I am pleased as a pea to share my sixth (!) published excerpt from my novel, People We Trust, which appears in the latest annual issue of New Zealand's Turbine|Kapohau, my PhD alma mater's online literary journal. In this excerpt, a young revolutionary during the Marcos years in the Philippines navigates the complexities of her burgeoning friendship with the younger brother of her revolutionary husband, while continuing to keep her identity secret. I would like to thank Rose Wunrow and the rest of Turbine|Kapohau's editorial team for selecting my work. Two other New Zealand-Filipino writers, Kristene Cristobal and Hannah Amante, also have work in this issue. When I started my creative writing PhD at the Victoria University of Wellington back in 2015, I was the only Filipino in the workshop room, my supervisors were unfamiliar with Philippine Literature, and Filipino-Kiwi writing was unheard of, so truly we've come a long way from that. Last year another amazing Filipino-Kiwi writer, Mikee Sto-Domingo, had work in Turbine|Kapohau, so we're slowly making inroads in the NZ lit scene (and I hope we continue to do so). You can read my novel excerpt here.
On December 4, 2020 (or December 5, early morning in the Philippines), I took part in About Place Journal's "Works of Resistance, Resilience" reading series, reading an excerpt from my essay, "Little Girls". I am happy that this pandemic has encouraged literary journals and organizations to explore alternative means of gathering writers to share their work (such as Zoom) so that people like me who live outside the U.S. can still participate these activities. A recording of the event was posted on YouTube.
(cover artwork by Lisa Thorpe.)
I am pleased to share that my lyric essay, "Little Girls", is in the latest issue of About Place Journal with a theme of "Works of Resistance, Resilience". I wrote about how my late father's guava tree blossomed for the first time in its lifetime during this pandemic, bringing solace and joy to my mother and I while quarantined in our home. The blossoms bursting forth from the tree become our "little girls":
[W]earing skirtfuls of petals and crowned with starry white anthers, they were little princesses emerging from my father’s guava tree to cheer us up as the pandemic wore on with no end in sight.
Read the full essay here and the issue where it appears here.
I am pleased to share that another excerpt from my unpublished novel, People We Trust, appears in the latest issue of Oyster River Pages. Entitled "A Visit to General Lim Street", this excerpt shows Gabriel, a young insurance agent (who first appears in "An Unexplained Kindness", published earlier this year in Anomaly) paying a visit to the father of an old friend, an activist named Paulette who disappeared under mysterious circumstances during the Marcos dictatorship. Over the course of this visit, he crosses paths with Diwata, Paulette's daughter whom his own brother may have fathered. You can read the story here. The editors of Oyster River Pages have put together a great issue too, which you can read here.
(My father, with his favorite tablea chocolate, in Iloilo.)
My newest essay, which appears in Issue 17 of Lunch Ticket, is about how my father, the late poet Francis C. Macansantos, showered his love upon his family by nourishing us with delicious meals, and how his love for me survived in the midst of death as I strove to recreate his dishes. It's also about his mother, my Lola Peregrina, and how her spirit of vitality and joy sustained him, as their love continues to sustain me in the kitchen and beyond. I am so happy that it came out in time for Father's Day--you can read the full essay here and the Lunch Ticket issue where it appears here.
(Katherine Mansfield. Source: Archives New Zealand.)
My newest piece, up on New Zealand's The Pantograph Punch, is about how reading Katherine Mansfield's short fiction taught me to slow down, and allow light to shine through my days amidst the darkness and despair of this pandemic. This is the first time I wrote an essay that straddles literary criticism and memoir, and I enjoyed the process immensely. Read the full essay here.
"A recognition of her own mortality allowed her to write honestly about death, even as life, and human kindness, continued to shine through her work."
UPDATE (6/17/2020): This essay was featured in The Spinoff's Daily News roundup--you'll have to scroll to the end of this article to see the wonderful things The Spinoff staff said about my essay. I am so honored to see its warm reception in New Zealand and around the world.
UPDATE (10/1/2020): A version of this essay will appear in Vol. 13 of Katherine Mansfield Studies, published by the Katherine Mansfield Society and the Edinburgh University Press, in 2021.
The Opening Chapter of my Unpublished Novel, People We Trust, is in the latest issue of anmly/anomalous press
The opening chapter of my unpublished novel, People We Trust, is in the latest issue of ANMLY! Entitled "An Unexplained Kindness", this chapter takes place during the EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986 that ousted the Marcoses from power, and shows how the revolution unfolded in my hometown of Baguio City. Despite its many disappointments, I still feel that the EDSA Revolution of 1986 was a pivotal moment in Philippine history, which is why I chose it for my novel's opening. I am currently seeking representation for this novel about the Marcos dictatorship's impact on the lives of two brothers and a woman they love, and I welcome interested literary agents to read this opening chapter. More here.
I am pleased to share that my words have finally appeared in Vol.1 Brooklyn, one of my dream publications. My essay, "The Power of a Vacant House", is about class and American colonialism in my hometown of Baguio, referencing my friendship with a classmate in high school and an unsettling encounter I had with his aunt at his mother's wake. You can read the full essay here. To give you an idea of what the essay is about, here's a quote:
"I knew, of course, that Gene was a Muller, and that his family had once owned the grand colonial-era mansion facing Burnham Park that had filled me with awe as a child. Painted a tasteful shade of old rose, it seemed to have come straight out of an album of photographs from the American South, though the presence of the American colonial government in our city, and the arrival of American gold prospectors eager to make their fortunes in the nearby mines, made it completely possible for houses like these to occupy their own unique niche in our city’s landscape."
two essays by francis c. macansantos, "nashville" (nominated for the pushcart Prize) and "my trilingual career" are now available online
I am excited to share that two essays by my late father, Francis C. Macansantos, are now available online. The first essay, "Nashville", written in 2012, chronicles my father's grapplings with the American Dream and America's legacy of colonialism in the Philippines and elsewhere when he and my mother lived in Nashville, Tennessee for five months in 2012. It was published in the Shanghai Literary Review's third issue (2018) and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize that same year, and after being available only in print, it has finally been made available online. You can read the essay for free here.
The second essay, "My Trilingual Career", is a speech he delivered at the Cordillera Writers Workshop in which he spoke about his journey as a writer from Zamboanga who began writing in his second language, English, and transitioned to writing in Chabacano, his first language, later in life. He talks about the difficulties of writing in Chabacano, which hardly has a literary tradition, and he also touches upon his struggles to learn Tagalog at an early age while "being ostracized in class by the arrogance of Tagalog teachers and classmates who made the rest of us feel like second-class citizens." I would like to thank Katitikan, a literary journal of the Philippine South, for helping us release my father's essay into the world, and for also asking my mother to write an introduction to my father's life and world. You can read the full essay here.
I am pleased to share that my scholarly article, "Historical Amnesia, Colonial Trauma, and Self-Immolation in Ninotchka Rosca's State of War" was published in the latest issue of Journal of English Studies and Comparative Literature, the official academic journal of the University of the Philippines Diliman's Department of English and Comparative Literature. This is a revised and shortened version of a chapter from the critical component of my creative writing PhD thesis. The full PDF of the article is available here: www.journals.upd.edu.ph/index.php/jescl/article/view/7053/6138