ハーフ (Hafu): On the Fetishization and Mistranslation of a Biracial Identity

In the last installment of her column, Mistranslate, writer Nina Coomes unpacks the origins and use of the term, ハーフ, or hafu — meaning half, in English — and considers how bicultural identity in Japan is both otherized and fetishized.

Source: Catapult
Published: Jul 16, 2018
Length: 10 minutes (2,624 words)

“Parrot Isn’t Hungry”: On Family, Food, Fasting, and Ramadan

Living many states away from her parents and much of her extended family during the holy month of Ramadan, writer Gulnaz Saiyed remembers the food and flavors of home.

Source: Catapult
Published: May 15, 2018
Length: 7 minutes (1,864 words)

Missing Hope: A Trio of Miscarriages, and What Happened After

“I have been afraid most days of my life, which is what anxiety is, and the months of this pregnancy have been the most anxious of my life.”

Source: Catapult
Published: May 8, 2018
Length: 14 minutes (3,613 words)

Talent Isn’t Enough When You’re a Fat Ballerina

“What does it mean when your body is your art? Can a thicker brush not make just as beautiful strokes?”

Source: Catapult
Published: May 3, 2018
Length: 9 minutes (2,450 words)

Children of ‘The Cloud’ and Major Tom: Growing Up in the ’80s Under the German Sky

On the 70-year-long presence of American air bases in Germany, and how it has shaped the memory and sense of place of several generations of Germans.

Source: Catapult
Published: Apr 4, 2018
Length: 14 minutes (3,587 words)

The Space Between Us and the Ground Below Us, or: Why I Traveled to Japan

Gaijin find traveling in Japan both daunting and welcoming. Try traveling there black and gay, and yet, for some people, it’s America that feels more foreign.

Source: Catapult
Published: Jan 3, 2018
Length: 17 minutes (4,353 words)

My Editor Was Black

Debut author Naima Coster writes about her experience working with African American editor Morgan Parker on her first novel, Halsey Street, and also touches on the whiteness of publishing, and literary self-determination.

Source: Catapult
Published: Dec 11, 2017
Length: 9 minutes (2,359 words)

Why My Family Takes a Thanksgiving Vow of Silence

A personal essay in which Nina Coomes recalls her family’s tradition of extreme unplugging — no reading, talking, using digital devices — while taking silent retreats at a Catholic seminary each Thanksgiving.

Source: Catapult
Published: Nov 22, 2017
Length: 6 minutes (1,533 words)

What Miyazaki’s Heroines Taught Me About My Mixed-Race Identity

On the wonder and strangeness of occupying a perpetually in-between space.

Source: Catapult
Published: Oct 16, 2017
Length: 9 minutes (2,494 words)

Talking to My Daughter About Charlottesville

Black UVA alum Taylor Harris writes about explaining the racist violence on the Charlottesville campus to her 6-year-old daughter, who hadn’t yet personally encountered racism or ever learned about racist violence. Only a day before the “Unite the Right” protest that led to white supremacists beating Dre Harris and killing Heather Heyer, her daughter and husband had been right there, buying ice cream. Harris wrestles with informing her daughter, because she doesn’t want to rob her of her innocence.

Source: Catapult
Published: Aug 23, 2017
Length: 7 minutes (1,903 words)