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Shizue Seigel, Director of WriteNow! SF BAy


Founder/Director, Write Now! SF Bay

Shizue Seigel, founder/director of Write Now! SF Bay, is a third-generation Japanese American writer, visual artist and community activist who explores complex intersections of history, culture and spirituality through prose, poetry and visual art. 


She was born just after her family's release from WWII  incarceration camps. She grew up as an Army brat in segregated Baltimore, Occupied Japan, California farm labor camps and skid-row Stockton, before finding home in San Francisco in 1956. She's a college dropout who learned from experience in the Haight-Ashbury in the 1960s, Indian ashrams and the counterculture in the 1970s, corporate advertising in the 1980s, ad HIV prevention in. the 1990s.


She has helped tell community stories for 25 years, working with Black women living in public housing, Japanese American incarceration camp survivors, and other marginalized groups.


She’s written, co-written or edited six books, and her poetry and prose have been widely published. Her literary and visual art papers are archived at the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives, University of California, Santa Barbara.


“Strawberry Mud,” 2023

"Baachan," 2022 Discover Nikkei Poetry Corner Nikkei Uncovered 

“Of Christmas and Karma,” memoir, Persimmon Tree on-line,

BOOKS (author, editor)

  • 2022: Editor, UncommonGround: BIPOC Journeys to Creative Activism, Pease Press, 284 pp. anthology of 22 established Bay Area BIPOC writers and artists

  • 2021: Editor, Essential Truths: The Bay Area in Color, Pease Press, 324 pp. anthology of 130 BIPOC writers/artists and allies

  • 2019: Editor, Civil Liberties United, Diverse Voices from the San Francisco Bay Area, Pease Press, 300 pp. anthology of 100 BIPOC writers/artists and allies

  • 2019: Co-Author, My First Hundred Years: The Memoirs of Nellie Nakamura, Pease Press, 200 pp, 175  photographs. Previously published as A Century of Change, 2002

  • 2018: Editor, Endangered Species, Enduring Values, Pease Press, 272 pp. Anthology of 70 BIPOC writers/artists

  • 2016: Editor, Standing Strong! Fillmore & Japantown, Pease Press, 140 pp. Anthology of 34 African American and Japanese American  writers/artists

  • 2010: Editor/contributing artist, Distillations: Meditations on the Japanese American Experience by Four Sansei Artists, Pease Press, 74 pp. art catalog.

  • 2006: Author, In Good Conscience: Supporting Japanese Americans During the Internment, AACP, Inc. 320pp, 100 historic photographs


  • 2023: Colossus: Body, Colossus Press

  • 2022: Fried Eggs and Rice, Discover Nikkei Poetry Corner Nikkei Uncovered

  • 2021: (Her)oics: Women’s Lived Experience during the Coronavirus Pandemic, Amy Roost & Joanell Serra, eds; Regal Press; Lunchbox Moments, Chinatown Development Corporation; The Next American Revolution: An AAPI & Black Solidarity Zine, CCSF.

  • 2019: We’ve Been Too Patient, Liz Green & Kelechi Ubozoh, eds., North Atlantic Books 

  • 2018: All the Women in My Family Sing, Deborah Santana, ed., NBTT, Greenbrae, CA

  • 2017: Your Golden Sun Still Shines, memoir, Denise Sullivan, ed., Manic D Press

  • 2015: 2015 Anthology of Featured Poets, Moonstone Poetry Series, Philadelphia

  • 2009: Empty Shoes: Poems on the Hungry and the Homeless, Popcorn Press

  • 2008: My Words Are Gonna Linger: The Art of Personal History, Association of Personal Historians

  • 2007: Cheers to Muses: Contemporary Works by Asian American Women, Asian American Women Artists Association

  • 2003: InvAsian: Growing Up Asian American and Female in the US, Asian Women United



Soundings East, sPARKLE + bLINK, Eleven Eleven, AWAY Journal, Persimmon Tree, Bay Area Generations, Mother of All Stories (Asian Women United), Whirlwind Magazine, Poor Magazine, Discover Nikkei


AWARDS/GRANTS (individual artist)

  • 2021, San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) Artist Grant

  • 2023, 2022, 2018, 2015 & 2013: VONA/Voices (Voices of Our Nations - national workshop for writers of color)

  • 2018: SFAC Individual Artist Commission 

  • 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014: Soul-Making Keats Competition, National League of American PEN Women, 8 awards in Memoir, Short Story, Spiritual Essay, Intercultural Essay

  • 2016: SFAC Individual Artist Commission; API Cultural Center’s United States of Asian America Festival grant; Center for Cultural Innovation Quick Grant

  • 2013-2015: Studio Artist, Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica 

  • 2010: Literary and visual art papers archived at California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives, University of California, Santa Barbara

  • 2002-2004: California Civil Liberties Public Education Program for the Kansha Project

AWARDS/GRANTS  (Write Now! SF Bay)​

  • 2022: Grants for the Arts, Literary Arts Emergency Fund through the National Book Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Initiative Grant, Zellerbach Family Foundation Community Arts COVID Response Grant 

  • 2021: SFAC Creative Community Response Grant, California Arts Council Impact Project Grant, California Arts Council General Operating Relief Grant, Community Vision San Francisco Arts Reopening Fund, Center for Cultural Innovation CALI Grant. 

  • 2020: SFAC Organizational Project Grant, SFAC Cultural Equity Initiative Grant, California Humanities Quick Grant, Literary Arts Emergency Fund through the Academy of American Poets

  • 2019: Zellerbach Family Foundation for Civil Liberties United, CCI CALI Grant, Intersection for the Arts/Arts Accelerator program


  • 2018: Hypatia-in-the-Woods, Washington & Newnan Art Rez, Georgia

  • 2017: Jentel Literary Residency, Wyoming



2021 Virtual:

  • May 19, 2021: Reading: (Her)oics - Asian American Experience in the Pandemic

  • March 25, 2021: Q & A: Mental Health in the Face of Racism, Lowell High School Literature and Psychology class

  • March 13, 2021: (Her)oics West Coast Book Launch Celebration, Book Passage


2020 Virtual:

  • Nov 22: Claim Ourselves, Connect with Others, Oakland Asian Cultural Center

  • Oct 25: Lit Crawl Write Now! SF Bay presents “Stand Up and Be Counted” 

  • July 11 & 25, 2020: Healing from Racism, Oakland Asian Cultural Center

  • July 9, 2020: San Francisco Public Library Poem Jam curated by Poet Laureate Kim Shuck

  • June 30, Essential  Truths: The Bay Area in Color, San Francisco book launch, hosted by the San Francisco Public Library

  • Jan 2020 (live): readings from Endangered Species; Enduring Values, Center for Spiritual Living, Oakland,



2002-present: Writing workshops at VONA, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Kearny Street Workshop, Writers Grotto, Writing Salon, A Room of Her Own, Omnidawn Poetry Conference, and Mendocino Coast Writers Conference taught by Faith Adiele, Elmaz Abinader, Reyna Grande, Mitchell S. Jackson, Porochista Khakpour, Truong Tran, Junse Kim, Christine Hyung-Oak Lee, Kathleen McClung, Margo Perin and others.

1982-1984: Academy of Art College, Advertising and Illustration                               

1979-1981: College of Marin, Painting and Printmaking

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