Congratulations to Neema Avashia for releasing her collection of essays Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place. As a queer Asian American teacher and writer, Avashia uses her experiences and identity to write something entirely unique and inspirational with hopes that readers will see Appalachia in a new light. She puts Appalachia at the center of the narrative to draw lessons she has learned about “…race and class, gender and sexuality [and how they] continue to inform the way she moves through the world today…” Using lyric and narrative explorations of beauty standards, religion, social media, and more, Neema Avashia shatters stereotypes and shakes up the way we see the world in the best way.
Neema Avashia, in this book, has named the unnamed, spoken the unspoken so that it does not become—to paraphrase Adrienne Rich—the unspeakable, and she has done so in language that is both lyrical and direct, both entertaining and edifying, both challenging and generous. I love this book and believe it introduces an important voice in America’s ongoing racial reckoning.
Rahul Mehta, author of No Other Worldup
You can find one of the essays featured in this collection, “Finding the Holy in an Unholy Coconut,” in Issue 23 of SR. You can read more about Neema on her website and follow her on Twitter.