Quang Bao, executive director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, is leaving the organization. The Workshop is a national not-for-profit arts organization devoted to the creating, publishing, developing and disseminating of creative writing by Asian Americans. Members of the workshop include not only writers but also supporters of writers and the Asian American community.
Bao joined the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in 1999 as managing director, and became the executive director in 2000. Over the next eight years he became a familiar face to those who attended the readings, book parties, and panel discussions held at the Workshop’s Manhattan loft.
Those not living in the New York area could get a sense of his character through the letters he sent to the mailing list several times a year. These requests for donations came wrapped in anecdotes about writing, news about the workshop, and even bits of memoir. In addition they revealed Bao’s congenial personality.
In his most recent letter, Bao cited creative reasons for leaving the workshop. Bao himself is a writer, and felt that he needed to step down in order to create space to write. In a phone interview, Bao said, “I just felt that it was time. I don’t think people should stay at a small arts organization for years and years. It’s a chance for everything to be refreshed.”
The Asian American Writers’ Workshop is currently looking for new leadership. The new director, Bao said, should have strengths in fundraising, collaborative programs, and developing a new, specific and clear direction for the organization.