Much gratitude to Honour Zhu of Auckland City Library's Glenfield branch and Kate Middleton of The Reading Revolution for organizing this event! Aucklanders can attend this in person at the Glenfield Library, while anyone from anywhere around the world can also attend on zoom. More details can be found on OurAuckland.
I am thrilled that my short story, "Visitors", is in the latest issue of The Hopkins Review! This is my first published story after the release of my debut story collection, Love and Other Rituals, and I couldn't have been happier since it means that there will be more books and stories to be written. It's also my second short story set in Texas and my first story set in Houston, and it was a leap of faith for me to write during the pandemic, during which I found myself stranded in my family's ancestral home in the Philippines. "Visitors" is the story of a difficult and combative Filipina named Dina who entertains a series of interesting visitors during the span of a single week, including a wealthy Vietnamese refugee, a young Filipino tourist, and her own mother who's addicted to designer handbags. Physical copies are on their way to subscribers and are available from select bookshops, and can also be accessed from university libraries through Project Muse.
I am so proud of my mama, who won a National Book Award in the Philippines for her essay collection, Departures, published by the University of the Philippines Press in 2021. Published in her sixties, this is her first book that brings together a lifetime of stories about her family's roots in the Ilocos, growing up during the Marcos dictatorship, meeting my father, and living in America as a graduate student, among other topics. You can buy her book from Lazada! Congratulations to other winners of this year's National Book Award--here is the full list of winners.
I am grateful for this particularly sensitive review from Catherine Robertson, a New Zealand bestselling author whose wit and insight I've always admired. Have a listen here.
I haven't been updating my website lately, and after much procrastinating, I've found that I won't have enough time to dedicate a blog post to every life update I have (I shouldn't be complaining but it can be overwhelming at times, haha). And so without further ado, here is what has happened in my writing life since my last post:
1) Book chapter about Gina Apostol's Gun Dealers' Daughter in the anthology, Closer to Liberation: Pin[a/x]y Activism in Theory and Practice (Cognella, 2023)
I am thrilled to have my article, "The Nation as Fragmented Self in Gina Apostol's Gun Dealers' Daughter" appear in this landmark volume on Filipina/x feminism and activism edited by Amanda Solomon Amorao, DJ Kuttin Kandi, and Jen Soriano. This article is a shortened version of a chapter from the critical component of my PhD thesis. I highly recommend the use of this textbook in Filipino-American, Asian-American, and Women's Studies programs. You may purchase this book here.
2) Review of David E. Yee's Mongolian Horse (Black Lawrence, 2022) in Colorado Review
I purchased David E. Yee's Mongolian Horse on a whim when Black Lawrence Press titles went on sale, and was immediately blown away by Yee's technique and mastery of the short story form. This is a masterful debut that examines Asian-American masculinity and male grief, and I had so much fun writing a review of this book. You can read that here.
3) Guested on Jesil Cajes's Culture Connection radio program in Wellington, New Zealand
I am deeply grateful to Jesil Cajes of Culture Connection for inviting me to talk about my debut story collection, Love & Other Rituals, on her radio program featuring the richness of Wellington's immigrant communities. Being enthusiastically called "the first Kiwi-Filipino fiction writer" on a live radio program took some getting used to, but who knows, maybe we are making history, one story at a time.
4) Virtual Author Talk with Catherine Robertson, hosted by GOOD BOOKS Wellington
I finally have a New Zealand launch for my book, thanks to the generosity of GOOD BOOKS Wellington and my author friend Catherine Robertson, who will be hosting the event. This is a free event and you can watch it from anywhere in the world, but you will have to register on Eventbrite first. This will be on St. Patrick's Day, so come raise a pint for my book! My Kiwi friends can also purchase their copies of my book from GOOD BOOKS, a local independent bookstore that supports small press authors like me.
When Will Woolfitt of the literary blog Speaking of Marvels approached me for an interview about Love and Other Rituals, I said, why the hell not? It's a huge honor to share this space with the likes of Mandy-Suzanne Wong, Jen Soriano, and Laura Villareal, and to talk more about my book, my process, and my journey as a writer. Read the full interview here.
I'd like to express my gratitude to the Wellington City Libraries in New Zealand, especially to Neil Johnstone, for preparing this lovely video interview featuring my book. I answered questions about being a Filipino writer who has lived in and written from different countries, my creative process, and how I envision the audience of my work. You can watch the video and read their accompanying blog post here and borrow my book from the Wellington City Library collection, or else order it from Unity Books in Wellington.
I'm delighted to share my latest for Electric Literature, an essay about how I connected with the movie Ghost World as a teenager in the Philippines, and how I saw myself and one of my high school best friends in its lead characters, Enid and Rebecca, played by Thora Birch and Scarlett Johannson. I wanted to write about how female friendships are important for young women of color seeking to forge a path of their own as artists, especially in a place like the Philippines that doesn't exactly serve as an encouraging environment for rebellion and creativity. Read the full essay here.