Araw ng Kalayaan – Freedom (W)rites: 7 Filipinx-Canadian Authors

Filipinx authors read their works tomorrow,Friday (June 12) at 7 PM

A literary reading featuring 7 Filipinx-Canadian authors from Metro Vancouver

To commemorate Philippine Independence Day, literary talent from Metro Vancouver’s vibrant Filipinx diasporic community will be taking part in Freedom (W)rites: 7 Filipinx-Canadian Authors,  tommorow evening at 7 PM via Zoom.

The event will be hosted by, Vancouver-based online publication linking Canada’s Filipinx diasporic communities.

June 12 is the 122nd anniversary of Philippine Independence for it  was on June 12, 1898 that the first Philippine Republic was proclaimed by President Emilio Aguinaldo.

Philippine Revolution, (1896–98), Filipino independence struggle that, after more than 300 years of Spanish colonial rule, exposed the weakness of Spanish administration but failed to evict Spaniards from the islands. The Spanish-American War brought Spain’s rule in the Philippines to a close in 1898 but precipitated the Philippine-American War, a bloody war between Filipino revolutionaries and the U.S. Army.

June is officially Filipino Heritage Month in Canada.

“Filipinx are the fastest growing ethnic group in Canada, and Vancouver’s Filipinx community is one of the largest in Canada,” says event organizer C.E. Gatchalian, a North Shore resident who is also one of the featured authors. “There’s a wealth of literary talent here, talent that has been recognized nationally and internationally.”

The official bookseller for the event is Massy Books. A number of the featured authors are published, and their books will be available for sale at Massy.

Event partners include: NPC3 (National Pilipino Cultural Centre), Tulayan, and Northam Law Corporation. We are also grateful to have the support of the Vancouver Foundation’s Neighbourhood Small Grants program.

Registration is free via EventRite.

We are also raising funds as an honorarium for authors,so if you can contribute, please do so at:

The authors participating in the reading are: Hari Alluri, Karla Comanda, Nathalie de los Santos, C.E. Gatchalian, Kawika Guillermo, P Milisande, and Vincent Ternida.

Here are their bios:

Chris Gatchalian

C.E. Gatchalian

Born, raised and based on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the Musqueam, Squamish and Tseil-Waututh, C.E. Gatchalian is a queer Filipinx-Canadian author, playwright and theatre-maker. The author of six books and co-editor of two anthologies, he is a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist and the recipient of two Jessie Richardson Awards for his work as a theatre artist and producer. In 2013 he received the Dayne Ogilvie Prize, awarded annually by The Writers’ Trust of Canada to an outstanding emerging LGBTQI+ writer.

He has been Playwright-in-Residence at the Firehall Arts Centre and the Vancouver Playhouse, Artist-in-Residence at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education, and Writer-in-Residence at Historic Joy Kogawa House (Vancouver) and Berton House (Dawson City, YT). Formerly Artistic Producer of the frank theatre company, Vancouver’s professional queer theatre company, his plays have been produced locally, nationally and internationally. His memoir, Double Melancholy: Art, Beauty and the Making of a Brown Queer Man, was recently published by Arsenal Pulp Pre

Karla Comanda

Karla Comanda (she/they) is a writer, editor, translator, educator, and arts administrator. Born and raised in the Philippines, she is spending her quarantine working her way through a 30-kilogram bag of rice. Her work has appeared in Room Magazine, Poetry is Dead, Grain, Cha, among others. One of her great joys in life is meeting cats who do not want anything to do with her.

In 2019, she hosted the Sinag-Araw Writing Workshop, a poetry workshop series created for Filipino youth in the diaspora. Sinag-Araw’s inaugural chapbook will be forthcoming from Rahila’s Ghost Press, and you can follow her at @iskapunk on Twitter and Instagram for updates on that. Do not get on her bad side or she will put a hex on you in her poetry.

P. Milisande 

P. Milisande is Melissa Briones. She moved to Canada with her family in December 2011 and took the helm of the Philippine Canadian Inquirer as its editor-in-chief in February 2012, a return to her broadcasting/journalism roots. She is a graduate of the College of Law and College of Mass Communications of the University of the Philippines. In Canada, she obtained a Human Resources Management diploma at Ashton College in 2014 and received her Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation in 2017.

