After a year that saw a disturbing rise in hate crimes directed at the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community, a new collaborative online speaker series is set to celebrate AAPI books, voices, cultures, and experiences. The series, AAPI Communities in Conversation, is a joint effort between the University of South Carolina's Augusta Baker Endowed Chair and Penguin Random House Library Marketing, with additional media support from Publishers Weekly.

The series will begin with its first live talk on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 at 1:00 pm ET with Naomi Hirahara, author of Clark & Division, and Sujata Massey, author of The Bombay Prince, in conversation with librarian Andrienne Cruz of Azusa City (California) Library. The talks are free. Register here.

The AAPI Communities in Conversation series aims to celebrate and highlight notable books by Asian American and Pacific Islander authors and creators, as well as increase the appreciation and understanding of the Asian and Pacific diasporic cultures, stories, and experiences. The Penguin Random House Library Marketing team is coordinating the series with Nicole A. Cooke, the Augusta Baker Endowed Chair and associate professor at the University of South Carolina's School of Library and Information Science (and a PW contributor).

Currently, there is a live talk scheduled for every month in 2022, with a tentative schedule to be posted in the coming weeks. The talks will also be promoted and recapped in PW’s weekly Preview for Librarians newsletter and will be archived later viewing on the PW web site.

“The series will highlight books written for adults, teens, and children across all genres from literary fiction, cookbooks, and graphic novels to mysteries and memoirs,” says Miriam Tuliao, senior library marketing manager at Penguin Random House, adding that the series is designed to help librarians and readers connect with a range of AAPI voices. “Librarians are committed to promoting diverse books in readers' advisory conversations, supporting diverse collection development, and hosting book-centered programs that meet the reading interests of diverse communities."

In addition to Hirahara and Massey, guest authors confirmed so far include National Book Award-winning author Malinda Lo (Last Night At The Telegraph Club), two-time Top Chef finalist Sheldon Simeon (Cook Real Hawai'i), romance writers Sara Desai (The Singles Table) and Jen Frederick (Seoulmates), and acclaimed children's authors James Yang (A Boy Named Isamu) and Andrea Wang (The Many Meanings Of Meilan).

Program moderators are public and academic librarians of Asian/Pacific descent and include adult and youth specialists, ALA emerging leaders, and active members of the Chinese American Librarians Association and Asian Pacific American Librarians Association.