How One Woman Is Turning Her New Hudson Valley Hotel Into a Gathering Place for Asian American Writers and Their Fans

The Saturday Literary Event series at The Amelia kicks off Nov. 6 with award-winning poet Monica Youn.

The library and parlor at The Amelia
Photo: Brian W. Ferry/Courtesy of The Amelia

When Shannon Wu opened The Amelia in Hudson, New York, in June 2021, she created more than just a boutique hotel, but a crucial part of the community. Now she's continuing that mission by sparking much-needed conversations through a new Saturday Literary Event series in partnership with the Asian American Writers' Workshop (AAWW).

"The Hudson community is full of art-lovers and literary legends," Wu told Travel + Leisure. "It would be my hope that the series would bring understanding among people, no matter their race. I'd like to be able to bring people into the same space and talk to each other civilly and try to understand and appreciate each other. I believe poetry and literature have the ability to do so."

Launching on Nov. 6 at 5 p.m, the inaugural event will feature award-winning poet Monica Youn, best known for her 2010 work Ignatz, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. The hour-long session will start with Youn reading excerpts of her work, followed by a discussion with AAWW executive director Jafreen Uddin — the first woman to lead the organization since its 1991 founding — to talk about the creative process and Youn's other writing projects.

The living room at The Amelia
Brian W. Ferry/Courtesy of The Amelia

The ongoing series will be held monthly for at least a year in The Amelia's first-floor common lounge space and is open to everyone for $15, which includes complimentary wine and beverages during the chat.

Despite the hotel only being open five months, this is already the second series that The Amelia has hosted, the first being a musical one in conjunction with Bard College. Wu first learned about AAWW — which promotes and supports Asian American creative writing — from a writer friend and immediately knew she had to work with them on a series.

"Being an Asian American and an immigrant, I felt drawn to their mission," she told T+L, calling AAWW "a well-respected" organization. "I believe they have the ability to curate an interesting series and I am really excited to work with them."

The Hudson Valley setting is also key to the inspiration. "The quaint backdrop of Hudson offers a setting conducive to creating, with a necessary balance of peace and quiet, paired with streets full of antique shops, books stores, coffee shops, cocktail bars, and restaurants," Wu added. "I hope that guests are able to learn something new or take away a different perspective from the literary event series… This is a great opportunity to showcase the inside of The Amelia Hudson and bring the community together, providing an opportunity for intellectual conversation and growth."

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