Published March 18, 2022

Co-editors Mai-Linh Hong and Chrissy Yee Lau and contributor Valerie Soe (The Auntie Sewing Squad Guide to Mask Making, Radical Care, and Racial Justice) discuss the work of the Auntie Sewing Squad, a massive mutual-aid network of volunteers who created and distributed free masks to the most vulnerable and most neglected communities across the country. The Auntie Sewing Squad speaks back to the history of exploited immigrant labor as it enacts an intersectional commitment to public health for all, and this collection of essays and ephemera, documents their work. In discussion with Alissa Ujie Diamond.

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“Perfect for activists and those interested in crafting for a cause, this spirited collection inspires.”―Publishers Weekly

“Sewing, like this book, is bringing together pieces of life to create a new being. We stitch together the parts of ourselves that feel raw and unfinished and we are clothed and rendered, reborn in full.”—Margaret Cho, Grammy and Emmy Award–nominated stand-up comedian, actress, and singer-songwriter

“During this terrible time, when people like me are being attacked, the Auntie Sewing Squad gives me heart. They have written a practical guide—including patterns—for making masks, making community, and making us safer. Thank you, Aunties.”—Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Fifth Book of Peace and winner of the National Book Award

“This book reflects a historical moment—the pandemic—yet links the response to the history of anti–Asian American racism, to solidarity instead of charity, and to challenges to the nuclear family. It captures the importance of mutual aid and how mostly Asian American, Black, Indigenous, and Queer and Trans people of color respond at the intersection of feminism, racial justice, and gender fluidity.”—Yvonne Yen Liu, Co-founder and Research Director of Solidarity Research Center


Virginia Festival of the Book staff, volunteers, partners, and attendees appreciate all of our sponsors. It is their crucial support, along with individual donors, that allows us to present the 2022 Virginia Festival of the Book almost completely free of charge. We appreciate the generous commitment from our Premier Sponsor, The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, and these major sponsors: Michelle and David Baldacci, Dominion Energy, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Community Partners

We appreciate the support of our community partners for helping share information about this event: Black Women Stitch, Dairy Market 

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With generous support from Michelle and David Baldacci

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