Ming Holden

Author of "Refuge" and "The Survival Girls"

A creative writer, theater artist, and international development worker, Ming Holden was most recently selected by Lidia Yuknavitch as the winner of Kore Press's inaugural Memoir Award. Ming's book, Refuge, will be released by Kore Press.
Ming was invited by the US Embassy to Suriname to a diplomatic speaking engagement under the U.S. Speakers Program for 2014 Women's History Month. (Here is the press release.) In 2011, she founded the Survival Girls, a self-sustaining theater group for young Congolese women in the slums of Nairobi. Her book about the experience, the nonfiction novella The Survival Girls, came out in 2013 through Wolfram Productions. Ming also won the USAID worldwide essay contest for inclusion in the USAID Frontiers in Development publication alongside work by Bill Gates, Indra Noori, Paul Collier, and others. Her essay about the Survival Girls got some love from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself in the book’s introduction! (Ming’s writing about the Girls was also nominated for the AWP Intro Award for Nonfiction.)

Ming served the Mongolian Writers Union as its first-ever International Relations Adviser during her year as a Henry Luce Scholar in Mongolia and worked towards the formation of a Mongolia PEN Center. She has since returned to Mongolia to work for The Asia Foundation on a literary translation and advocated for an exiled Chinese writer in Turkey at the Writers and Literary Translators International Congress 2010, where she was the youngest presenter and one of the only Americans. Ming won Glimmer Train's 2013 Family Matters story contest and The Chattahoochee Review's 2013 nonfiction contest, and her nonfiction has placed as a finalist or runner-up for the annual nonfiction prizes at Arts & Letters, Passages North, and the Crab Orchard Review. While an undergraduate at Brown University (’07), Ming co-founded and served as Editor-in-Chief of the Brown Literary Review.

Ming is the recipient of the Herman Wells Graduate Fellowship, Indiana University’s most prestigious student award, designated for “leadership abilities, character, social consciousness, and generosity of spirit,” and the Woon-Joon Yoon Memorial Fellowship, for “students who have exemplified tolerance and understanding across racial and religious lines through service, personal commitment, academic achievement and future potential.” (Here’s the press release for the Wells.) Ming’s poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, journalism, photography, and literary translations have appeared in Alchemy, Arts & Letters, Crab Orchard Review, Cerise Press, The Best American Poetry Blog, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Huffington Post, Molotov Cocktail, Passages North, Peaches and Bats, The Poker, Prospect, the Santa Ynez Valley Journal, The Santa Barbara Independent, Slice Magazine’s blog, and others. She taught a cross-genre workshop at the Richard Hugo House. Last fall she played Janey in the Plaza Playhouse production of Calamity Jane in Carpinteria, and over the summer played the role of Reika in Dijo Productions' Ghetto. She can next be seen in Plaza Playhouse's Old Time Radio Show as several characters, including the time-traveling stripper Helen La Tour.

Ming has worked in community development Russia (at the Silver Taiga Sustainable Forestry Foundation); Syria (with Every Syrian); Turkey and Syria (independently); Ecuador (at the CEMOPLAF family planning clinic); Bolivia (at the Rio Beni Health Project); Mongolia (at The Asia Foundation and the Mongolian Writers Union); Kenya (at the UNHCR and with the Golden Globe Foundation); Suriname (through the American Embassy); and also in New York (at Archipelago Books) and California (at People Helping People).

A Recipient of the University of California's Special Regents Fellowship, Ming is currently pursuing a PhD in the Theater and Dance Department. She was a part of the pilot Graduate Affiliate Fellow program at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, and this year she is the teaching assistant and research assistant for the Odyssey Project, which brings incarcerated young men to the UCSB campus for a theater workshop.

A list of Ming’s publications is here. A list of her honors and awards is here.

She’s got profiles in all the usual places: LinkedIn, Picasa, Youtube, & Facebook.

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