Pictured at the 2018 PAAWWW Reunion (from left): (Back row) Diane Ujiiye, Miya Iwataki, Cecilia Brainard; (front row) Jude Narita, Joyce Nako, Amy Uyematsu. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

GARDENA — On Saturday, Sept. 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Nisei Veterans Memorial Hall, the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute will present a unique and provocative program about a group called Pacific Asian American Women Writers West, otherwise known as PAAWWW.

PAAWWW began in 1976 as an informal gathering of writers, actresses, and artists, with the goal of providing support to Asian American women writers and other women writers of color. It evolved into a dynamic group of writers from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences. Its atmosphere of mutual respect attracted some of the most talented Asian American women writers in the Los Angeles area.

PAAWWW members included Joyce Nako, Naomi Hirahara, Akemi Kikumura Yano, Amy Uyematsu, Jude Narita, Velina Hasu Houston, Momoko Iko, Diane Ujiiye, Miya Iwataki, Emma Gee, Cecilia Brainard, and many others.

In addition to fostering and sustaining the artistic development of women writers of color, PAAWWW sought to promote, perpetuate, and preserve Pacific Asian American literature, history, and arts; and to develop larger audiences for the artistic endeavors of Pacific Asian American women writers.

Besides the basic desire to write well, the women shared a common dismay at the inequitable and unreal portrayal of Pacific Asian American people by the mainstream media and the need to correct this slanted representation by developing, expressing, and promoting a truer picture of their cultural reality.

The program consists of readings from PAAWWW writers, including Joyce Nako, Cecilia Brainard and Jude Narita. Other writers might participate pending their schedules. Following the readings will be a Q&A session.

Admission is free but donations are appreciated. GVJCI is located at 1964 W. 162nd St. in Gardena. For more information, call (310) 324-6611 or email info@jci-gardena.org.

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