Asian American Literary Review Special Issue on Mental Health Testimonial Tapestry Project: Call for Submissions


Seeking short narratives/testimonies (50-100 words) and visual art related to Asian American mental wellness and mental illness for a 2017 special issue of The Asian American Literary Review (AALR), an arts and humanities intervention that rethinks how we understand mental health in Asian American communities. While many note the prevalence among Asian Americans of mental health issues such as depression, suicide, addiction, and psychological oppression, there is still a limited vocabulary and narrow understanding of Asian American psychological or emotional dis-ease, trauma, grief, and/or healing within our communities, even among scholars and social welfare or mental health practitioners. To address these silences and gaps in knowledge, we invite short narrative and graphic submissions on topics of Asian American mental wellness and mental illness to be included in a “Testimonial Tapestry.”


The “Testimonial Tapestry” is intended to be a fold-out, graphic poster accompanying the AALR journal issue representing a collection of narrative and visual art testimonies. Placed together like a quilt, the tapestry pieces will give physical and collective form to the often solitary, silenced, inner, and amorphous aspects of Asian American mental health. The creation of the “Testimonial Tapestry” will be a collaborative process; some selected submissions may be invited for further development in partnership with other submitting writers and/or artists in order to create original, collaborative pieces for inclusion in the tapestry.


The co-curators of the Tapestry seek submissions that speak to the following suggested themes and topics. We seek a range of submissions reflecting diverse and multidisciplinary mental health perspectives, experiences, issues, and positionalities within processes of wellness or illness, such as crisis, healing, surviving, and thriving. We welcome diverse contributors, including Pacific Islander, Southeast Asian, South Asian, queer and transgender, academic and non-academic writers of all ages, and diverse tones/styles, from quietly contemplative to angry and provocative. Therefore, the list below is neither exclusive nor exhaustive. We invite text-based and visual submissions (e.g., drawings, paintings, graphic images, photos).

●Mental illness, disease

● Trauma, injury, damage, (dis)ability, pain

● Suicide, depression, bullying, identity crises

● Psychology of oppression, coloniality, war, violence, terror

● Mental health, wellness, healing, survival

● Reparation, accountability, responsibility

● Unspeakability, irrevocability, death, silence

● Intersectionalities of race/ethnicity, gender, sex, sexual orientation, class, ability, age, generation, and national/transnational identities in relation to mental health

● Racialization, aspirational whiteness

● Family dynamics, family and/or partner violence, familial expectations, shame/shaming

● Racialization, aspirational whiteness

● Family dynamics, family and/or partner violence, familial expectations, shame/shaming

● Transgenerational, intergenerational, or historical trauma

● Navigating mental health care systems, traditional and alternative therapies

● Cosmologies/philosophies of mind, body, wellness and illness, religion, spirituality

● Grief, mourning, remembrance, witnessing

● Representing, speaking, testifying, documenting pain, injury, or trauma


Submission Information:

Text-based submissions must be in Microsoft Word or PDF format; visual submissions must be in JPG/JPEG or PDF format. Submissions must also include contact information (name, email, phone, mailing address), as well as a brief description of visual art submissions. Accepted submissions may be published anonymously if the author so chooses.
All submissions must be submitted by uploading to the AALR Testimonial Tapestry Submissions Dropbox folder through the following link:

Due: April 19, 2016

Questions: Address inquiries to Eliza Noh and Tammy Ho at


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