PH Consulate in Toronto spearheads launch of books authored by young Filipino-Canadian writers

Published January 7, 2019, 6:32 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Roy Mabasa

The Philippine Consulate in Toronto has spearheaded the launch of books authored by young Filipino-Canadian writers to help them create a platform to introduce their works into the mainstream and literary scene in Canada.

In a recent ceremony at the Consulate’s cultural hub Sentro Rizal, Consul General Rosalita Prospero lauded the works of the young Filipino-Canadian writers belonging to a group called “Pluma Collective,” even as she underscored the importance of the book launch during the Christmas 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,” she said.

One of the featured works was the “Bodies of Water” by Yves Lamson, 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.

Currently, the Bodies of Water occupies the fifth top spot in Amazon-Canada’s bestseller list of Asian-Canadian literature

Another young writer 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.

Alli is the creator of the podcast, “Exploring Filipino Kitchens,” where she talks about Filipino food, history, culture and travel.

Eric Tigley, a teacher at the Toronto Catholic School Board, read portions from his children’s book entitled “Round Brown Blues,” and later introduced to the audience his newly published activity book, “Hoy.”

Hoy 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.

Rachel Chiong, meanwhile, mesmerized the audience by performing two spoken word pieces entitled “I Pray” and “Kabangka” while program emcee Jennylee Austria read her story for children, “The Secret Behind your Spots” which will soon be published into a book.

“Living Hyphen” editor and publisher Justine Yu saw the need to amplify the stories of those who call Canada home but whose roots come from distant places, including the Philippines.

The Toronto-based young Filipino-Canadian writers expressed their appreciation to the Consulate General and Sentro Rizal Toronto for organizing this event, which provided them an inroad not just to the Filipino-Canadian community but also to a wider Canadian audience.