I went to a party over the weekend and was asked to recommend them a Filipino author who wrote fiction. I was embarrassed to say that I couldn’t name any. I blanked out. Not a single name came to the top of my mind.
This bothered me the whole day. I attempted to go through my mental catalog and see if I could pick one out. I have read books by Filipino authors, but why couldn’t I remember a name? Two thoughts came into my mind.
1) Do I not know enough of the authors that I read?
2) Do I not read enough literature from authors of my own heritage?
I suppose I never really thought about it before. At least never in that way. You could ask me to name an author who writes about elephants, and I could most likely tell you of a book (Like Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen). Or you could ask me to name an author who wrote about vampires and I could hand you my reading list of 2010.
Lesson learned that I will make it a point to know more about the author before or after I have read one of their books. They have spent so much time to create something so personal for them, sharing a little piece of themselves each time we read one of their stories.
Sometimes I just jump into the book, absorbing the story, the characters, and the words that I neglect, or take for granted, the author that I should get to know in the first place. Even with today’s technology of Twitter or Facebook, I can lose sight of what’s important: the author themselves.
It’s also a shame that I do not know more the authors of my culture. I researched and asked around, and there are so many Filipino authors that are talented in their own right. Let’s get to know some of them together, shall we?
First of all, the author that we all probably know is Melissa de la Cruz. How could I have missed that? (See? Thought #1 is already proven) She has won many awards for her novels. I was introduced to her books this year, and I am a fan of her work. She is known for The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard, the Girl series, and the newly released the Beauchamp Family.
Next up is Jessica Hagedorn. She is an author that has challenged what I know and understand about Filipinos. She is not only an author, but a playwriter and songwriter as well. Her novels have won awards and book nominations. Her novel Dogeaters, showcases the different aspects of the Filipino experience in America.
Here are some other Filipino authors with some fantastic books. They all look interesting and have a deep and heavy feel to their messages. I am intrigued. I will definitely be picking these up to see what stories they each have to tell.
When the Rainbow Goddess Wept by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard
When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe
Ilustrado: A Novel by Miguel Syjuco
A Carnivore’s Inquiry by Sabina Murray
Rolling the R’s by R. Zamora Linmark