It took us three years and nearly sixty rejections for us to get here, but my story, "Leaving God on Cuba Street," finally has a home with one of my dream journals, River Styx! Really excited to bring this new story about a recovering Filipino-American evangelical, struggling to find her sense of self in New Zealand, into the world. Stay tuned!
Heaps of thanks to the folks at Colorado Review and Another Chicago Magazine for inviting me to take part in their offsite readings, to Another Chicago Magazine, for inviting me to sign copies of my book at their bookfair table, and to Grace Loh Prasad for inviting me to read my work on the AWP panel, "Bad Immigrant Daughters in Fiction and Nonfiction." If you're headed to this year's AWP in Kansas City, you'll know where to find me!
1. February 8, 2024, 12 noon to 1:30 pm: AWP Offsite Reading with Another Chicago Magazine & JackLeg Women Writers, Kansas City Public Library, Helzberg Auditorium (5th floor). With Dr. Taylor Byas, Jessica Cuello, Suzanne Frischkorn, Rita Mookerjee, Melissa Studdard, Gemini Wahhaj, and Karen Rigby. Free and open to the public, but registration is required via Eventbrite.
2. February 8, 2024, 1:45 pm to 3:00 pm: AWP Panel, "Bad Immigrant Daughters in Fiction and Nonfiction." Room 2211, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level. With Grace Loh Prasad, Lisa Chiu, Putsata Reang, and Lindsay Wong. More info here.
3. February 9, 2024, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm: AWP Offsite Reading with Colorado Review, Parlor Press and Futurepoem. Torn Label Brewing Co, 1708 Campbell, Kansas City 64108. With Kazim Ali, John Gallaher, Gale Marie Thompson, Sasha Steensen, Kylan Rice. Aby Kaupang, Matthew Cooperman, Daniel Bourne, Molly Spencer, Manuel Paul López, Stephon Lawrence, and Isabel Sobral Campos.
4. Thanks to the generosity of Another Chicago Magazine, I'll be signing copies of my debut story collection, Love and Other Rituals, at their bookfair table! That will be on Saturday, February 10, from 12 to 1:30 pm, at table T1820.
I can't say that I disappointed my hippie aktibista writer parents by being an unmarried, childless writer, but I've written about bad Filipina daughters in my fiction, and I'm honored to be part of this panel! The last time I attended an in-person AWP was in 2012 in Chicago, and this will be my second time to be on a panel (after the 2021 virtual conference) which is why I'm super stoked.
And after the success of my list of American artists' residency programs for Electric Lit (which has since been updated for 2024), I was invited to put together another list of artists' residencies from around the world. I had so much fun putting together this list of residencies in Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania--do check it out.
Lesson learned: you never know what you'll find when you google yourself. But apparently, I did have an essay in The Best American Essays Notable list of 2021, but because "it was a longer list than usual," the list ended up appearing at the back of The Best American Essays 2022, after the Notables list of that year which included another essay of mine (a piece I wrote about learning to tango and reconnecting with family history, which appeared in Colorado Review). This essay I never knew was also named Notable in another list appearing in the same anthology appeared in Lunch Ticket back in 2020, and is the title essay of my forthcoming essay collection, Returning To My Father's Kitchen, which is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press/Curbstone Books. It's an essay that's particularly dear to me, about how I returned to my father's kitchen after his passing, and taught myself to prepare his favorite dishes in an effort to connect with his spirit. I am humbled by the generosity of Robert Atwan and his team of readers at the Best American Essays series, for granting me my fourth Best American Essays Notable despite the challenges of keeping up with submissions during the pandemic. Other editors wouldn't have added this list to the following year's anthology, but they went the extra mile.
Read the essay here, and the two Notable lists featured in The Best American Essays 2022 here (be sure to scroll down to the end because you may also just find your name, wink wink).
When I was inducted into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi after graduating with honors from the University of the Philippines in 2007, never in my wildest dreams did I see myself publishing an article in the organization's quarterly magazine, publishing out of its headquarters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. And what a treat to also see my book featured again, more prominently this time, on their bookshelf! I am immensely grateful to Danny Heitman, editor of Phi Kappa Phi's Forum magazine, for the invitation to write an essay for their winter-themed issue. In the midst of so much darkness and despair, it gives me so much hope to encounter kindness from afar. My essay appears in the print issue, as well as online.
Happy to see my book on the Phi Kappa Phi Forum bookshelf, in the company of other excellent books from PKP members! This appears in their Fall 2023 issue, in print and online.
...work hard on your novel inside your huge, light-filled studio, but don't forget to take long walks, pet friendly black cats, eat too many cookies and cakes, go to an exhibit featuring a poet and painter from Maine, lie down on freshly fallen snow while letting snowflakes fall on your face, enjoy meals prepared by a Filipino chef while making new friends, and watch the sun set on this beautiful lake on which your studio building stands. (So grateful for this gift.)
I'm honored to share that my essay, "My Father and W.B. Yeats," which appeared in The Hopkins Review last year, made it into the Notables list of this year's Best American Essays. This is my third BAE Notable citation, and it's for an essay I'm particularly proud of, about the power of poetry (particularly my father's poetry, and the poetry of William Butler Yeats) to connect us to the otherworldly and magical. It's also the most challenging essay I've written so far (I spent an entire month working on it full-time, wrestling meaning out of my sentences) and it received around maybe 12 rejections (give or take) before it found a home with The Hopkins Review. THR has generously made the essay available for free reading and downloading from Project Muse until November 15, 2023. I am so grateful for their support.
I am overjoyed to see my lyric essay in the latest issue of Bennington Review! Written last year, this piece entitled, "5:45 pm in Eastbourne, Wellington," is a short, meditative essay about waiting in the dark for the Eastbourne ferry back to the city of Wellington, while reflecting on the sadness I felt over having to leave New Zealand after finishing my PhD. I also briefly mention trying to find one of Katherine Mansfield's childhood homes while in Eastbourne, before giving up because of the cold. Unfortunately the piece is only available in print, but you can purchase a copy here (it's a beautiful object with one of my mentors, the former Tomaz Salamun, in it) or request your local library to purchase it for you.
When I read this review of Love and Other Rituals on the Colorado Review/Center for Literary Publishing website this morning, I told myself, "now this is why I write." This is probably one of my favorite reviews of my book, made special by the fact that it's written by a young writer of color who's in the place I once was as an MFA student in America, trying to figure out how to represent my culture and write from it without exoticizing or playing into the white, colonialist gaze. I am so happy to know that my scrappy little small press book made its way into the hands of Bianca Melendrez Valenzuela, who made me feel so seen and appreciated as an author in this review! Read the full review here.