The three-day literary event, Philippine Readers and Writers Festival, held annually and organized by National Bookstore in the country was yet another success gathering in Manila, Philippines. I would like to thank National Bookstore for making readers in the Philippines happy.
The schedule of the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival with the hashtag #GoReadWrite2017
I was able to attend the 26th and 27th event of the festival and I’m pretty satisfied with the outcome of the days I attended with as I discuss in detail of what happened there. If you are wondering why I wasn’t able to attend the first day of the event that’s because I slept for the whole day of the 25th. I went back from traveling. See pictures below for a little glimpse of proof.
AUGUST 26, 2017
Let’s talk about the second day of the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival. The lazy bum in me woke up late in the morning. I went there just to see a lot of stack of books! I saw JM from Bookfreak Revelations and Hazel from StayBookish and I tagged along with them.
SELF – PUBLISHING YOUR POETRY
We attended ‘Self-Publishing your Poetry with the invited guest Kota Yamada, author of Lost Hearts and It Was Rather Short Lived, Charissa Ong Ty, Malaysian Poetry Author of Midnight Monologues and Dawn Lanuza, Filipino Poet, Author of The Last Time I’ll Write About You became Amazon’s #1 on New Releases. The book will be re-released by Andrews McMeel Publishing.
An amazing package of poetry books arrived!! – ROYALTY – I am made of broken bones and fragile hearts, breathless in confusion, delirious in disarray. Tell me there is much to be had under this skin, a love unconceivable, a beauty unpain. Well I am an eager soul waiting to be cradled with such intensity and warmth. To be understood, not beaten with arms that remind me of my worth. I am beautiful, I am loved. – Lost Hearts, Kota Yamada
Kota Yamada’s Poetry Books.
The first panel I attended to!
Charissa Ong Ty’s Midnight Monologues.
They discussed how they want to inspire their readers and talk about how they started. For Ong, she implied that she wants to change her country in terms of literature. It is a good thing that they use their native language for their publication but what she wants is to make those writers write in English for a wider audience. She wants other people to know their culture, their way of life. She, simply, want to change her country for the better.
Kota Yamada took an in-depth discussion about poetry; “Where should the root of one’s feelings when writing a poem?”, “What should be implied?”, and the Oxford comma that made the audience laugh. He told us that making a difference to the readers, having a feeling to each and every poem is what made readers go back to you and read your poem. You have to give the readers a feeling, you have to strum those chords in their heart and make them feel. One of the best lines I heard from Kota was this,
“Be a better part of them that they are afraid to speak to.”
Dawn Lanuza shares her own journey towards self-publishing. Initially, she was a romance writer and she signed up on one of Ms. Mina V. Esguerra’s writing workshop for fun. Later on, she became a #romanceclass writer. She told us that she wrote poetry because she loves to and it is a therapeutic process of moving on. [Disclaimer: Her poems is not limited to one person] What she wants is not for the sales or for her to receive an income from being an author. She wanted people to read her works. In the panel, she told us the perks of having a pre-order before the release dates. That way, your listing on Amazon’s chart could go up high since the sales on pre-order dates will be added in the first week of publication date. It was awesome and I had fun in the panel. I wish to attend to this kind of discussion that talks about poetry, not for the sake of writing and making sales but for the sake of having an impact on the readers’ life.
Dawn Lanuza on her journey to become a self-publishing author.
AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: MARK Z. DANIELEWSKI
Mark Z. Danielewski is the author of House of Leaves and The Familiar series which is planned to be 27 volumes in all with 5 books already out in the market. He was asked in the discussion of the massive printing of his book would be an act of faith or an act of suicide, he answered, in a jokingly manner, that it was an act of suicide. Danielewski pointed out the significance of what is happening in our surrounding and how we reflect upon it and take an action which he implied that it is what he was doing while writing his Familiar series – giving life to the book and letting the book take him on its own course.
Mark Z. Danielewski, being the first time in the Philippines, talks about he doesn’t want to attach himself on the end result of his works. His books sell only 3% on electronic versions which are a good thing because people prefer physical copies and meaning they sell 97% on paper formats. He said that the difficulty for a young writer is that they don’t necessarily have the body of the work. He told in his interview that it is true that he writes a difficult book but this is where the challenge comes in; there are readers who want to excel on reading because they want their own imagination to evolve. One of the lines that made an impact to me is this: Make your own conclusion and make wise choices.
One of the audience asked if what one book of him should be started out of his eight books. Mark replied with the first book of the Familiar series since there would be less complexity compare to House of Leaves. He also doesn’t want to sell the rights to his book for a movie adaptation. His point of view is this: If I don’t give it to you, it isn’t worth your time. He also emphasized that reading is important in life, that reading gives life to people. He also had the privilege with his parents that they support him being a writer. There are a lot of things that have been discussed in the interview that I didn’t add here because it would be too long. I’m uploading the video on Youtube so stay tuned!
Photo Courtesy: National Bookstore
Also, before the next event, I had the chance to meet these fellow book bloggers and bookstagrammer.
