Food and Immigrant Life Conference: Session 5/Writers on Food and Migration

6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

At this event, a panel of notable writers will read fiction and nonfiction in which food is used to explore community building, alienation, and assimilation among immigrants to the United States and other countries. 


  • Von Diaz, multimedia journalist, oral historian, and journalist for Feet in 2 Worlds
  • Marie Myung-Ok Lee, author of Somebody's Daughter (Beacon Press, 2006)
  • Monique Truong, author of Bitter in the Mouth (Random House, 2010) and The Book of Salt (Houghton Mifflin, 2003)
  • Tiphanie Yanique, assistant professor, School of Writing; author of How to Escape from a Leper Colony (Graywolf Press, 2010)

Moderator: Luis Jaramillo, associate chair, Writing Program, The New School; co-editor of the journal The Inquisitive Eater: New School Food

Von Diaz is a multimedia journalist and oral historian based in New York City. Her reporting and research focuses on immigration, Latino culture, Cuba, and LGBT issues. She currently works as the Marketing & Communications Manager at El Museo del Barrio in New York City. She was born in Puerto Rico and holds a dual M.A. in Journalism and Latin American and Caribbean Studies from New York University, and a B.A. in Women's Studies from Agnes Scott College. Her work has been published by PRI’s The World, Latino USA, WNYC, and New American Media. She is a journalist for Feet in 2 Worlds, a program of the Center for NYC Affairs at The New School.

Marie Myung-Ok Lee is a fiction and nonfiction writer. Her work has appeared in GuernicaWitnessFiveChaptersThe New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington PostSlate, and she is a regular contributor to The Atlantic and Salon. She is author of Somebody’s Daughter, a Minnesota Book Award finalist. She has been a Fulbright Scholar and a fellow at MacDowell, Yaddo, and VCCA and is a founder and former board president of the Asian American Writers Workshop. She teaches creative writing at Brown and Columbia. Lee’s next novel is forthcoming with Simon & Schuster in 2014.

Monique Truong is a writer based in Brooklyn, New York who was born in Saigon, South Vietnam, in 1968. Her first novel wasThe Book of Salt (Houghton Mifflin, 2003)—a national bestseller and the recipient of the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the Bard Fiction Prize, the Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award, a PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles National Literary Award, an Association for Asian American Studies Poetry/Prose Award, and a Seventh Annual Asian American Literary Award. In 2003, The Book of Salt was also honored as a New York Times Notable Fiction Book, a Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction Book, one of the Village Voice’s 25 Favorite Books, and one of the Miami Herald‘s Top 10 Books. Her second novel, Bitter in the Mouth (Random House, 2010), is the inaugural selection of the Ladies’ Home Journal Book Club and received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was named a 25 Best Fiction Books of 2010 by Barnes & Noble, a 10 Best Fiction Books of 2010 by Hudson Booksellers, and the adult fiction Honor Book by the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association. Truong is also a contributing co-editor of Watermark: An Anthology of Vietnamese American Poetry & Prose (Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 1998).

Truong writes a monthly online food column entitled Ravenous for the New York Times’ T Magazine. She has contributed to Real Simple, Town & Country, Condé Nast Traveler, Allure, Saveur, Food & Wine, Gourmet, the Times of London (Saturday Magazine), Time Magazine (Asia edition), and other publications. Truong was a PEN/Robert Bingham Fellow, a Princeton University’s Hodder Fellow, and a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow.

Tiphanie Yanique is assistant professor in the MFA School of Writing at The New School for Public Engagement and is author ofHow to Escape from a Leper Colony (Graywolf Press, 2010). Yanique’s writing has won the 2011 BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Fiction, Boston Review Prize in Fiction, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship and an Academy of American Poet's Prize. She has been listed by the Boston Globe as one of the sixteen cultural figures to watch out for and by the National Book Foundation as one of the 2010 5 Under 35, a list announcing the next generation of fiction writers.

Luis Jaramillo is the associate chair of the Writing Program at the New School, where he oversees the undergraduate curriculum and the Riggio Honors Program: Writing and Democracy and teaches courses in fiction and nonfiction, and is co-editor of the journal The Inquisitive Eater: New School Food.His first book, The Doctor’s Wife, won the Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Contest, was an Oprah Book of the Week, and was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2012.

The panel is presented by the School of Writing at The New School for Public Engagement. 

For more information about the rest of the conference, please visit




Tishman Auditorium, Alvin Johnson/J. M. Kaplan Hall, 66 West 12th Street

$45 for the full conference + special issue of Social Research
$15 per session + special issue of Social Research
Free for all students (from any school)
Free for New School staff, faculty, and alumni

Box Office Information:

Single event purchases can be made online at any time at the New School Box Office. Series and discounted tickets must still be made in person or over the phone at The New School Box Office at 66 West 12th Street, main floor, Monday-Thursday 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., and Friday 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. The box office opens the first day of classes and closes after the last paid event of each semester. Reservations and inquiries can be made by emailing or calling 212.229.5488.

For events scheduled during the summer term, the box office will open one hour before each event.

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