Since the inception of the first Lao American Writers Summit in Minneapolis, Minnesota took place in 2010, the places and spaces where a thriving community for poets, authors, playwrights and screenwriters who identify themselves as Lao/Laotian American has since grown exponentially. What started out as an idea among three writers has turned into a national convening of artists and creatives whose works intersects with the very concept of writing from a Lao American diaspora perspective. As a result, Lao Americans are now among the award-winning literary elites, and have been recognized by the larger national Lao American community.
The mission of the Lao American Writers Summit is to provide support for Lao American writers, both emerging and established. With each LAWS taking place in cities where the local Lao community, the Summit should always hold space for:
A nationally recognized Laotian American writer will facilitate each writing workshop. Workshops will consist of writing exercises and group discussions on participants’ writing. At each workshop, participants will write and workshop new pieces in their genre of preference. Participants have the opportunity to take a workshop with every faculty member.
For emerging writers and non-artist participants, panels will be held to highlight the current state of Lao American arts, opportunities and experiences of individual artists and to examine the positive potential arts have on individual and community growth.
Community members will have an opportunity to meet national, regional and local arts, philanthropic and refugee service organizations, publishers and researchers who can answer questions and advise writers and artists on significant opportunities.
Additionally, each hosting city will add programs and events that highlight local talent, adding what is unique to their own Lao American communities. Past LAWS have included performance showcases and gallery exhibits.