Filipino Readers Make It Social~ by Tarie Sabido
Part 3 of 3 (read Part 1 here and Part 2 here)
Wondering about the Filipino reading community? Filipino readers are social readers. We don’t just love books; we unite with other book lovers and meet both online and offline to discuss books. We regularly meet with our book clubs or other reading organizations in person, and we use social media to keep in touch between meetings. The first Filipino online and offline book club was Flips Flipping Pages. Flips Flipping Pages meets every second Saturday of the month for food, games and other activities, and discussions of books – everything from Dr. Seuss books, the Hunger Games, and Howl’s Moving Castle, to Wicked, the Little Prince, and the Left Hand of Darkness. Their website serves as a bulletin and discussion board. Their latest online discussion being on books they would recommend to school children and books they would like to be part of the elementary and high school curricula.
Another online and offline reading group is Filipino Book Bloggers, an informal organization that started as an online directory and grew to include regular meet-ups. Click here to see a list of some Filipino children’s book bloggers and here to see a list of some Filipino young adult book bloggers.
Last year, the Filipino reading community organized the first Filipino Reader Conference. The event was held on September 14 at the Manila International Book Fair, and included a keynote speech on the merging of readers and writers through social media, a panel on putting up and running a book club, a panel on the whys and hows of book blogging, and giveaways. Speakers included Tata Francisco, teacher and founder of Ex Libris Philippines, a book club and an organization that raises money for scholarships, and Chachic Fernandez, popular young adult book blogger and administrator of Filipino Book Bloggers. The conference provided support, instruction, and social time for readers; celebrated readers and reading; and promoted closer ties between readers, writers, and publishers.
The second Filipino Reader Conference is this August 18 and will be bigger and better, with book discussions, presentations on topics such as book blogging ethics and effective school reading programs, and the ceremony for the first Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards.
The Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards seek to honor Philippine-published books and give the Filipino reading public a greater voice in the Philippine publishing industry. The award categories include children’s picture books, comics/graphic novels, short st
Watch Out for New Young Adult Literature from the Philippines! ~ by Tarie Sabido
Part 2 of 3 (read Part 1 here)
In the Philippines, very young readers have many excellent local picture books to choose from, but it’s slim pickings for young adult readers. There just hasn’t been a lot of young adult literature (excellent or not) published in the country. So when young Filipino readers grow up, they turn to young adult literature from the US, the UK, Australia, and other countries.
The good news is that Philippine young adult literature is slowly growing. The local publishing industry is starting to recognize the desire for much, much more young adult literature with Philippine content. Just last month, Summit Media launched Kwentillion, a bi-monthly young adult science fiction and fantasy magazine that includes comics, short fiction, book reviews, writer and artist features, resources for young writers and artists, and much more. Co-editors Paolo Chikiamco and Budjette Tan have put together an entertaining and eye-opening first issue with stories of Philippine mythical creatures, monster-fighting plumbers, comic book superheroes, alternate histories, and deep space-swimming Filipinos, along with previews of young adult science fiction and fantasy novels, an article on fan fiction, interviews with two rock stars of the Philippine comic book world, a directory of Filipino artists to follow, an art tutorial, and a primer on folk magic.
I wrote an article for Kwentillion about the need for more Filipino young adult literature. It’s important for Filipino teens to read stories from around the world, but it’s even more important for them to read local stories. Young adult literature is about being relevant to teens, and context and distance matter when it comes to relevancy. It isn’t enough for Filipino teens just to know through stories that there are others who share their problems, concerns, hopes, and dreams. They need to know that other teens going through very similar emotional journeys are around them every single day, on buses and trains with them, in their churches and neighborhoods, at the same schools and malls.
Filipino teens can now look forward to books like Horror: Filipino Fiction For Young Adults, an anthology of horror stories edited by Dean Alfar and Kenneth Yu, to be published by the University of the Philippines Press. Flipside Publishing will soon release four young adult e-books: the first two installments of a paranormal romance series by A.S. Santos (tentatively entitled The Voices in the Theater and The Corpse in the Mirror); The Woman in the Frame, an art mystery and historical romance by Raissa Falgui; and The Viewless Dark, a paranormal mystery by Eliza Victoria. Other Philippine publishers also have young adult books in the pipeline. I can’t wait! This may seem like a very small number of books compared to other young adult markets, but this is the most number of Philippine young adult books to be published in recent years. This is something to be excited about.
Fans of young adult literature, especially Filipino teens, please watch out for many more stories that feature Filipino settings, culture and heritage, legends and folktales, creatures, characters, and more!
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