Artist Talk | San Francisco | Oct 30


I’m reading at a short and sweet event with artist Headphone Record this upcoming Tuesday.

Artist Talk
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.”

Kindly RSVP by October 29.

Update: Thanks to everyone who came to see us! Nathalie has added notes and links from the talk to her website.


Work by Nathalie Roland aka Headphone Record


Lit Crawl San Francisco | Oct 20

A program for Litquake 2018 next to a cup of coffee and a plate with a cookie. The cover of the guide has an illustration of 5 people, who appear to be women, with books

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

Melissa Hung
Grace Hwang Lynch
Sabina Khan-Ibarra
Shikha Saklani Malaviya
Michelle Villegas Threadgould
Thy Tran

Hosted by:
Jennifer Ng

Free admission

Hella Asian | Oakland | July 13


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

Storyteller Line-Up:
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

Tickets available here.


Literary / News
A photo illustration of a Filet-O-Fish against a background of yellow, green, and blue.

Shondaland has published my essay on a very important topic: my love of the Filet-O-Fish — and why it was the only McDonald’s item my immigrant family would eat (besides the fries, of course). I loved hearing from so many people after this piece ran about their own McFish memories. Anecdotal evidence suggests it’s a fast-food favorite of many immigrants: Chinese, Bengali, Korean, Somali, Filipino, and more. I was moved to learn that this fish-and-cheese combo connected us all.

Illustration by Brianna Ellis-Mitchell for Shondaland

Things I Wrote in 2017

A reconstructed guard tower at Manzanar. In the distance are snow-capped mountains.

As I look back on 2017, I wanted to share a few things that I wrote this year.

I wrote about my relationship with swimming and how it helps with chronic pain and writer’s block. It was my first published personal essay, thanks to editor extraordinaire Nicole Chung.

In April I wrote an essay about visiting Manzanar, site of an internment camp where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II.

In August, in the midst of Hurricane Harvey, I penned a love letter to Houston, my hometown.

Journalism wise, I reported on gentrification in Chinatowns across America.

I interviewed educators, parents, and kids about how youth and schools are coping with the political climate after the presidential election.

I talked to education experts about whether colleges and universities are ready to serve the increasing number of students of color.

I got to do some uplifting stories too, like this one about a 70-year-old immigrant woman who ran 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents.

I interviewed actor Danny Pudi about his childhood and his first romantic lead role in a film.

And I talked to novelist Lisa Ko about her debut novel, “The Leavers.”

Photos From the Road to Manzanar

Journalism / Other Stuff
A sign by the side of an empty road reads, "Vacancy, Motel."

I wanted to share a few photos I took in early April  when I drove to Manzanar National Historic Site, the former internment camp where Japanese Americans were incarcerated, to write this essay for NPR.





1) Vacancy sign in Cartago, CA along U.S. Route 395. I had to drive the southern route from San Francisco because the northern route was impassable due to a storm. This added two hours to the drive. (Total drive time: about eight hours).  2) Recreation of a guard tower at Manzanar. There had been eight.  3) The remains of what was once a garden at Manzanar. Residents built gardens to make camp life feel a little more normal.  4) Offerings by the Manzanar cemetery and monument.  5) The post office in Independence, CA, the closest inhabited area to Manzanar, about six miles north.