Toronto, Canada, 03 January 2019 — Young authors of Filipino descent launched their works at the Sentro Rizal Toronto, the cultural hub of the Philippine Consulate General in Toronto, on 07 December 2018.
Organized under Sentro Rizal Toronto, the objective of the book launch is to create a platform for young Filipino-Canadian writers to introduce their works to the mainstream Canadian society and literary scene.
In her welcome remarks, Consul General Rosalita S. Prospero said that the book launch cannot be more timely given the season.
“I like to give books during the holidays. Books are easy to wrap and unwrap and yet you are giving someone something that lasts forever,” the Consul General added.
Yves Lamson’s work “Bodies of Water” is a literary fiction that wanders into the magic realism genre. It follows the lives of four generations of women with an innate ability to speak to water. Set against the lush and vibrant backdrop of rural Philippine life, familial myths collide with historical events and people. As of this writing, “Bodies of Water” occupies the fifth top spot in Amazon.ca’s Bestseller List of Asian-Canadian literature.
Nastasha Alli read an excerpt from her contribution to “The New Filipino Kitchen,” a collection of moving stories and enticing recipes written by overseas Filipinos living and working abroad. She is the creator of the podcast, “Exploring Filipino Kitchens,” where she talks about Filipino food, history, culture, and travel.
A teacher at the Toronto Catholic School Board, Eric Tigley read from his work for children entitled “Round Brown Blues,” and presented to the audience his newly published activity book for children, “Hoy.” The book features Philippine historical figures and activities based on the “baybayin,” the ancient script used by the earlier inhabitants of the Tagalog region in the Philippines.
Justin Yu is the editor and publisher of “Living Hyphen,” a journal that weaves together stories, poetry, photography and illustrations by individuals of hyphenated identities in Canada. Citing the lack of diversity in Canadian literature, Yu saw the need to amplify the stories of those who call Canada home but whose roots come from distant places, including the Philippines.
Spoken word artist Rachel Chiong mesmerized the audience by performing two spoken word pieces entitled “I Pray” and “Kabangka.”
A settlement worker by day, Jennylee Austria was the program’s emcee. She also read her story for children “The Secret Behind your Spots,” will soon be published into a book.
All members of the Pluma Collective, the Toronto-based young Filipino-Canadian writers expressed their appreciation to the Consulate General and Sentro Rizal Toronto for spearheading this activity, which provided them an important platform through which they can introduce their works not only to the Filipino-Canadian Community but, more importantly, to a wider Canadian audience.