Award-winning Fil-Aussie writer launches book during 75th PH-Australia friendship day in Canberra

Published May 19, 2021, 4:51 PM

by Roy Mabasa

Award-winning Filipino-Australian writer Dr. Merlinda Bobis has successfully launched her book, “The Kindness of Birds”, at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra during the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Philippines Australia diplomatic relations last week.

Dr. Merlinda Bobis (Merlinda Bobis official website)

The Albay-native Bobis is a trilingual writer who has published 4 novels, 6 poetry books, a collection of short stories and had 10 dramatic works performed and produced in Australia, the Philippines, the United States, Canada, Spain, Singapore, China, France, Slovakia and Thailand.

She was a recipient of major literary awards that include the 2016 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction for her novel Locust Girl. A Lovesong, and three Philippine National Book Awards for the Locust Girl, 2016; Fish-Hair Woman, 2014, and White Turtle, 2000, among others.

During the event, Dr. Lucy Neave, novelist and senior lecturer at the Australian National University and Associate Professor Alvin Yapan of the Ateneo de Manila University delivered their respective messages in support of the book.

Bobis read excerpts from her book for more than 60 guests representing the diplomatic corps, Australian Federal Government, ACT Government and members of the Filipino community.

Book cover of The Kindness of Birds (Philippine Embassy Canberra)

The Philippine-born elite writer has a Bachelor of Arts (Summa cum Laude) from the Aquinas University of Legazpi and a Master of Arts in Literature (Meritissimus) from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila.

She went to Australia in 1991 on a study grant and thereafter completed a Doctorate of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong where she taught creative writing for more than 20 years.

Philippine Ambassador to Canberra Ma. Hellen De La Vega delivered the opening remarks where she cited the “mateship and bayanihan” that define the friendship between Australia and the Philippines for the last seven and a half decades.

“This friendship is so important that we take time every year on the 22nd of May to celebrate Philippines and Australia Friendship Day marking the day when Australia first established its Australian Consulate-General in Manila. We have long understood that our relations benefit not only our two peoples but the region and the world at large,” she said.