Kelly Tsai is an award-winning artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work as a spoken word poet has been featured at over 700 venues worldwide including the White House, Apollo Theater, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, three seasons of HBO's "Def Poetry," HBO's "East of Main Street: Asians Aloud," and events for Gloria Steinem & Tyra Banks. Her work has been profiled by Forbes, NPR, New York Daily News, Huffington Post, NBC News, NY1, C-SPAN, HBO and more. Her short films have been screened at film fests in the US and abroad and won awards at Media That Matters & UrbanWorld VIBE. Her work as an interdisciplinary performance artist has been presented nationally and internationally via New York Live Arts, Brooklyn Museum, HERE, Ars Nova, Culture Project, Taipei Poetry Festival and more. Her artistic work spans live performance, print, screen, and new media. She is currently working on her memoir, The Invisible Word (Winner of New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship 2017 - Nonfiction Literature), and a new electronic music project. She is also featured as on actress on HBO’s new limited series, “Random Acts of Flyness,” which premiered in August 2018. 

Biographical Info

Presenters & Venues (Selected Listing) 


American Association of University Women's Woman of Distinction Award
Americorps Alums National Leader Award
Media that Matters Film Festival War & Peace Award
Outstanding Asian American Alumni of the Year, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Artist Fellowships & Workshops

Callaloo (Fiction)
Cave Canem (Poetry) 
Kundiman (Poetry)
New York Foundation for the Arts (Non-Fiction Literature / Memoir)
Rising Circle PlayRISE (Playwriting)
Voices of Our Nation Foundation (Poetry)

Artist Grants & Residencies

Asian American Arts Alliance
Asian Women’s Giving Circle
Illinois Arts Council
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
New York Foundation for the Arts
New York Live Arts
Poets & Writers


2nd Round, Sundance Screenwriters Lab
2nd Round, Hedgebrook Screenwriters Lab
Finalist, Public Theater Emerging Writers Group
Finalist, Creative Capital
Finalist, New York Theater Workshop Emerging Fellows of Color 

Juror / Artistic Panels

Brooklyn Arts Council
Leeway Foundation
The Loft Literary Fellowship
Maryland State Arts Council