I am this week's guest on Cristina Querrer's Your Artsy Girl Podcast, in which I talk about my journey as a writer in the Philippines, my experiences at the Michener Center's MFA program and at wonderful writing residencies in the US (such as the amazing KHN Center for the Arts, where I began and finished my novel), and how one must make writing central to your life, which sometimes means going to New Zealand for your creative writing PhD. You can listen to our interview here. Cristina Querrer has done a great job lifting up Filipino, Filipino-American, and POC voices on her podcast, so be sure to listen to other episodes from the show here!
I'm happy to share that my essay, "The Gift of Connection", which originally appeared in New Zealand's takahe Magazine last year, has been reissued in the latest edition of Maganda Magazine, UC Berkeley's student run Filipino-American literary and arts journal. Since my essay is about tango and the immigrant experience, I felt it was a fitting expression of Maganda's current theme, "Indak", which in Tagalog means "to dance in time with the music". I am happy that this essay can reach a wider audience among Filipino-American writers and artists. This is a print-only journal, but my essay can also be read for free on takahe's website.
My 6-week writers residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts is drawing to a close, and I'd like to express my gratitude to this wonderful artists' residency program for helping me finish my novel. I wrote the beginnings of my novel in this same building in 2012, and I came back in 2019 to finish it. Truly, this is sacred ground. Got so much work done (around 100 pages more of my novel+edits, in addition to an academic article I revised for publication), and got so much living done too. I made new friends outside my studio (visual artists and writers I was in residence with) whom I shared laughter and stories with, while inside my studio, I embarked on a difficult but eye-opening journey with my novel's characters. I just feel that I'm a different person from the Monica that arrived here 6 weeks ago, and I think that's a good thing. For writers, visual artists, and composers, I highly recommend applying for this wonderful residency.
a spanish translation of my haiku series, "afternoon in laguna", appears in the international anthology, arbolarium: antologia poetica de los cinco continentes
I am pleased to share that my haiku series, "Afternoon in Laguna", was selected for inclusion in Colombia's Arbolarium: Anthologia Poetica De Los Cinco Continentes, an international anthology of poetry about trees by writers from five continents, translated into Spanish. What makes this publication all the more special for me is that my poem appears alongside some poems by my father, Francis C. Macansantos, that were originally written in English and Chavacano, and translated into Spanish. I would like to thank Robert Max Steenkist for selecting and translating our work! It is a huge honor. More about this beautifully-produced anthology here.
Aotearotica's Volume Six is hot off the press, and as guest editor, I was invited to select diverse New Zealand voices to include in this volume. Poets Elsa Valmidiano and Ivy Alvarez contributed work, and to complete this special section, I added my own erotic short story. In my introduction, I wrote about Filipino erotica, and about how erotic writing, within the Filipino context, is an inherently political act. Order your copies here.
"learning to shoot", an excerpt from my novel-in-progress, people we trust, in tayo literary magazine's issue eight
I am happy to share that an excerpt from my novel-in-progress, People We Trust, appears in TAYO Literary Magazine's Issue Eight. Entitled "Learning to Shoot", this excerpt has a Filipina NPA revolutionary contemplating her time as an assassin while waiting to give birth in her wealthy parents' home. You can read the excerpt here, and the full issue here.
My first byline for the year is an article I wrote about the Filipino food scene in Wellington, New Zealand. I truly feel that Filipino food in Wellington (and in New Zealand, in general) is having its moment, and I wanted to talk to the chefs in my city who are bravely introducing Filipino food to a mainstream Kiwi audience. For this I got to talk to a restauranteur, an ensaymada baker and his supportive wife, and a patisserie chef specializing in sans rivals, and I also got to taste their creations. It was a delightful experience, and I'm glad that VICE NZ gave this article a home. You can read it here.
This is a very late post, but better late than never: I am happy to share that my late father's essay, "Nashville", was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the Shanghai Literary Review. "Nashville" appears in Issue Three of the magazine which is available for purchase on their website, and will also be available online in the near future. Thank you to the editors of Shanghai Literary Review for thinking of my dad's work!
This morning, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that The New Filipino Kitchen, where both my father and I appear, has been selected as a favorite cookbook of 2018 by the San Francisco Chronicle. Prior to this recognition, the anthology/cookbook has received some well-deserved buzz from Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal, among other places. We have just received our complimentary copies in the mail, so I can personally attest that the book lives up to the hype! You can read the full review from SFChronicle here and get your own copy (which would also make the perfect Christmas present for a friend or loved one) here.
I am pleased to announce that I will be an artist-in-residence for six weeks at the KHN Center for the Arts in Nebraska in the spring of 2019. They previously hosted me for four weeks in 2012, and I loved the experience (I wrote the beginnings of my first novel during that period) so I decided to reapply this year, after finishing my PhD. I plan to spend those six weeks writing more stories about Filipinos in New Zealand and Texas, and hopefully the beginnings of a new novel. More about my upcoming residency here, on their website.