L – R: The Royal Polar Bear, Ms. Honey of PRH, Camelle, Ate Eunice and Hazel from Staybookish
L – R: JM from Bookfreak Revelations, Ms. Honey, Camelle, Ate Eunice and Hazel
Some snaps I took in the #MarkDanielewskiInPH event!
I had an opportunity to attend this event with one last slot left – of course, I claimed it! I was so hesitant at first since it would be my first time but adrenaline rush comes in, spontaneous Rafael went wild. Voila! I went there! It was actually a good experience. It was nerve-wracking but the excitement overwhelms every emotion that I have.
Also, I had the chance to meet National Bookstore’s Marketing Team – with Ma’am Lou, Sir JB, Sir James and all. They were pretty nice and we talked about the number of readers they didn’t expect to come, how they love to bring the authors and someone in their team asked me who are the authors I want to bring. Of course, without a doubt, I would like them to bring Romina Russell, author of Zodiac Quartet, Sabaa Tahir, and Lisa Maxwell. I mentioned a lot of authors which I hope they are going to bring soon here in the Philippines.
We started at 7 PM for the dinner served with Classic Caesar Salad, Chicken Chasseur with Sun Dried Tomato Penne [I love this one!], and Vanilla Cheesecake with Fresh Mangoes and Strawberries that made my tummy happy. I apologize for not taking photos of the foods. I was starving, okay? Anyway, I love the foods and they are satisfying enough. I also want to thank my parents and my teachers way back in my childhood and high school for teaching me table etiquettes. I didn’t expect to apply it here again after so many years back. The last memory I applied those manners where I was accompanying my father with his professions’ conventions. That was like 7 years ago? Wow.
After the dinner was served, the interview with Mark Danielewski and Pierce Brown took place. Personally, I liked this more than the usual book signing event. There are more in-depth details that they are talking about here and the two authors are engaging with each other, questioning each other’s opinion and voicing out their perspective on the topic. You could see too that they are interested in each other’s work. They both share their expertise and what is the difference on their books. Danielewski has been rejected by 32 publishers before he finally publishes his book and he wrote his first book in a span of 10 years before the publication which made him successful as of now as he is trying to finish more than 22 books in line with the Familiar Series. Pierce Brown, on the other hand, received 100+ rejections before he finally publishes his first book in public which is the Red Rising Trilogy. He also shares that he has written six books before Red Rising and asked if given the chance to publish those books, would he publish it? He replied that he won’t publish it ever. Danielewski and Brown also asked by Ms. Yvette if they weren’t a writer today, what would they be? Mark jokes that he would be a sculptor since his wife is so eager to sign him up for a sculpting class and Brown would be a lawyer.
One of the highlights of the Authors Dinner was meeting Luis Santos, the admin of Red Rising Philippines, and he shares his experience with me when he had a chance to talk with Pierce Brown on the said event. They talked about comics specifically and Luis asked if Pierce Brown is a DC or a Marvel fan. Pierce answered DC and he told Luis that he doesn’t have time for Marvel. [I am a big fan of DC. So, imagine how happy I was back then together with Luis. In my defense to Marvel, I love their films! No worries!] Luis opened up his Batman bias and they compared Ben Affleck and Christian Bale. Brown said to Luis that he didn’t expect that he would like Affleck’s Batman. Luis quoted comic fans that Affleck is comic book Batman while Bale’s is the modern-day Batman.
Luis also shared to Pierce Brown that the publication date of Morning Star in 2016 was his birthday. Imagine how happy he was to celebrate his birthday and have the chance to own the final book of his favorite trilogy! Pierce told to Luis that Red Rising’s publication date was his own birthday. For the people who are not aware of PB’s Birthday, it is 28th of January! They also talked about Luis being the founder of Red Rising Philippines and Pierce’s trip to Palawan after the book signing proper.
Luis pretty much had fun talking to Pierce Brown because I felt the heaviness of Red Rising Trilogy on my hand when I was waiting in line. I had the opportunity to talk to Pierce and I told him I was the person behind the tweet about “To go or Not to go” on the Authors Dinner. He replied, “To go!”, and I told him, “and now, I’m here.” We talked about my favorite book which is Golden Son and confessed to him that I can’t say anything yet about Morning Star because I was reading it at the moment halfway through. He asked about my favorite scene on Golden Son. I told him the intense fight between Darrow and Cassius was my favorite part in the book. It holds me in my seat and I can’t stop reading! He was laughing and told me that was his favorite part while writing the book. Damn. I also asked him if we could take a picture together with the Red Rising PH members that are present in the Authors Dinner. The day was concluded with so much productivity and I have yet to meet him again for tomorrow’s book signing event.
