“The world deserves our stories.”
After their presence at the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair, Filipino literary creations are heading to the London Book Fair (LBF). Considered one of the largest international copyright fairs in the world, the fair takes place April 5-7 at Olympia in Kensington, London.
For the 2022 book fair, the Philippines is expected to showcase more than 52 legends and folklore in the form of graphic novels, young adult and children’s literature and contemporary fiction from Filipino authors and publishers, which is quite fitting because LBF is an event that brings together international publications and producers from the film, television, theater arts and music industries in search of compelling works for global adaptation.
One of the titles selected by the National Book Development Board (NBDB) of the Philippines to feature at the fair is ‘Doll Eyes’, written by Eline Santos, illustrated by Joy Mallari and published by CANVAS. Set in Quaipo, Manila, the story centers on a former doll maker Manang Bolabola and her shop filled with dolls with eyes made of gemstones. Curious children enter his store but never leave.
Another is “Mga Batang Poz” by Segundo Matias, Jr. Published by Lampara Publishing House, Inc., the book features understated gay Gab, Enzo, and Luis and proudly effeminate character Chuchay on a road trip two days. Although their stories are different, they are linked by a common thread because the characters are people living with HIV (PLHIV).
“Tales from the Southern Kingdom” by Virginia Villanueva will also be present at LBF 2022. The magical book published by Ateneo de Manila University Press collects legends, folklore and children’s stories that reflect the culture and environment of the Sama peoples and Tausug. .
Attending the LBFare Charisse Aquino-Tugade, Managing Director of NBDB, Kevin Ansel Dy, Project Manager of NBDB’s National Book Database, and Paolo Herras, Founder of Komiket.
“Filipino comics are one of the most underrepresented and exploited genres,” Herras said. “We are not studied in colleges or universities, we are not present in the K-12 curriculum, in national writers’ workshops or in most national awards. But we’re already crossing territories, getting picked up by international publishers around the world, and venturing into live-action movies, animation, content platforms, video games, toys, and other merchandise. We are therefore very proud to represent the Philippines in the LBF. It was time.
The Filipino community in the UK fully supports this distinguished literary event. Acclaimed writers like Candy Gourlay (author of the award-winning ‘Tall Story’), who are also based in the UK, will visit the Filipino stand.
The Philippine Embassy in London will host a CBDC conference on April 8 at Sentro Rizal, a platform for sharing Philippine culture, history and art. Aquino-Tugade will lead the conversation on the decolonization of the reading landscape in the Philippines.
“We are thrilled to finally be able to travel and meet international publishers,” said Aquino-Tugade. “The world deserves our stories and the LBF opens up a great opportunity for the works of our authors, illustrators and publishers to gain a wider audience. This fair is the best place to start.
To learn more about Philippine books for LBF, visit @nbdb_phil on Instagram.
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