Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay is a Lao American writer. She was born in a refugee camp in Nongkhai, Thailand and immigrated to Minnesota in 1984. Because of her unique background, her work is focused on creating tools and spaces for the amplification of refugee voices through poetry, theater, and experimental cultural production. She is best known for her award-winning play Kung Fu Zombies Vs Cannibals (Theater Mu) and is developing two more plays for the Kung Fu Zombieverse anthology of stage works. Her plays have been presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Theater Mu, Consortium of Asian American Theater Artists, and Theater Unbound. She is a Playwrights’ Center Many Voices fellow, a Theater Mu New Performance fellow, a Loft Literary Center Spoken Word Immersion fellow, a VERVE Grant for Spoken Word Poets recipient, and an Aspen Ideas Bush Foundation scholar. Her work has been possible due to support from the Jerome Foundation, Bush Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Vongsay's work has been highlighted by The New York Times, American Theatre Magazine, City Pages, Vita.MN, Pioneer Press, Star Tribune, WCCO, Minnesota Public Radio, KFAI, Candy Fresh, TPT's TV Takeover and Giving Thanks programs, the U of Minnesota's Immigration History Research Center's Immigrant Stories project, and more.
Check her out on Minnesota Public Radio News' The Interpreters podcast (archived) and get to know her at www.saymoukdatherefugenius.com and follow her on social media platforms Twitter and Instagram @REFUGENIUS
In the Camps: A Refugee Musical has been selected as one of the winners in the 2017 St. Paul Knight Arts Challenge. The show will tell the story of the Lao people who resettled in St. Paul through a musical with traditional folktales and songs informed by 1970-1980s Thai and American pop.