East Meets West Bookstore

East Meets West Bookstore open mic

Their monthly open mic night is just one of the many community events run by East Meets West Bookstore. Photo by EF Fotography.

When you envision a bookstore, what comes to mind? Books, certainly, and maybe a café in the corner. But do you also picture a stage, music studio, and lab? If so, I have a feeling you must be imagining the East Meets West Bookstore.

What It’s All About

East Meets West Bookstore

East Meets West Bookstore stocks their shelves with Chinese-language books. Photo by David Woo.

Located in between Harvard Square and Central Square, the East Meets West Bookstore was founded in 1999 by husband and wife Jin Au and Wen Kong. They opened the shop as a Chinese-language bookstore meant to empower Asian Americans through scholarship.

So this sounds like any other bookstore, if specialized in its content, right? Wrong.

In 2004 David Sun Kong, son of Jin Au and Wen, left his own mark on the bookstore by expanding the focus from books to include community events. These events include everything from open mic nights, to private invite-only DJ sets, to writing workshops, to open collaborative art labs, to standup comedy.

East Meets West Bookstore

East Meets West Bookstore is full of scholarship on Asia and Asian Americans. Click here for a book studies the history of Asian Americans emerging as a self-identified racial group.

All these various events aim for the bookstore’s goal of encouraging the creative potential of individuals and communities through artistic expression. They merge art, technology, and social justice to achieve their purpose of:

Expanding imagination,
Making dreams real, and
Writing their own history.

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