Moua, Mai Neng 1974-

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Moua, Mai Neng 1974-


Born May 5, 1974, in Laos; immigrated to the United States, 1981. Education: Attended St. Olaf College.


Writer, poet, editor, and activist. Founder and editor of the journal Paj Ntaub Voice, 1994—; Hmong-American Institute for Learning, executive director.


Bush Foundation research grant, 2003.


(Editor and contributor) Bamboo among the Oaks: Contemporary Writing by Hmong Americans, Minnesota Historical Society Press (St. Paul, MN), 2002.


Mai Neng Moua is of Hmong descent and is a native of Laos. Moua immigrated to the United States with her mother and two brothers in 1981 after her father was killed in the Vietnam War fighting for the Americans. Years later, when Moua was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease, the author sought out Hmong writers to read but could find none. A culture that originated in the mountainous regions of southern China, the Hmong relied solely on an oral tradition and had no form of writing until the Christian missionaries developed one for them in the 1950s using the Roman alphabet. As a result of the lack of Hmong writings, the author began the Hmong literary journal called Paj Ntaub Voice in 1994; she has since published numerous writings from Hmongs living in America. Moua is also the editor of the anthology Bamboo among the Oaks: Contemporary Writing by Hmong Americans. In a profile of the author on the VG: Voices from the Gap Web site, a contributor referred to the journal and the book as "extraordinary efforts to advance Hmong literature." The contributor went on to write in the same profile that the writings in the anthology "tackle issues such as the experiences of many men and women during the war and in refugee camps, the challenges of adjusting to living in the United States, issues of cultural assimilation, and generational clashes between first- and second-generation Hmong Americans." The contributor added: "Moreover, these honest and groundbreaking works have been adapted into the curricula of many cultural studies and literature programs around the world."



Art in America, October, 2003, "The Bush Foundation, Based in St. Paul, Minn., Recently Announced the Recipients of Its 2003 Bush Artist Fellowships to Individuals in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Parts of Western Wisconsin," p. 166.

Journal of Asian Studies, February, 2004, Louisa Schein, review of Bamboo among the Oaks: Contemporary Writing by Hmong Americans, p. 139.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 3, 2003, Mary Louise Schumacher, "Words Apart," profile of author.

Saint Paul Pioneer Press, November 16, 2000, "Literary Journal One of Few Outlets for Hmong Writers and Poets."


Uthink Blogs at the University of Minnesota, (October 28, 2004), "The Mai Neng Moua Case Study."

VG: Voices from the Gap, (January 17, 2008), biography of author and critique of work.