Local Filipino Writers, Where Were You?

Local Filipino Writers, Where Were You?

(At the 23rd Annual Manitoba Book Awards)

Produced by Manitoba Writers’ Guild with Association of Manitoba Book Publishers, the 23rd Annual Manitoba Book Awards was held on April 17, 2011, at Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain.

The Canadian literatus Catherine Hunter hosted the gala event; while Kelly Hughes (owner of Aqua Books), Councilor Harvey Smith, and Filipino community’s MLA Flor Marcelino were among the presenters.

The winners of this year’s awards included Dora Dueck, for her book The Hidden Thing, as McNally Robinson Book of the Year; Emma LaRocque’s When the Other Is Me, Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction; Ariel Gordon’s Hump, Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry; G.M.B. Chomichuk’s The Imagination Manifesto – Book Two (with James Rewucki and John Toone), Best Illustrated Book of the Year Award; David Bergen’s The Matter with Morris, Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award; and Sheila McClarty’s High Speed Crow, Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book by a Manitoban Author.

Another highlight of the well-attended event was the commemoration of local crime-novel author Michael van Rooy, who passed away at 42 on January 27 of this year. I was fortunate to have met Van Rooy at one of his book readings, held at Aqua Books in October of last year—three months before his demise. Michael van Rooy was the author of the series of books known as the Monty Haaviko series (consisted of An Ordinary Decent Criminal, Your Friendly Neighborhood Criminal, and A Criminal to Remember; the fourth installment of which was left unfinished).

The literary circle of Manitoba is rich and prolific, evident in the number of books being published locally by local authors. However, the Filipino community is yet to witness a surge of published authors coming from its own quarters.