Prepping for FilAm Book Fest II: 19 October 3-4pm @ SFPL

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In less than two weeks, yours truly will be moderating the panel “Writing Our Way Home: Shaping Tradition, History and Culture” with Luisa Igloria, Jon Pineda, and Lysley Tenorio, as part of the Filipino American International Book Festival (Filbookfest 2)- Likhâ ng Lahi. Writing Our Way Home: Shaping Tradition, History and Culture, taking place during LitQuake on October 18–20, 2013 at the San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.

Prepping has been a challenge not just in angling for an engaging approach to the fest’s theme, but in the mission impossible task of carving out time to review these luminaries’ work.

Dipping in and out of the titles Juan Luna’s Revolver, (University of Notre Dame Press, 2009) poetry by Luisa Igloria who also edited the collection of essays in Not Home, But Here: Writing From The Filipino Diaspora (Anvil, 2003), Jon Pineda’s Apology: A Novel (Milkweed National Fiction Prize, 2013), his memoir Sleep In Me (American Lives) and revisiting Lysley Tenorio’s Monstress (Ecco, 2011), some of the questions that have surfaced, which may or may not be put to the panel are as follows:

  • Currently reading Pineda’s Apology, so his novel is forefront in my mind and specifically this quote: “It was not a dream, though it felt like one. A beautiful piece of memory that could make him cry. Exequiel woke now, feverish. Out of his head. He summoned it from the faint scar woven in the bottom of his foot. A story hidden in the flesh.” So many of the tales interwoven in this novel are told through the body and since the author shifts in time and out of sequence, I’m curious to know how does the flesh experience–since this is such a visceral and at times violent set of interlocked stories–how does flesh dictate the telling of the novel as opposed to chronology? I’d love to hear the panelists discuss how the body in space and time shape if not dictate their work.
  • In the past couple of years, The Guardian has touched upon the evolving idea of post-post- colonialism, and in the review published November 2009 of Zadie Smith’s Changing My Mind Peter Conrad explores the topic:

Having hybrid identities, not belonging anywhere or indeed belonging everywhere, may have its advantages, but these attributes must still contend with pressing circumstances like the voraciousness of 21st-century capitalism. Far from floating free in a state of unbelonging, most people are trapped in predetermined social and political positions; they must act within the history that surrounds them. The possession of multiple selves and voices doesn’t seem to be helping — and may even be inhibiting —

Each of the authors deal with disembodied and disparate identities that more often than not are detached from geography and statehood in various ways. What if anything does the term post-post-colonialism and post-post-modernism mean to them? Do they think about these critical theories when they write or when they envision a place and space for their writing?

  • In D.R.M. Irving’s book on musical history of the Philippines, Colonial Counterpoint: Music in Early Modern Manila, (Oxford University Press, 2010) he posits that Manila during the 16th and 17th centuries became the first truly cosmopolitan cities and cultures, linking the East with the West, the old world of Spain with the new world of New Spain in Mexico. Since the work of these authors are so fluid and essentially transnational, do they feel they are a part of new cosmopolitanism or that they are cosmopolitans themselves? How would they define these terms, especially in relation to the Philippines history as an early nexus of transculturation and cosmopolitanism?
  • Luisa Igloria in the collection of essays she edited Not Home But Here: Writing from the Filipino Diaspora, writes in her introduction of the “academic residence.” Since each of the panelists are writers and professors in academia, this idea of multiple residences may complicate or conflate the idea of multiple selves. Not only do we have so many selves or “splinters of selves” as Virginia Woolf called it, but we also have many residences, whether they be academic, artistic, personal, familial, etc. Might the panelists speak on these multi-selves and multi-residences, how they inform their writing, when and how they place themselves in any given condition or context, and how the multiple residences affect the process of writing?
  • We might also talk about the different genres and crossing over or not.

Perhaps there are burning questions you might put to the panelists or suggested subjects? Here’s to welcoming your ideas. Hope to see you at the FilAm Book Fest II.

More on the panel forthcoming…

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