Preparations

In the lead-up to the second edition of the Other Futures Festival which will be held in Amsterdam from the 10th of April to the 12th of April, I will be leading Envisioning Other Futures, a creative writing workshop with the focus on science fiction. The application period has passed and the selection process has been completed. Names of accepted applicants will be released sometime in the coming week.

It’s been a while since I last led a workshop and with Envisioning Other Futures, I hope participating writers will feel free to write in either English or Dutch. I am looking forward to the stories that will come out of the workshop and to witnessing fresh voices emerge from the workshop.

I am happy that we made a choice for guest lecturers from different disciplines, who can offer participants insights that I hope will compel our writers to look deeper than the known tropes.

After what feels like a long period of being out of it, I find myself returning to one of the things I love the most. Writing. Sharing what I know and nurturing others. 2020 is shaping up to be a great year. ┬á­čÖé

Links and things to read

Movements: Translations, the Mother Tongue and Acts of Resistance is now live on Strange Horizons. Elisabeth Vonarburg’s The Chambered Nautilus also appears in this issue. It’s my first time to read her and I’m so glad Aliette de Bodard chose her story for this curated issue. You can read Aliette’s introduction here.

In the same issue is an essay by Jaymee Goh: Once More with Feeling: A Belated Response.

Fellow Filipino writer, Victor Ocampo has a new story up at Apex Magazine. Blessed are the Hungry is an interesting work which also breaks language hegemony and demonstrates code written into story. I like how it references a famous Filipino movie by Ismael Bernal.

Apex Magazine’s July issue is filled with interesting reading provides the reader with an interesting and diverse line-up. I quite enjoyed Rose Lemberg’s Baba Yaga Tries to Donate Money.

Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s novelette, Courtship in the Country of the Machine Gods, also appears in this issue as a reprint. The Apex Book of World SF 3 edited by Lavie Tidhar features this novelette and is now available.

(I’m thrilled to see that this volume also includes a reprint from Swedish writer, Karin Tidbeck whose work I adore.)

Of the stories published in Clarkesworld Magazine, I’ve only read N.K. Jemisin’s Stone Hunger.┬áI like how the story makes use of the fairytale frame, the familiar becoming unfamiliar, it’s a story I want to read again at more leisure.

I’m working slowly through a post on the Decolonization process and Science Fiction. At the moment I have so many words on the page and I need to group them together so they form a cohesive whole.

Lately, I’ve been reading Leny M. Strobel, Virgil Mayor Apostol and Barbara Jane Reyes. Artists, writers, culture bearers.

Talking about good things

2014 is turning out to be quite a busy period. Aside from familial things (including my eldest son breaking his leg and needing lots of support), I’ve been busily working on the En novel. Sometimes, I look at this work and worry about it being too different. When those moments arise, I remember Audre Lorde talking about the work being greater than the fear and I push on and persevere. This is a story I must write and so I’ll write it to the best of my abilities.

Via my good friend, Aliette de Bodard, I found out about this lovely review of “Of Alternate Adventures and Memory”. I’m quite blown away to have my story mentioned alongside Sofia Samatar’s “Selkie Stories are for Losers”. I loved Sofia’s story, so it’s an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as her. Thank you, Ana Grilo.

I want to keep on writing stories that will move readers. Stories that will make readers think and look differently at the world around them. Stories that will challenge readers to step outside the box and move beyond their comfort zones. I also want to continue to encourage other writers to keep on being courageous. No one else can tell your stories the way you do.

I won’t be at many conventions this year, but I’ve been invited and agreed to be one of the guests at Fantasticon 2014.┬áMy thanks to Jesper Rugard for inviting me and to Trish Sullivan who kindly put my name forward. I’ve heard that it’s a great con and I’m looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends.┬á

While I was offline, the second part of A Poetics of Struggle was published on Strange Horizons. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s here. There’s still a lot more to say about struggle and the field of sf, but I’ll leave it there for the moment as the next column will be about something completely different.

For today’s final bit of news, the ToC for Steampunk World edited by Sarah Hans has been announced. I think Sarah Hans has done a wonderful job of putting together an anthology which is true to the word “World”. I look forward to reading the stories and hope that readers enjoy reading them too.

A busy week

Last week was quite a busy week. I got to meet up with friends and talk about writing and work and what it means to be a feminist, an sff writer, and a Filipino woman in the Netherlands. Lots of interesting conversations and lots of food for thought.

I’ve been interviewed by Sean Wright of Galactic Chat. The interview is now live and you can listen to it here. My thanks to Sean Wright for thinking of me and for his thoughtful and thought-provoking questions. I found myself thinking about them long after the interview was over.