AUGUST 27, 2017
To say that I had a good sleep last night of 26th would be an understatement! I couldn’t get sleep because the excitement was still sinking and I was absorbing how my day went. Last day of the #GoReadWrite2017 and I woke up early just to stay in bed for two more hours. Eight in the morning came by and I started fixing myself and went to Raffles Makati to meet my friends and share how excited I was to finally see them again! There were two major events that I was looking forward to; Pierce Brown’s Author Spotlight and my bookish friends’ panel discussion entitled with, “Keeping Up with Current Literary Trends: Discussion on Diversity, Cultural Representation, and Other Bookish Disputes” I went there to sign up and register ‘again‘ for PB’s book signing just to receive excerpts from Warcross by Marie Lu and Iron Gold by Pierce Brown. I also got pins inspired by Red Rising Trilogy and Magnetic Book Mark inspired by my blog from Jayson of PandamPH. Ticket to the upcoming Manila International Book Fair was also given!
AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: PIERCE BROWN
He talks about choosing Science Fiction as the genre because it was the genre that he grew up on like Star Wars even if it was a Science Fiction and Fantasy. He wants to collide the Greek Myths and Science Fiction in one setting. The book was inspired by the Greek Play, Sophocles, and there was a young woman defied the power of authority in the past. He also shares that Darrow created after Eo created in the book and it inspires Darrow in the book. Again, he shares his rejection regarding the first six books that he has written before Red Rising and the audience was like, “aaaaahh” with more sympathetic tone and PB back it up with, “Yeah, I know. More sympathy.” He shares that his parents don’t have time for sympathy. Like, when there are rejections and each time they asked what he learned from those rejections. That’s how Red Rising came into life.
Pierce Brown was asked if he was in his own book what would be his color, he told us that he would be Violet or Blue. He thinks he would die as a baby if he was Gold, and as a Red, he complained way too much. Brown said that he is encouraging his readers after reading Red Rising to make your own accomplishment. And there is this line from him that struck me: You should realize that you will probably fail several times for trying to do anything but if you really love it, then those failures will be your foundation. He also wants us to realize the importance of people being part of our life. To make us better, If you have people who drive you down and told you that you can do something, show it that you can. And that’s where he thinks Darrow comes in.
So one of the howlers, Danica from The Hogsmeade Reader, asked a question from the audience and one of her questions was what was his top two favorite scene in the Red Rising Trilogy. Brown replied without spoiling anything was the battle between Cassius and Darrow [same with my favorite scenes too!] and the ending of Golden Son. [with so many revelations and pain] Also, I let Danica asked Pierce Brown one question of mine and that is
[spoiler alert] If Julian live, who would he team up with? Darrow or Cassius? As disappointed as I was, Pierce told the audience that Julian would definitely team up with his brother and probably kill Darrow. It broke my heart but I totally understand. But still.
Feminism also brought up in the discussion since there are strong female characters in his book. His friend Alex also brought up since he was inspired by one of the characters in the book and how Sevro created in his books. Also, there’s this fan question like this, “If Eo came back to life, who do you think Darrow will choose? Eo or Mustang?” Pierce answered if Eo is alive, Darrow would choose Eo until Golden Son and at the end of Morning Star, he would choose Mustang and he thinks in Iron Gold, he would choose Mustang still. If you love someone with all your whole heart when you are young and it changes you, and that love grows, it changes. Pierce told to his readers that he hopes Darrow wouldn’t come across with a zombie problem. [
Photo Courtesy: National Bookstore
Keeping Up with Current Literary Trends: Discussion on Diversity, Cultural Representation, and Other Bookish Disputes
So, I promised my goodman JM from Book Freaks Revelations that I will be there on their panel listening to the literary trends as they discuss diversity, representation, the relevance of the topic and significance of #ownvoices. They started with what is the meaning of diversity and each of them gave their own definition. “Diversity is being represented. Diversity is us.” They tackle about Racism in Young Adult and it should entail respect for other people as they are battling their own devils, Cabral said.
They opened up some personal experiences like some of the white people discriminate and expecting we are not good. Casual Racism also brought up in the discussion. It was something you used to do or to say that can hurt other people unintentionally. And being aware of these things is one of the advocacies of these bloggers. There are also a lot of book recommendations if we want to start reading a diverse book. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao was also brought up. Some Filipino-Authored books were also mentioned like Roda Belleza’s Empress of a Thousand Sky. #RomanceClass Authors like Mina V. Esguerra, Carla de Guzman, and Ana Tejano.
What I liked about this segment is that the readers are so interactive that they have a lot of questions. What made the panel more intense was when there was an old man brought up Filipino Literatures and he indirectly telling us that Millenials are forgetting the books that should have been the foundation of the youth. Regardless of the quick debate happened in the room, I still felt like it was awarding and productive. They were able to understand where was the man is coming from and they told the man where they are coming from and what awareness the panel should spread because diversity is in need of attention. With those experiences, I would like to congratulate the panels for doing a job well done!
- The Familiar by Mark Z. Danielewski
- House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
- Three Copies of Red Rising by Pierce Brown
- Two Copies of Golden Son by Pierce Brown
- One Copy of Morning Star by Pierce Brown
- An ARC Copy of Vendetta by Joyle
- A copy of Midnight Monologues by Charissa Ong Ty
- And lastly, a paperback copy of Red Rising by Pierce Brown for one of PB’s fans.
Thank you so much if you reached the end of my blog post. I hope you enjoyed and had a blast while reading my experience from the previous festival!