Friday, September 6, 2019

September Literary Reading by Asian American Women Writers

I'll be reading with some members of that awesome women's group, PAAWWW (Pacific Asian American Women Writers-West) on September 21, 2019, from 2-4 p.m. at 1952 W. 162nd Street, Gardena, CA 90247. Thanks to Timothy Toyota for organizing this event. Please join us. I'm sharing a- 1980s Photo taken after a reading that included Wanda Coleman

Front L-R: Amy Uyematsu, Akemi Kikumura, Joyce Nako, Naomi Hirahara, Emma Gee, Momoko Iko
Middle row L-R: Pam Tom, Velina Houston (behind Joyce), Cecilia Brainard, Ardis Nishikawa
Back Row L-R: Jude Narita, Fe Koons, Wanda Coleman, Chungmi

The other group picture was taken last year and shows: eated l-r: Jude Narita, Joyce Nako, Amy Uyematsu; Standing l-r" Diane Ujiiye, Miya Iwataki, Cecilia Brainard

tags: literature, literary reading, Asian, women, Asian American, Japanese American, Chinese American, Filipino American, books, writers

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

HOT OFF THE PRESS Literary Readings, FilAm Book Festival, October 12 - 13, 2019

Filipino and Filipino American authors with recent published books will showcase their books at the HOT OFF THE PRESS Literary Readings at the Fifth Filipino American International Book Festival at the San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, on Saturday October 12, 2019 at 12:45  pm and at 4 p.m.

The readers are:

Koret Auditorium, 12:45 - 2 p.m.

Walter Ang, Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino, Alfred A. Yuson,

Criselda Yabes, Cecilia Brainard, Grace Talusan, EJR David, Cindy Fazzi,

Elmer Omar Bascos Pizo, Aileen Cassinetto

Koret Auditorium, 4- 5:15 p.m.

Ted Cayobit Visaya, Ricco Siosoco, Melinda Luisa de Jesus,
 Leny Strobel, Arlene Biala, Rick Rocamora, Angelo R. Lacuesta, Jacqueline Chio-Lauri, Rin Chupeco, Yves Lamson


Here are some featured writers who will be performing at HOTP Literary Readings.

Walter Ang, author of Barangay to Broadway: Filipino American Theater History
Walter Ang is the author of Barangay to Broadway: Filipino American Theater History. He currently covers Filipino American theater for news site and was a contributing writer for the Theater Volume for the second edition of the Encyclopedia of Philippine Art recently published by the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Before moving to the US, he covered the Manila theater industry for the newspaper Philippine Daily Inquirer. Ang was a juror for the Philstage organization's Gawad Buhay theater awards from 2008 to 2009. He was a Fellow at the 2009 University of Santo Tomas Varsitarian-J. Elizalde Navarro National Workshop on Arts and Humanities Criticism Writing. Visit
Walter Ang's Barangay to Broadway: Filipino American Theater History 
follows the events, groups, and individuals that have comprised Filipino American theater from 1898 to 2016. Milestones and highlights include performers of the 1900s and 1910s, immigrant community productions of the 1920s and 1930s, all the way to the Broadway performers of the 1950s.

Research and interviews follow the the artists who were part of the seminal Filipino American theater groups and pioneering Asian American theater companies of the 1960s and 1970s. The book continues with the establishing of Filipino American theater companies in the 1980s and 1990s, such as Ma-Yi Theater in New York, CIRCA-Pintig in Chicago, and Bindlestiff Studio in San Francisco. It also includes information on Obie Award and Tony Award winners, as well as the emerging groups and leaders of the 2000s and 2010s.

Arlene Biala, author of ONE INCH PUNCH (Word Tech Communications Word Poetry imprint, 2019)

Arlene Biala is a Pinay poet and performance artist born in San Francisco and raised in the South Bay. She has been participating in poetry performances and workshops in the Bay Area for over 30 years and was Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County for 2016 and 2017. Her poetry has been described as "grounded in ritual object and ritual practice, mantras that resonate within the body, and plant the body firmly in the world." She is the author of several collections of poetry: bone, continental drift, and her beckoning hands, which won the 2015 American Book Award. Her latest book, one inch punch, was published in January 2019 by WordTech Communications (Word Poetry imprint).

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, author of Please, San Antonio! & Melisande in Paris (PALH 2018); When the Rainbow Goddess Wept (Philippine Edition University of Santo Tomas Publishing House 2019)  
Cecilia Manguerra Brainard draws inspiration from her birth city of Cebu, Philippines.  Her three novels and numerous stories are often set in her mythical Ubec (Cebu backwards).  Her first novel, When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, in print for 28 years has been recently reissued in the Philippines by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House.  Her official website is

When the Rainbow Goddess Wept (USTPH 2019) is a coming of age story of a young girl in the Philippines during World War Two.  It is published in the US by the University of Michigan Press and in the Philippines by the UST Publishing House.

