Renowrites blog!

Author of YA novel "Enlightenment" available March 2019!

Filipino writers

I’ve always wondered why there aren’t more Filipino writers who are household names. I’m sure pundits will say there’s a lot of Filipino writers out there, but I argue that they lie in the shadows, their talents vastly unknown to the world.

I’m a fan of many contemporary Filipino writers – authors Melissa De La Cruz, Jessica Hagedorn, Cecilia Brainard, Oscar Peneranda, Mel Orpilla, and Marjorie Evasco come to mind. They are, in my opinion, great writers. Melissa De La Cruz I would say has sold the most books, with Jessica Hagedorn close behind her. Melissa’s novels targets the YA teen market in America, so my assumptions are based on her genre and subject matter, while Jessica’s is more artistic, which I believe caters to more niche crowd.

But in the relative mass market scheme of things, they are still trying to emerge from the shadows of other contemporary writers like Stephenie Meyer, Jodie Picoult, Nicholas Sparks, Kristin Hannah…well the list can go on forever. I think this is something that cannot be disputed based on book sales.

I wonder why this is the case, besides the fact that most writers, regardless of ethnicity, live in obscurity.

When I think of the greatest Filipino writer of all time, Mr. Jose Rizal I’m reminded how it takes an entire army of people to make a profound change in the world. Unfortunately, if you ask any ordinary Filipino American teenager or young adult who Jose Rizal is, I would say the vast majority of them would look back at you with blank stares, his revolutionary work El Filibusterismos almost forgotten with the new generation of Filipino Americans.

In my opinion, most Filipinos just aren’t into writing anymore. We are a people who love to eat, party, socialize, watch tv, films, sports, youtube, and post witty comments on Facebook. In my opinion, there just isn’t enough interest to write in the Filipino community.

So when new Filipino authors emerge, I become intrigued and hopeful. I’m super excited about Miguel Syjuco, a Filipino author, who is gaining praise for his debut novel Ilustrado’s. I have yet to read it, but can’t wait to see how Syjuco wraps his Filipino journey into English prose. A new author like Syjuco keeps me hopeful.

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