I'm pleased to share that the second installment of my novella, "Leaving Auckland", is up on failbetter. In this installment, two young Filipinos, Paolo and Maya, agree to meet in Wellington, and Paolo's past with a former flame begins to interfere with the life he wants to build with Maya. If you've enjoyed reading this novella thus far, watch out for the third and final installment which will be released on June 28! In the meantime, you can read the first installment here and the second installment here.
I am the new Branches nonfiction editor of Rambutan Literary, an online and digital literary journal of the global Southeast Asian community. The journal has two sections: ROOTS, focused primarily on mainland and maritime Southeast Asia, and BRANCHES, focused primarily on the Southeast Asian diaspora. Since I'm the nonfiction editor of the BRANCHES section, I will be reading nonfiction from the Southeast Asian diaspora, so if that is you, I would love to read your very best work! We accept nonfiction of up to 2,000 words and pay a small honorarium. The next deadline is June 23.
"Stopover", a story about two Filipinas confronting a dying friendship (and the disappointments of the American Dream) in Austin, Texas, has been given a new life in Hypertrophic Press, after being previously published in Five Quarterly back in 2013. Although you can read the story for free, and read the entire issue for free as well, I recommend buying a print issue of the magazine to support this amazing small press that continues to support some great writers. Besides, the artwork and graphic design is astounding! I'm particularly proud of this piece since it was featured in Longform Fiction and earned an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train's Fiction Open.
Read/buy the entire issue here.
I am thrilled to share that my novella about the Filipino immigrant experience in New Zealand, "Leaving Auckland", is currently being serialized on failbetter.com, with the first of three installments going live today. In this novella, two young Filipino immigrants meet in Auckland, fall in love, and are forced to confront their loneliness as their relationship deepens. This piece was a Top 25 finalist in the Glimmer Train Fiction Open in 2016, and I'm glad it has finally found a good home. Parts two and three are scheduled to go live on June 14 and 28, respectively, so stay tuned for more! In the meantime, you can read Part one here.
("Surprise" by Filippo Spinelli for Aotearotica.)
Laura Borrowdale, editor of Aotearotica, New Zealand's journal of erotica, wrote about our recent reading/performance of erotic fiction and graphic art at Wellington's Litcrawl. Featured in her article are the graphic novelists Dylan Horrocks and Sarah Laing, who also performed at the reading, as well as yours truly. This is what Laura wrote about my own performance, a reading from the story, "Nina":
Monica Macansantos read an explicit description of a threesome that dealt with race, power dynamics and the difference between what can feel good physically and what can feel good emotionally. She shook before she stood up to read, but her voice was clear and loud in a room so silent, you could hear people breathe. It was electrifying. And it felt like the start, the start of a conversation. A conversation that more people should be having, sitting around their kitchen tables or on social media or in performance spaces. Because it’s hard, hilarious, poignant, and necessary.
You can read the full article here. Aotearotica is currently accepting work for their next issue, and you can send them your best and steamiest writing and art by May 15. Please check their website for guidelines on how to submit.
"The Gift of Connection", my essay about tango and longing, and how a fellow Filipino immigrant taught me how to dance and let go, is in the latest issue of Takahe Magazine. It's my love letter to tango, New Zealand, and the city of Auckland. You can read the full essay here, and the issue in which it appears here. You can buy the print issue in good bookshops throughout New Zealand or from their website.
Two poems I wrote about the grief of bereaved mothers, "Christmas House, Vallejo, California", and "Homing In", have finally found a beautiful home in Willow, an arts and literature magazine published in Canada. These poems appear in the "Home" issue of the magazine, and were inspired by two different stories told to me about two Filipina mothers in America grieving the untimely deaths of their children. Both poems examine grief within the context of the American Dream. The issue is available for purchase here--it's worth every penny, in my opinion, since the magazine is so beautifully put together and is truly a work of art.
I'm excited to announce that "A Fair Face", an excerpt from my novel-in progress, People We Trust, appears in the Beauty issue of WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly, published by the Feminist Press at CUNY. Since the issue's theme is "Beauty", my piece is about a local beauty queen in Baguio who joins the Communist New People's Army and returns home to give birth. I also write about the insidiousness of western standards of beauty in former colonies such as the Philippines, and how Filipinos look for traces of their old colonial masters in their bodies. Since WSQ is an academic journal, the issue where my excerpt appears is available on academic databases such as Project Muse, so if you're university-affiliated, you can access it for free! Clicks for full-access to the issue and piece help generate needed revenues for the journal, which I think is important since WSQ accomplishes so much important work in the field of Women's Studies. Otherwise, if you want to own a physical copy, you can order the journal here.
I am pleased to announce that my late father and I have recipes accompanied by essays about cooking, home, and family, in THE NEW FILIPINO KITCHEN, published in the U.S. by Agate Surrey, with a foreword by John Birdsall. This is probably the first Filipino cookbook of its kind, showcasing not only our cuisine but also the very personal stories behind these recipes. My own essay in this book is about how my father expressed his love for his family through his cooking, accompanied by my father's pancit recipe. My father's essay is about how he learned to cook during the early years of Martial Law, which included lessons from a former cook of the Communist New People's Army, and is accompanied by his amazing dinengdeng recipe. Featured too in this anthology/cookbook are former White House chef Cris Comerford and MasterChef New Zealand finalist Leo Fernandez, among other acclaimed Filipino chefs and writers. The book is now available for pre-order from Amazon, and is currently the #1 New Release in Pacific Rim cooking, food and wine! Pre-orders will help boost our sales ranking and drum up publicity for this very important project, so if you can, please pre-order! You can do so here.
My father, the poet Francis "Butch" Macansantos, passed away unexpectedly last July. Two weeks after coming home to the Philippines for his funeral, I wrote an essay about the difficulties of grieving when a parent's death is sudden and unexpected. I also talk about how the mourning process can be complicated by the cultural divide one encounters when coming home to the Philippines after an extended period overseas. It was a tough piece to write, but necessary for my healing. Thanks to the wonderful Addie Tsai, "Learning to Grieve" has found a home in The Grief Diaries where it was made Special Feature in their latest issue. I am grateful for the honor. You can read the essay here and access the full issue here.