Please, San Antonio! & Melisande in Paris (PALH 2018) collects two novellas by Eve La Salle Caram and Cecilia Manguerra Brainard. Cecilia’s story in this collection focuses on the backstory in Paris of French character who appears in her third novel, The Newspaper Widow

Aileen Cassinetto, author of The Pink House of Purple Yam (Our Own Voice and Little Dove Books, 2019); and Speak Poetry Anthology, Volume 1 (San Mateo County Libraries, 2019)

Aileen Cassinetto is the Poet Laureate of San Mateo County, the first Asian American appointed to the post. She is the author of the poetry collections Traje de Boda and The Pink House of Purple Yam Preserves & Other Poems, as well as three chapbooks through Moria Books’ acclaimed Locofo series. She is also the publisher of Paloma Press, a literary press established in 2016 which has released 17 books to date, by authors which include Eileen Tabios, Albert Alejo, Cynthia Buiza, Gabriela Igloria, Ivy Alvarez, Melinda Luisa de Jesus, Lily Mendoza, Lisa Suguitan Melnick, Leny Strobel, Reme Grefalda, Wesley St. Jo, Renato Redentor Constantino, among others.

Jacqueline Chio-Lauri, author of The New Filipino Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Around the Globe (Agate Surrey, 2018)


Jacqueline Chio-Lauri is the anthologist and editor, and one of the contributing authors of 2019 Midwest and Eric Hoffer Book Awards winner, The New Filipino Kitchen, an anthology of stories and recipes from around the globe.

Jacqueline has more than eight years’ experience in the food industry. She has opened and managed restaurants at deluxe hotels, such as Shangri-La and Sheraton. While working in Dubai, she was one of the five young women professionals featured in Emirates Woman magazine in a special report, “Why the Future Is Female.”

Jacqueline’s writing has been published in anthologies, such as Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Inner Strength. A short memoir she wrote, “Good for One,” won the short memoir writing competition at and was published in the anthology Tales of Our Lives: Fork in the Road.

She lives in Manchester, UK, her 7th country of residence.

Chio-Lauri's book, The New Filipino Kitchen, named a favorite cookbook of 2018 by the San Francisco Chronicle, is a multifaceted, nuanced introduction to the world of Filipino food and food culture. It collects 30 stories and recipes from Filipinos in the diaspora, with contributions from the White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford, Bocuse d’Or Europe 2018 winner Christian André Pettersen, 2015 MasterChef New Zealand runner-up Leo Fernandez, five-time Palanca Award winner and poet Francis Macansantos, and the “Food Buddha” Rodelio Aglibot.

Melinda Luisa de Jesus, author of peminology (Paloma Press, 2019) 

Melinda Luisa de Jesús is Chair and Associate Professor of Diversity Studies at California College of the Arts. She writes and teaches about Filipinx/American cultural production, girl culture, monsters, and race/ethnicity in the United States. She edited Pinay Power: Peminist Critical Theory, the first anthology of Filipina/American Feminisms (Routledge 2005).

Her writing has appeared in: Mothering in East Asian Communities: Politics and Practices; Completely Mixed Up: Mixed Heritage Asian North American Writing and Art; Approaches to Teaching Multicultural Comics; Ethnic Literary Traditions in Children’s Literature; Challenging Homophobia; Radical Teacher; The Lion and the Unicorn; Ano Ba Magazine; Rigorous; Konch Magazine; Rabbit and Rose; MELUS; Meridians; The Journal of Asian American Studies, and Delinquents and Debutantes: Twentieth-Century American Girls’ Cultures. She is also a poet and her chapbooks, Humpty Drumpfty and Other Poems, Petty Poetry for SCROTUS Girls’ with poems for Elizabeth Warren and Michelle Obama, Defying Trumplandia, Adios Trumplandia, James Brown’s Wig and Other Poems, and Vagenda of Manicide and Other Poems were published by Locofo Chaps/Moria Poetry in 2017.

Her first collection of poetry, peminology, was recently published by Paloma Press (March 2019). She is a mezzo-soprano, a mom, an Aquarian, and admits an obsession with Hello Kitty. More info: 

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco, author of The Foley Artist (Gaudy Boy, 2019)

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a writer, educator, and activist. He received his MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and he has taught at Boston College, Columbia University, and the Massachusetts College of Art. Ricco has received fellowships from The Center for Fiction, Lambda Literary, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is a board member of Kundiman, a national literary organization dedicated to Asian American literature. Ricco lives in Los Angeles. The Foley Artist is his first book.