Fabulous SFF writer, Eileen Gunn, was unexpectedly in Amsterdam. I feel so very lucky to have gotten this rare opportunity to catch up with someone whose work I admire. We chatted about the diversity conversations and the difficulties in the genre as well as the struggle to be heard. It was interesting to talk about this subject with someone who has a deeper insight into what genre looks like in the US and what struggles PoC writers and QUILTBAG writers face.

I also had a wonderful conversation with Flavia Dzodan on the issue of struggle. Also connected with the conversations on diversity and inclusiveness. And I gained new heart for the challenge that still lies ahead.

My heart is strengthened by these conversations with empowered and strong women and this is all giving me more food for thought as I reflect on the a poetics of struggle.

Workwise, I am pushing myself forward in terms of the novel. There’s a difference in pacing and structure when it comes to writing a novel and writing a short story. I’m experiencing those differences now. I’ll be finishing up a novella soon, as well. So that’s going to be first for me.

I’ll be posting my schedule for World Fantasy soon. If you’re going to be in Brighton, I would be happy to meet and chat and catch up.

Updating the Book Blog

We’ve published our Author Interview with Karen Lord┬áover at the Book Blog, so if you have time, do hop over and check it out. I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather, so if you catch any mistakes, please feel free to let me know.

This interview marks the end of the first cycle of reviews/interviews and our first process post. We’ll be taking a short break and then we’ll be coming back with another cycle of reviews/interviews/discussions and more process posts.

This first period of reviewing/interviewing and publishing on the blog has been an interesting time. For this first period, I relied a bit on a template kind of interview with some stuff thrown in there, but I find myself wondering just what kinds of conversations would take place if instead of following a template, we allowed ourselves to let the conversation grow organically.

I realize that authors are very busy people who don’t really have all the time in the world to answer the curious questions of readers–hence the convenient template. But I just completed an organically grown interview and am in the process of doing another one. And I think this is how the second cycle is going to look like.

I want to see how the book blog will evolve. What kinds of conversations can we carry on around books, what kinds of conversations can we have with writers, artists, with people who encourage and grow other artists and writers.

I want to see where the intersections are between writers coming from non-western countries and writers coming from non-English speaking countries.

I also want to see the intersections between the various art forms, the struggle in literature, in sf/f, and even in academia. I want to see where these are connected to the work we engage in as people who continue to speak out against injustices and inequalities.

Where do we have common ground and what common things do we struggle for or struggle against. How do we make room for voices that need to be heard? How do we make space for the next generation?

I suppose I need to see these things in words, more for myself because when things are in words, they become visible.

I’m not really sure what will come of it, but I like how this is all going at the moment.┬á

Something fun to keep me going

Every now and then I groan out loud on twitter about how long it’s taking me to finish the novel. Well, that and I have other work that I also want to finish. But my ultimate goal is to complete work on the Body Cartographer’s┬ánovel.┬á

One of my former students has been a great inspiration to me. I’ve been following his progress and I check in on him from time to time. ( His parents are my godparents, so even if we’re not blood-related, we are family.) Anyway, I’ve been pleased to see that he’s taken the encouragement to keep up with his art and to witness his growth as an artist. His determination in the face of obstacles inspires me and I asked him if he would make me some art to keep me going while I write the novel.

You can read EJ’s story and see some of his artwork here.

Anyway, I sent him some snippets and he sent me his interpretation of those snippets. Here’s one of the characters from the Cartographer’s world. A warrior woman of the gods, named Gunn. ┬á­čÖé

Image

**I’m posting this picture as a thank you to my Clarion West Write-a-thon sponsors. I didn’t make my fundraising goal, but I did get more than halfway there, thanks for your support and encouragement.

reviews, publications and super-secret projects

Over at Chie and Weng Read Books, I review Sabrina Vourvoulias’s excellent first novel, Ink. I didn’t have time to post about this when it went up, but last week we also reviewed J.M. Sidorova’s The Age of Ice. We also have an interview with the author on the blog, so┬ádo check it out if you feel so inclined.

We See a Different Frontier, published by The Future Fire and edited by Djibril Al-Ayad and Fabio Fernandes is now out. It’s been getting some interesting reviews, including this one where my story gets called the “most vengeful” story of the lot. I’m quite flattered by that description actually. I mean, heads go flying in this story, so if people called it tame, I would be really worried.

Right now, I am reading the print proofs for What Fates Impose. I’m quite blown away by the work of my toc-mates and it’s quite a blast to find myself in an anthology with people whose work I admire. I am also quite impressed by Alliteration Ink, our editor Nayad Monroe and our publisher,┬áSteven Saus.

Over the course of this summer break, I’ve written tons of words. I’m very close to finishing draft on a super-secret project and will post more on that soon, including snippets. Yes, I’m superstitious like that so that’s as much as I’m going to say about it before it’s finished.