Kritika Kultura, the refereed e-journal of language and literary/cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University, is holding a talk and book launch by Marivi Soliven. The event—part of the Kritika Kultura Lecture Series—features Soliven’s new book The Mango Bride, a Palanca Grand Prize Winner for the novel, and will be on Aug. 20, 2013, 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. at the Escaler Hall in Ateneo de Manila University. The event is co-organized with National Book Store.
Soliven’s website describes the book as the story of two Filipinas, Amparo Guerrero and Beverly Obejas, and their “fight to find a new life in America, despite the secrets of the past.”
The synopsis reads: “Banished by her wealthy Filipino family in Manila, Amparo Guerrero travels to Oakland, California, to forge a new life. Although her mother labels her life in exile a diminished one, Amparo believes her struggles are a small price to pay for freedom. Like Amparo, Beverly Obejas—an impoverished Filipina waitress—forsakes Manila and comes to Oakland as a mail order bride in search of a better life. Yet even in the land of plenty, Beverly fails to find the happiness and prosperity she envisioned. As Amparo works to build the immigrant’s dream, she becomes entangled in the chaos of Beverly’s immigrant nightmare. Their unexpected collision forces both of them to make terrible choices and confront a life-changing secret, but through it all they hold fast to family in all its enduring and surprising transformations.”
Soliven will talk about her creative journey in the writing of the novel and the Filpino diasporic issues covered by this exciting work.
Marivi Soliven has taught writing workshops at the University of California, San Diego and at the University of the Philippines. Her writing first gained recognition with silver medals for children’s fiction at the 1992 and 1993 Palanca Awards for Literature. In 1998 her short story “Beaux Café” won the Philippines Free Press Grand Prize for fiction. Suddenly Stateside, a collection of essays about the Filipino diaspora and the immigrant experience was an instant bestseller when it was first released in Manila in 2002. It has gone through multiple printings and is now available in both Kindle and Nook digital editions at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com.
Short stories and essays from Soliven’s 15 books have appeared in Philippine anthologies and textbooks on creative writing. Other essays and flash fiction have been featured in Where Are You From? An Anthology of Asian American Writing (Oregon) and The Journal of Post Colonial Studies (0hio). Her short story, “Talunang Manok,” was adapted for a short film in December 2011.
In 2012, Soliven won a spot in the highly coveted Hedgebrook’s Writers in Residence program, one of 41 fellows chosen from a field of 1,000 applicants. The grant provided her with a two week writing retreat at the Hedgebrook estate on Whidbey Island in 2012, in the company of other writers, most notably Gloria Steinem.