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P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Remembering Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Anthony Veasna So

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The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans is devastated by the passing of Anthony Veasna So, a 2018 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow. The child of Cambodian immigrants, Anthony was a beloved member of our community. Beyond being a friend and colleague, he was an extraordinary writer who exemplified the New American spirit through his hard work, boundless creativity and brilliance, and his commitment to helping others succeed. Just this year Anthony had graduated from his MFA, secured a book deal, and had a short story published in The New Yorker.
 
Anthony made a profound impact on our community. We were so lucky to have him as a Fellow. Our hearts go out to his partner, family, friends, and the literary community. 
 
Born in Stockton, California, Anthony was raised by two survivors of the Khmer Rouge genocide who, despite immigrating to the United States with sixth grade educations, found economic stability. Anthony spent much of his childhood at his dad’s car repair shop, manning the front desk, cleaning the office and bathrooms, reading books from the library, and playing solitaire on the computer.

A photo of Anthony So (2018 Fellow) holding a copy of The New York Times advertisement, which announced the 2018 Fellows.

Anthony (far left) participated in a Connect workshop at the annual Fellowship Fall Conference held in New York City where Fellows from around the country come together to meet one another and celebrate the New American experience.

Anthony went onto Stanford where he helped write, illustrate, and publish two graphic novels through The Stanford Graphic Novel Project. He also served as the editor-in-chief of The Stanford Chaparral Humor Magazine, hosted Stanford’s comedy open mic, and spent a summer in Los Angeles and New York City performing as a standup comedian. After graduating from college, Anthony taught literature and writing at The Urban School of San Francisco and Next Generation Scholars, a college-access nonprofit that serves low-income students. He was particularly proud of helping first-generation students earn admission and scholarships to several prestigious universities, including his own alma mater.
 
A Kundiman and Lambda Fellow, Anthony completed his MFA in fiction at Syracuse University in the spring of 2020. There he was a University Fellow and won the Joyce Carol Oates Award in Fiction. His debut story collection, Afterparties, is forthcoming from Ecco/HarperCollins in summer 2021, and he was at work on a novel about three Cambodian-American cousins—a rapper, a standup comedian, and an illustrator. His fiction was published in The New Yorkern+1Granta, and Zyzzyva, while his comics appeared in Hobart and Nashville Review
 
We will carry Anthony with us always. ∎