Andrew Lam is collaborating with Pacific Links Foundation (PALS) to write four long literary essays and three short stories exploring issues related to being a displaced person. These will encompass stories of refugees who came to America, victims of human trafficking and their defenders in Vietnam and the United States, and travails of those who cross the borders in the 21st Century. The relationship between California, where the largest population of the Vietnamese Diaspora resides, and Vietnam is constantly evolving. Lam brings to this project a special focus on the Bay Area and its global-local connections. Development of Lam’s writing and its potential to illuminate the work of PALS is the project’s primary focus, but Lam also will teach a writing workshop with formerly trafficked victims currently sheltered by PALS in Vietnam.
PALS’ leads counter-trafficking efforts at the frontiers of Vietnam, bordering Laos, Cambodia, and China. It does this by increasing access to education, providing shelter for the most vulnerable and for trafficked survivors (those lucky and resourceful enough to escape and come back home), and offering economic opportunities and reintegration services for at-risk youths. Many of PALS’s staff and board members have once been Vietnamese boat people and refugees, as has Andrew Lam, who fled to the U.S. from Vietnam at the end of the war when he was 11 years old.
Andrew Lam is an essayist, radio commentator, teacher, and short story writer. He co-founded New America Media, an association of over 1,000 ethnic media outlets in the United States. His first book of short fiction, Birds of Paradise Lost won the Josephine Miles Literary Award and was a finalist for the California Book Award in fiction.