Asian American authors join forces to help writer Matthew Salesses, whose wife is battling cancer


Author Matthew Salesses’ wife, Cathreen, was diagnosed with cancer in March, not long after the birth of their second child. Now, friends and colleagues in the Asian American writing community are offering literary rewards in a GoFundMe campaign to support the family.

Author Margaret Rhee organized the GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Salesses and Cathreen, who is undergoing treatment in South Korea for stomach cancer.

Salesses, author of the novel “The Hundred-Year Flood” and an English professor at Coe College in Iowa, is currently in Korea to help care for his wife and their two young children.

Rhee, author of the recently released poetry collection “Love, Robot,” reached out to members of the Asian American literary community to provide gifts for those who contribute to the fundraiser. Among the offerings, many of which have been claimed, are autographed copies of books: Celeste Ng’s “Everything I Never Told You” and Times critic at large Viet Thanh Nguyen’s “Refugees” and “Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War.”


Other gifts for donors include an autographed book and personal letter of writing advice from author Alexander Chee, a dinner in New York’s Chinatown with novelist Ed Lin, and a manuscript consultation from editor Vivian Lee.

“The funds will go to his family medical expenses, and is a loving gesture of our solidarity and care during this time,” Rhee wrote on the campaign’s GoFundMe page. “Your vital contribution will support Matt’s family and at the same time you will receive inspired books and gifts by formative Asian American writers creating today and into the future.”

As of Wednesday morning, the fundraiser had exceeded its initial $3,500 goal, but was still accepting donations to Salesses’ family.

On his Twitter account, Salesses revealed earlier this month that his wife’s cancer had spread. “Send healing thoughts/prayers, please,” he wrote. “We still have hope.”

On Monday, Salesses shared a message of gratitude :