Award-Winning Fil-Am Author Erin Entrada Kelly Talks About Growing Up With Filipino Myths
Storytelling is ingrained in the Filipino consciousness. Some of us may be familiar with stories of Lola Basyang, or were told about the duwendes and
"My Filipino roots play a key role in each of the stories," she says in an interview with SPOT.ph. "Blackbird Fly
The judges even cited how "Filipino folklore and real life converge at the bottom of a well," where the shy and kindhearted Virgil was trapped, in the world of Hello, Universe. When asked what made her decide to take this approach, Kelly enthuses that she "wanted to share this deep appreciation for folklore with readers." She also points out that "Filipino tales are dark and complex. They’re both familiar and unfamiliar to Western audiences."
She sees a lot of potential for Philippine children's literature to get more exposure in the United States: "The future is bright," she says. She mentions Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz, which is set inside the Philippines’ Manila North Cemetery, and The House that Lou Built by Mae Respicio as her personal favorites among Filipino-American authors. Western publishers, according to her, "are increasingly embracing underrepresented cultures." Several Filipino-American authors are expected to debut children's books this year.
In this time of dwindling national identity, we need more and more Filipino writers around the world—like Erin Entrada Kelly—to lead us back to our roots.
Hello, Universe is available at National Book Store for P649.
*This story originally appeared on Spot.ph.
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.