Sunday, December 10, 2023

Interview of Author Cecilia Brainard by Cris Al Maglinte Cagoscos


For Cris Al Maglinte Cagoscos & Classmates

Cebu Technology University-Moalboal Campus

“Literary Analysis: Narrative Strategies and Cultural Implications in Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

Short Stories”

Re "Flip Gothic" and "Woman with Horns", we would like to ask what inspired and motivated you to write these two stories and how they relate to your past experiences.

Hi, Cris,

Thank you and your classmates for your interest.

I highly recommend that you do some research as well about my work – see links below, and there are more links listed in my official website. 

Recommended Links: - Click on “About” and check out Interviews and Sources

The Cebuana in the World: Cecilia Manguerra Brainard Writing Out of Cebu -

Visit and search “Woman With Horns” and “Flip Gothic” in my blog:

Re Woman with Horns

Woman with Horns was one of my earlier short stories when I was interested in the historical background of Cebu, albeit transformed as Ubec in my imagination. In schools I had been taught that “Magellan discovered the Philippines” which I realized was a fallacy because the Philippines had people way before Magellan showed up. In other words that statement “Magellan discovered the Philippines” was coming from a Eurocentric point of view. I was keenly aware of the Western orientation in the Philippines, by the books we read, the movies that we saw, the music that we danced to, our awe at American or European cultures.


            I wanted to reimagine the Philippines, Cebu in particular, from a Filipino point of view.  Writing my stories helped me do that.

            Ubec is the mythical place that I created as the setting for many of my stories. It is like Cebu, although it really isn’t, But in my mind, imagining Ubec allowed me to envision the kind of life that my grandparents, great-grandparents may have had. Ubec gave me an understanding of where I came from. (And as you know, it is important to know where you come from, in order to know where you are going.)

            “Woman with Horns” came about as I imagined Ubec/Cebu as it may have been. Very specifically, it was inspired by a woman I used to see when I was a child in Cebu, a woman who reportedly had horns. My mother used to point out the hair puffs on top of her head and said those were horns. I was also aware of the early American programs in the Philippines of improving education, health care, their handling of leprosy, and eradicating rats.

            From my imaginings, Agustina and Dr. McAllister came to be, their love story set in the Ubec that I had created in my mind.


Re Flip Gothic

The story “Flip Gothic” was inspired by a niece of a Filipina friend here in the US. My friend used to tell me stories of the escapes and scrapes her niece got into. This teenager was from New York, and very much like my story, she drove her parents crazy until finally the parents decided to send her to her Lola in the Philippines.

Mindy was born and since I know Cebu, its culture, its history, and the power and strength one can get from such knowledge, I sent Mindy to Ubec/Cebu to be with her Lola there.  And then you know how the story goes. It is fiction but inspired by this FilAm young woman, who I understand turned out to be just fine, with her own family and well settled here in the US.

What it is really, is that young Filipino Americans often have an identity crisis. They are not sure who they are – are they American or are they Filipino? This was the case with Mindy, which accounted for her wildness. But once she had a sense of who she was, where her roots were, she felt better about herself.

I’ll end this here for now. 

Happy holidays to all of you!


Tags: Cebuano writers, Cebu writers, Cebuano books, Interview Cecilia Brainard

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