E. J. Koh
E. J. Koh is the author of the memoir The Magical Language of Others (Tin House Books, 2020), Washington State Book Award winner, Pacific Northwest Book Award winner, Association of Asian American Studies Book Award winner, and PEN Open Book Award longlist. Koh is the author of the poetry collection A Lesser Love (Louisiana State U. Press, 2017), Pleiades Editors Prize for Poetry winner. She is the co-translator of Yi Won’s poetry collection The World’s Lightest Motorcycle (Zephyr Press, 2021), Literature Translation Institute of Korea’s Translation Grand Prize winner. Koh has received fellowships from the American Literary Translators Association, MacDowell, and Kundiman. Her work has appeared in AGNI, the Atlantic, Boston Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Poetry, Slate, World Literature Today, and elsewhere. Koh earned her MFA at Columbia University in New York for creative writing and literary translation. Koh is a PhD candidate at the University of Washington in English literature, studying Korean American literature, history, and film. Her debut novel The Liberators is forthcoming fall 2023.
After hanging up the call with news of support by the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Creative Writing, I had to translate for my mother what it was and not only what it meant to me but what it meant to her. I was not prepared, but I found these words in Korean: “It’s something that makes sure you don’t have to worry about me. It means your daughter can speak and be heard. And for you it means that our stories, you and me, we can be part of the world.” I am grateful to everyone at the NEA for the support of the grant at this time. This award has transformed the work I must do toward new ways of seeing and being together in the world.