Re The Foley Artist: At once deliciously bizarre and painfully familiar, The Foley Artist introduces a vital new voice to Asian American literature. Ricco Villanueva Siasoco's powerful debut collection opens new regions of American feeling and thought as it interrogates intimacy, foreignness, and silence in an absurd world.

These nine stories give voice to the intersectional identities of women and men in the Filipino diaspora in America: a straight woman attends her ex-boyfriend's same-sex marriage in coastal Maine; a college-bound teenager encounters his deaf uncle in Manila; Asian American drag queens duke it out in the annual Iowa State Fair; a seventy-nine-year-old foley artist recreates the sounds of life, but is finally unable to save himself.

Grace Talusan, author of The Body Papers (Restless Books, 2019)

Grace Talusan was born in the Philippines and raised in New England. She is the recipient of a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship to the Philippines and an Artist Fellowship Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Talusan is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University. She has published in Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, Boston Magazine, Boston Globe, The Rumpus, and others. The Body Papers, winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, is her first book.

Re The Body Papers: Born in the Philippines, young Grace Talusan moves with her family to a New England suburb in the 1970s. At school, she confronts racism as one of the few kids with a brown face. At home, the confusion is worse: her grandfather’s nightly visits to her room leave her hurt and terrified, and she learns to build a protective wall of silence that maps onto the larger silence practiced by her Catholic Filipino family. Talusan learns as a teenager that her family’s legal status in the country has always hung by a thread—for a time, they were “illegal.” Family, she’s told, must be put first.

Betty Ann Quirino, author of Instant Filipino Recipes Cookbook; My Mother's Traditional Food in a Multicooker Pot (, 2018) 

Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino, is an award-winning international journalist and author of her most recent cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Food in a Multicooker Pot. Other cookbooks she has written are: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes and How To Cook Philippine Desserts, Cakes and Snacks. Betty Ann, as she is fondly called, was born in the Philippines and raised in Tarlac province where her way of life was molded early on by her parents’ farming and agricultural business. From the time she was a little girl, Betty Ann learned how to cook traditional Philippine dishes from her mother and has transformed these culinary skills to modern day Filipino cooking in her American kitchen. Based in New Jersey, Betty Ann is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP-New York); the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance; the Association of Culinary Historians of the Philippines, and blogs about Filipino home cooking on her site

Leny Strobel. author of Glimpses (Paloma Press, 2019)  

Leny Mendoza Strobel is Professor Emeritus of American Multicultural Studies at Sonoma State University. She is also one of the Founding Directors of the Center for Babaylan Studies. Her books, journal articles, online media presence reflect her decades-long study and reflections on the process of decolonization and healing of colonial trauma through the lens of indigenous perspectives. She is a grandmother to Noah and she tends a garden and chickens with Cal in Northern California. More information is available at

Stay tuned for more announcements re the HOTP literary Readings at the Filipino American International Book Festival this October.

Guidelines to Readers:
Please be at the Koret Auditorium 10 minutes before performance time. Please sit in the front row near the stage. Time will be equally shared by all readers, so each reader will have 7 minutes reading time, including any introduction or comments. A volunteer will hold up a warning card when your time is ending, but please keep track of your reading time and don't go over your time allotment out of courtesy to the other readers and audience.

Cecilia Brainard, moderator and host, will introduce each reader's bio and book information. Please make sure Cecilia has all that information.  There is book signing after the reading.  Make sure you have enough books to make available for the 2 day FilAmBookFest.

Tags: FilAm, Filipino, books, literature, authors, writers, food, history, academic, pinoy, #FilAmLitFest

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Japan: A Thoughtful Travelogue by Cecilia Brainard

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, author of the war novel, WHEN THE RAINBOW GODDESS WEPT, writes a travel article entitled, "Japan: A Thoughtful Travelogue" published by Positively Filipino .

WHEN THE RAINBOW GODDESS WEPT ( is the story of the coming of age of a young girl in the Philippines during World War Two. The internationally acclaimed book is published in the US by the University of Michigan Pres, and in the Philippines by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House.

Her visit to Japan prompts her to consider the events of World War Two in the Pacific. She starts her travel article as follows:

"My Filipino friends have raved about their trips to Japan. Availing of Philippine Airlines’ or Cebu Pacific’s discounted fares, they use Osaka as their base from which to visit other parts of the country. Even though they assured me that Japan is tourist-friendly, I was never tempted to visit it until my husband declared he wanted to go there. Recently he booked a nine-day tour starting in Osaka, on to Koyasan, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Hakone, and ending in Tokyo.

