ANTHONY VEASNA SO was a Cambodian-American writer born on this date (d: 2020); So graduated from Standford University in 2014 with bachelors degrees in art and English. He was a Kundiman Fellow and a Paul * Daisy Soros Fellow. In December 2020, he received a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Syracuse University. He taught at Colgate University, Syracuse University and and the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants in Oakland, California.
His Khmer parents had fled Cambodia during the Cambodian genocide during the Khmer Rouge. They met and married in Stockton, California, where Anthony was born. His “crackling, kinetic and darkly comedic” short stories were about life in the first-generation Cambodian immigrant community.
At the time of his death he was awaiting the planned publication of his first book, Afterparties, in August 2021. The work had been the subject of a bidding war between publishers; the winning publisher, Ecco, had offered him a six-figure sum for two books. His editor at Ecco said, “His writing is blazingly funny but also deeply empathetic. Those traits don’t come together that often.”
He is survived by his partner, Alex Torres.