The 2nd Filipino Reader Conference took place last Saturday and it was a resounding success, with more than two hundred book lovers of all sorts – writers, fans, publishers, kindle fanatics, paperback hoarders, librarians, book club members – converging at the Filipinas Heritage Libraryand celebrating the joy of a good read. For us at Rocket Kapre, it was even more memorable because “Alternative Alamat” took home the top prize in the “Short Story Anthology category in the first ever Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards. (Which was a great way to cap a day filled with more good news on the awards front – but more on that later.)
It’s a great honor to receive the award – while I wanted to make “Alternative Alamat” accessible to non-Filipinos, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that introducing my countrymen to the beauty of the less-well known aspects of our mythology and heritage, as well as to the talents of Filipino speculative fiction writers, is one of the foremost reasons why I published the anthology in the first place. Congratulations and thanks goes to my wonderful contributors, to Mervin Malonzo for his beautiful art, to Professors Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita for sharing their time and expertise, and to the good folks at Flipside Digital who co-published the book and handled all the back end details that would’ve driven me crazy. Thanks as well to the judges for their acknowledgment, and all the readers whose votes allowed us to make the short-list.
Here’s what the judges had to say:
Alternative Alamat does for Philippine deities what Neil Gaiman’s American Gods did for the lesser-known gods of Europe, Asia and Africa. Readers will find that the gods, goddesses and supernatural beings of the Philippines are as fascinating as those of any other nation’s pantheon. By turns shocking, tragic, even malevolent—the beings featured in this collection of stories are given new shape and form in stories that traverse the past and the present of Filipino culture. If myth is said to form a nation’s collective subconscious, then Alternative Alamat gives Filipino readers a much-needed injection of myths that are truly ours, and truly deserving of more widespread attention. Because of this collection, we’ll never view Filipino mythology the same way again.
Guess it might be time to shop around for a print publisher huh?