I went, somewhat reluctantly. My parents had been in the guerrilla movement in the Philippines during World War II and had told me countless stories of Japanese atrocities and the sufferings of the Filipinos during that war. In fact, my first novel, When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, integrates many of my parents’ stories of survival in Mindanao. (please continue reading in Positively Filipino)



Koyasan Ekoin Temple

lodging at Ekoin Temple

Okunoin Cemetery in Koyasan

Cecilia pretending she is Lady Kaeda at Hiroshima Castle

Tags: travel, Japan, Asia, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, World War Two, WWII, World War Two, Pacific War.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Bamboo Reed Paintings by Cecilia Brainard

Fuente Osmena Park, Cebu, Philippines (copyright by Cecilia Brainard)

I've been experimenting some more with bamboo reed painting.  I also use barbecue stick for finer work. I like the energy, the unruly and wild feeling of reed painting. 

Here are two reed paintings based on my memories of my birth city, Cebu, Philippines. 

Kiosk of Magellan's Cross, Cebu, Philippines (copyright by Cecilia Brainard)

Tags: art, reed painting, sketching, drawing, bamboo painting, bamboo drawing, cebu, Philippines

Friday, August 9, 2019

Interview of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard by Media and Researchers

Following are some Interviews by the media and by researchers of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

Rappler Interview of Cecilia Brainard, 2019, l-r: Lilibeth Frondoso, Cecilia Brainard, Miraim Grace Go


Interview by Shiela Mae P. Abas
Interview by Christopher Abadilla, University of the Philippines, Cebu
Interview by Allison’s Book Bag
Interview by Libay Linsangan Cantor in Bookwatch, NBDB Philippines
Interview by Dana Hubler, Poets & Writers Magazine
Interview by Jihan Ferrer of De La Salle University Integrated School
Interview by Leila Magtales of De La Salle University Integrated School
Interview by Samantha Parker of De La Salle University Integrated School
Interview (live) by Rappler's Miriam Grace Go on "Writing About Her Two Homes"
Interview (podcast) by Rappler's Miriam Grace Go on Love of Country: "Can a Patriot Love Two Countries?"
Interview about Creative Writing
Interview “Good and Bad Reasons for Being a Writer”
Interview “Woman with Horns” and Different Facets of the Filipino Woman

Interviews on YouTube

Jeepney Books Interviews Cecilia Brainard
Cecilia Brainard Gives Advice to Beginning Writers
Bobit Avila Interviews Cecilia Brainard, Part 1
Bobit Avila Interviews Cecilia Brainard, Part 2
Bobit Avila Interviews Cecilia Brainard, Part 3
“As Cute as a Filipino on a Saturday Night” by G. Tongi for Kababayan Today, 2017
Interview by Cecilia Brainard by Janelle So for Kababayan Today, 2011
Interview of Cecilia Brainard by Janelle So for Kababayan Today, 2013
Interview of Cecilia Brainard by Rappler's Miriam Grace Go, on writing about her two homes, 2019

Tags: Tags: Research, studies, media, #CeciliaBrainard

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Cecilia Brainard at Philippine Expressions, Masskara Festival

Cecilia with Dar Santos Family

 Linda Nietes of Philippine Expressions invited me to sign my books at the Masskara Festival on Sunday, August 4, 2019 in Long Beach. I It was great seeing Linda and her husband Robert again. I was also delighted to see Marilu Morris, Cedric, Ernie Delfin, Eric Lachica. I was happy to meet the Dar Santos Family, all members of whom read and bought Filipiniana books. Here are some pictures courtesy of MariLu Morris and Lisa Pimentel Dar Santos.

Tags: book signing, Philippine Expressions, festival

Monday, August 5, 2019

Japan Tour: Koyasan

Koyasan, Japan

 The mountaintop place of Koyasan with its ancient cedar groves and Buddhist temples felt other-worldly and mystical. Koyasan, a UNESCO site, preserves Shingon Buddhism, a sect began in 805 by Kobo Daishi. The town only has Buddhist temples for housing, and we stayed at Ekoin Temple, where we slept on tatami mats, ate vegan food prepared by the monks, and witnessed their meditation, chanting, and a morning prayer ritual that involved burning wooden sticks with petitions. We had a wonderful walk through the Okunoin cemetery with graves and mausoleums of shoguns and emperors. This ancient cemetery also had many small stone statues tucked here and there, near imposing grave markers and enormous cedar tree roots. The figures had knitted head coverings and red aprons; these small Buddha figures represented dead babies and indicated that infant mortality was high and that their families grieved for their dead babies.