Open Mic following, limited to 5 readers, 4 min max, first come first serve
Hosted by Adela Najarro & harold terezon
2020 was not an easy year, so each one of these pieces of writing is a little victory.
I started the year off thinking I had cleverly tricked myself into writing on a regular schedule because I convinced Catapult to give me a column. It’s called Pain in the Brain and it’s about my chronic headache.
For the first column installment, I wrote about the meaning of keeping a headache diary. In the second, I wrote about my uneasy relationship with a body in constant pain and learning a meditation called the body scan. In the third, I wrote about weathering chronic pain in the pandemic without the one thing that consistently helps me, swimming. It’s also about how chronic pain has given me a kind of resilience.
For the San Francisco Chronicle, I wrote about a place I love, San Francisco Chinatown, and how the community is faring in the pandemic.
I also contributed to Resy’s Chinatown USA series with an essay about my love of honey walnut shrimp.
Lastly, my flash nonfiction piece about aunties at the YMCA found a home at Jellyfish Review. I think about the aunties often. I hope they’re doing OK.
Artwork by Jeannie Phan for Resy
Thrilled to be reading at Kearny Street Workshop in celebration of two new books: Little Gods by Meng Jin and Last of Her Name by Mimi Lok. This reading honors powerful stories about Asian women that bend time and place in their journeys to seek answers and connection in the aftermath of grief, displacement, and diaspora.
Friday, February 7, 2020, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
KSW Presents: Meng Jin & Mimi Lok
Arc Gallery & Studios, 1246 Folsom Street, San Francisco
$8 – $20 | Get tickets
Readings by: Emily Yamauchi, Melissa Hung, Rowena Singer, Grace Li, Sheri Park, C.E. Shue, and Lia Dun.
Curated by: Michelle Lin and Kazumi Chin
It has been a goal of mine to be published in Longreads, and it happened this year! I wrote a personal essay about my relationship to Cantonese, my mother, and Chinatown.
For the San Francisco Chronicle, I wrote about the myth of authentic cuisines and how Tex-Mex is my comfort food.
For Pacific Standard (RIP), I wrote about how the People’s Kitchen Collective preserves cultural memory and carries on the legacy of the Black Panthers’ Free Breakfast program through free community meals.
Artwork by Olivia Waller for Longreads
2019 Instructors: Tongo Eisen-Martin, Elaine Castillo, Marga Gomez
2019 Fellows: Amber Butts, Cesar Cadabes, K-Ming Chang, Paula Mirando, Naihobe Gonzalez, Melissa Hung, Sarah Matsui, Jenna Peng, Damali Robertson, Dena Rod, Golda Sargento, Karthikraman Sethuraman, Maya Sisneros, Raia Small, J. Xiang
October 19, 2019, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Wabi-Sabi, 888 Valencia, San Francisco
Free, Details here
Potluck Club: Women writers of color reflect on the idea of home.
Featuring: Grace Hwang Lynch, Michelle Villegas Threadgould, Shikha Malaviya, Sabina Khan-Ibarra, Melissa Hung, and Jenn Chen
October 24, 2019, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Five Ruby Readings: Works in Progress by San Francisco Arts Commission Grantees
The Ruby, San Francisco
Free, RSVP required
Join Ruby writers and San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Commission grantees Celeste Chan, Melissa Hung, Shruti Swamy, Virgie Tovar and Michelle Wallace for an intimate reading of works in progress.
Image is of Connection: Tanabe Chikuunsai IV at the Asian Art Museum
A look back on some of the things I wrote this year:
I wrote about my grandparents’ immigration story (and their grocery store that sustained our family) for Southwest the Magazine.
Shondaland let me write about various obsessions, such as why I have a soft spot for the Filet-O-Fish, the only fast food my immigrant family would eat. I also wrote about the calming experience that is shopping at Muji and how pajamas help me feel like I’m properly adulting.
Journalism-wise, some of my favorite stories were food-related. The new publication Popula published my story about a local farmer, culture, and climate change.
For the San Francisco Chronicle, I wrote about three immigrants who opened up a hole-in-the-wall Uighur restaurant. They way they put everything into their business reminded me of my grandparents putting everything into theirs.
I also wrote about Chef Chu’s in Silicon Valley, how it began as a take-out counter and became the power-lunch establishment it is today. The story, for Eater, touches on the migration of Chinese food in America and ideas of authenticity.
Not a fun story, but an important one that ran in Pacific Standard: How Airbnb is contributing to gentrification in Boston Chinatown.
Another Chinatown story, this one in San Francisco. I learned so much about the history of the Chinese New Year parade and how it’s a story of immigrant survival in the face of discrimination and racism.
Photo by Michelle Min
I’m reading at a short and sweet event with artist Headphone Record this upcoming Tuesday.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 5:30 – 7 p.m.
Arion Press, 1802 Hays Street, San Francisco. It’s in the Presidio near the 14th Ave and Lake street Presidio entrance.
Two San Francisco artists will present on their recent works on the theme of persisting. Nathalie Roland, a visual artist, will talk about works in progress and her collaboration with other artists as a strategy for surviving in a changing city. Writer Melissa Hung will read from her essay “To Swim is to Endure.”
Update: Thanks to everyone who came to see us! Nathalie has added notes and links from the talk to her website.
Image by Nathalie Roland
I’ll be reading inside a vintage clothing store at Lit Crawl San Francisco, the massive one-night literary crawl through the city’s Mission District. Lit Crawl is part of the weeklong Litquake festival, which starts on October 11.
Stirring the Pot: Women writers of color reflect on food, migration, and culture.
Saturday, October 20, 2018, 5 – 6 p.m.
Wallflower, 1176 Valencia St, San Francisco
Featuring: Melissa Hung, Grace Hwang Lynch, Sabina Khan-Ibarra, Shikha Saklani Malaviya, Michelle Villegas Threadgould, and Thy Tran
Hosted by Jennifer Ng
I’m speaking at HELLA ASIAN, a storytelling event featuring Asian American and Pacific Islander media makers and creatives. Proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit the Asian American Journalists Association’s San Francisco chapter. There will be small bites and beverages too.
Friday, July 13, 2018, 7 – 10 p.m.
Impact Hub Oakland
Melissa Hung, Writer; Founding Editor, Hyphen
RJ Lozada, Filmmaker
Michelle Le, Director of Photography, Anxy Magazine
Sinduja Rangarajan, Data journalist, CIR
Robert Handa, Reporter, NBC News Bay Area
Leo Jung, Creative Director, California Sunday Magazine
The Ho’omalu Family from the Academy of Hawaiian Arts, hula dancers
If you fly Southwest Airlines, check out the April issue of their magazine. I have an essay about my grandparents’ grocery store. It’s also the story of my family’s journey from a rural village in Southern China to El Paso, Texas. (I would like to take a moment to say: Yay print magazines!)
You can also read it here.