This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.
Celebration: An Anthology to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Silliman University National Writers Workshop
Sands and Coral, 2011-2013
Silliman University, 2013
Handulantaw: Celebrating 50 Years of Culture and the Arts in Silliman
Tao Foundation and Silliman University Cultural Affairs Committee, 2013
Inday Goes About Her Day
Locsin Books, 2012
Beautiful Accidents: Stories
University of the Philippines Press, 2011
Old Movies and Other Stories
National Commission for Culture
and the Arts, 2006
FutureShock Prose: An Anthology of Young Writers and New Literatures
Sands and Coral, 2003
Nominated for Best Anthology
2004 National Book Awards
Even before we dream of selling our books in New York or London, we Filipino authors in English have to sell more books in this country, and I’m coming around to thinking that the fault, dear Brutus, is no longer in our readership but in ourselves. True, books of almost any kind are expensive here. Also true, we may have focused on just producing what we think of as great art because there’s little money to be made, which isn’t so bad. But it’s also a fact that many Filipinos are buying books—and let’s face it, these book buyers are primarily middle-class—except that they’re not buying us. In other words, the market is there but we’ve given up on fighting for our share of it.
By this I mean that we’re not writing about the things that might prove interesting to our potential readers; we wouldn’t mind being popular, but we shun the popular. The crimes that pepper our tabloids hardly ever make it to our fiction. Clearly, we need to write more popular or genre fiction—novels that employ not only the fantastic, but also more crime, more sex, and more humor. They may not necessarily be great novels, but good ones—novels that can attract and develop a new class of readers, be serialized, be turned into movies, be talked about over Monday-morning coffee. We also need more professional translators who can turn the best of our novels in Filipino into internationally marketable manuscripts.
I should admit, as soon as I say this, that I’ve done very little myself to fill my own prescription. Younger writers like Felisa Batacan and Dean Alfar and his group of “speculative fiction” writers are doing much more by raising the profile of a kind of fiction that seems to resonate with younger readers and can acquire a substantial following.