The Philippine Pen (Poets & Playwrights, Essayists, Novelists) will formally launch the newest publications from Jaime An Lim, Jose Wendell Capili, and National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose on Saturday, May 28, at Solidaridad Bookstore in Ermita, Manila.
To be launched are An Lim’s “The Axolotl Colony: Stories,” Capili’s “Migrations and Mediations: The Emergence of Southeast Asian Diaspora Writers in Australia, 1972-2007,” and Jose’s “Selected Stories.” All three titles are published by the University of the Philippines Press.
“The Axolotl Colony” gathers the stories of Jaime An Lim. His characters are faced with fear and dread for the future but hurtle along in An Lim’s masterful control of pace and plot. Paralyzed by separation, Tomas, in the title story, is a study in quiet desperation.
Fidela Magsilang, in the story bearing her name, is literally liberated from her cold feet by a chase through a woodland scene. In “The Homing Mandarin,” An Lim chronicles the epic travails of a Chinese family in the Philippines with gentle humor and sad irony. An Lim sees the humanity in his characters’ fears at the same time as he admires and admonishes them.
An Lim is co-founder of the Mindanao Writers Group and the Iligan National Writers Workshop and has won many awards for his fiction.
“Migrations and Mediations” is Capili’s doctoral dissertation on Filipino and Southeast Asian expatriate writing in Australia. According to National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, the book is “… remarkable for its steady grasp of a unifying vision encompassing literary production by writers coming from disparate cultures and historical backgrounds, and establishing their significance as a factor in the construction of the contemporary cultural identity of Australia … an important contribution to the narrative of Australia’s cultural history …”
Capili is an award-winning essayist and poet and is assistant vice-president for alumni affairs and director of the Office of Alumni Relations, UP System.
“Selected Stories” gathers some of the canonical short fiction of F. Sionil Jose and should be a must-read for Philippine literature classes. Jose is founder of the Philippine PEN and he himself chose the stores in the collection: “These twelve short stories are memorable to me because they are, in a sense, so much a part of my personal experience. Writers write from their lives—this is axiomatic, not so much because their lives are ignited by adventure and romance. What they do is embroider, enlarge what is fairly trivial and common into something bright—even fanciful—with the magic of words.”
The book-launch is open to the public. Solidaridad Bookstore is at 531 Padre Faura St., Ermita, Manila [tel. (632) 2541086; telefax (632) 2541068].