submit by 11:59 pm on September 5, 2017. There is no application fee. We do not accept handwritten documents, letters of recommendation, or support materials.

All Open City Fellowship applicants must submit story proposals that comprise pitches and outlines the stories they plan to write for Open City over the span of the six-month grant period. Please read the FAQ for more details on how to structure the proposal. 

Current Fellows may apply for a second round of Fellowship funding if they have completed all the requirements of their current Fellowship. Fellows will need to wait a year after their second six-month Fellowship to apply again. Past Open City Fellows prior to 2017 may apply for six-month Open City Fellowships.

The Margins, AAWW's arts and ideas magazine, is now accepting pitches for nonfiction features and essays. We have published essays and features by writers including Matthew Salesses, Hua Hsu,  V.V. Ganeshananthan, Chaitali Sen, Alex Jung, Oliver Wang, Scott Kurashige, Annie Paul, Sejal Shah, Jennifer Pan, and Thuy Linh Tu.

We're looking to publish:

  • Essays on recently published works of Asian and Asian American literature as well as critical essays about a single writer's body of work (please note that we do not publish straightforward book reviews)
  • Lively essays and cultural commentary written through the lens of race, immigration, and transnationalism
  • Reported features profiling writers and artists of interest
  • Researched pieces that examine countercultural figures and movements and histories of Asian America
  • Creative nonfiction pieces and lyric essays
  • Deeply researched "explainers," or articles that help unpack topics or conversations using multiple sources (for example, an intro to queer Asian American literature)


Examples of nonfiction features and essays we've published in The Margins:

In "Five Boroughs, Seven Killings," Rishi Nath goes in search of the New York City of Marlon James' Booker Prize-winning novel A Brief History of Five Killings.

In "The Limits of Diversity," Jennifer Pan writes on how the feel-good politics of multiculturalism have blinded the literary world to the real roots of racial inequality. 

In "The Ghosts They Carried," Kitana Ananda writes about Shyam Selvadurai's latest novel, The Hungry Ghosts, and the violence that haunts the lives of many in post-war Sri Lanka.

In "The Skin I'm In," Naeem Mohaiemen writes about an early lost history of a time of Black-Bengali racial solidarity though Vivek Bald's Bengali Harlem.

Michelle Chen profiles artist Matt Huynh, whose interactive graphic comic adaptation of Nam Le's short story "The Boat" connects to a conversation about refugees today.

In "Fu Manchu and Lao She," Jeffrey Wasserstrom brings together an extraordinary, fictional supervillain with a Chinese writer best known for his tales of ordinary Beijing life.

Every Tuesday, the Margins publishes the work of emerging and established Asian American poets. We accept submissions for our Poetry Tuesday feature. Please allow at least five weeks for a response.

We’re looking for:
  • Poetry that challenges/subverts convention (in both poetry and society)
  • Poetry that is not afraid to be humorous, dirty, and obscene
  • Poetry that explores history
  • Poetry that responds to current events and issues
  • Translations of poetry (given the submitter explains that he/she/they has/have acquired the rights to publish them, along with the originals)


  • Poems need not be a specific length/form/style (e.g. long, short, formal, free verse, erasure)
  • Submissions should be no longer than six pages total. Multiple poems may be submitted in the same document.

Are you a New York City-based Chinese American who feels strongly that the arts and culture scene of first-generation Chinese in Manhattan's Chinatown needs to be shared to a wider audience? The Asian American Writers’ Workshop is looking for writers who will cover and write about events like Cantonese opera, local art shows, calligraphy, tai chi, etc. 

The Manhattan Chinatown Arts project aims to bridge generations and to introduce traditional Chinese arts and culture to second-generation Asian American audiences. 

Send us your story pitches (not more than two per submission) and your resume. Kindly include a cover letter. 

Your stories will be posted in Open City, a digital magazine of the the Asian American Writers' Workshop. We have a small budget for writer's honorarium.