Melissa is a lawyer licensed to practice law in British Columbia. She put up Northam Law Corporation, her law firm, in the Vancouver-Kitsilano area in 2019 (link: Prior to leaving for Canada, she was a lawyer for ABS-CBN, a personal finance enthusiast (link of blog:, a sometime thespian and singer, and is a satellite archeology enthusiast.

This last bit – satellite archeology – has led her to discover and write As Above So Below, Veil Over Atlantis, a retelling of the story of Atlantis and the great flood through the use of google earth underwater images.

[As Above So Below, Veil Over Atlantis] enchants the way Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories did, and still do. P Milisande has given us a future classic: unique and stunning.” You can purchase a digital copy of her book at

In between lawyering, she is writing her second book, and will launch it in 2021.

Hari Alluri

Hari Alluri, is a poet who, according to former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, “carries a new, quiet brush of multi-currents, of multi-worlds to paint this holographic life-scape.” He is the author of The Flayed City (Kaya), Carving Ashes (CiCAC), and the chapbook The Promise of Rust (Mouthfeel, 2016). A winner of the 2020 Leonard A. Slade, Jr. Poetry Fellowship for Poets of Color and the the Federico Moramarco Poetry International Teaching Prize, he serves as a co-founding editor at Locked Horn Press, where he co-edited two anthologies, Gendered & Written: Forums on Poetics and Read America(s): An Anthology. He has received fellowships from Las Dos Brujas, Port Townsend, and VONA/Voices writers conferences and grants from the BC Arts Council, National Film Board of Canada, and Canada Council for the Arts. His work appears in the most recent Poetry In Voice / Les voix de la poésie anthology, as well as recently in Anomaly, The Capilano Review, Counterclock, The Margins, Massachusetts Review, Ovenbird, Poetry, pu, Pulpmouth, and Wildness, among others.

Kawika Guillermo

Kawika Guillermo is a writer, editor, scholar, and traveler who has lived in five countries, and is currently a settler living and working in Vancouver, Canada. His debut novel, Stamped: an anti-travel novel (Westphalia Press, 2018), was a Finalist in Literary Fiction for American Book Fest, and won the 2020 Association for Asian American Studies Book Award for Fiction. His second novel, All Flowers Bloom, published in March of this year, is a queer speculative revision of histories and imagined futures. His short stories can be found in The Cimarron Review, Feminist Studies, The Hawai’i Pacific Review, Tayo, Smokelong Quarterly, and decomP Magazine, where he currently serves as the new Editor-in-Chief. In his day job he moonlights as an Assistant Professor in the Social Justice Institute at the University of British Columbia, where he researches literature, video games, and new media through the lens of empire studies, Asian American studies, and queer theory. As a scholar he has authored two books, Transitive Cultures: Anglophone Literature of the Transpacific, published in 2018 by Rutgers University Press, and Open World Empire: Race, Erotics, and the Global Rise of Video Games, released this year from New York University Press. In 2013, he founded the podcast New Books in Asian American Studies where he is a current co-host, and his commitment to teaching was recognized in 2018 when he was awarded Hong Kong Baptist University’s Arts Faculty Early Career Teaching Award.

I’ll be reading from my latest book, All Flowers Bloom.

2. I have lots of copies of my book in my office which I’d be happy to bring to Massy. Here is the info:

-All Flowers Bloom and Stamped: an anti-travel Novel
-Kawika Guillermo
-Westphalia Press
-List price $16.99 for All Flowers Bloom, $15.99 for Stamped

Vincent Ternida

Vincent Ternida is a screenwriter, filmmaker, and author with several published short fiction and creative non fiction pieces. He was a second rounder for Austin Film Festival’s screenplay competition and a finalist for Writer’s Guild of Canada’s Diverse Screenwriters in 2013. The Seven Muses of Harry Salcedo is Ternida’s first novel. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Vincent made the 2019 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Elevator Lady. His CBC interview is here.

Nathalie De Los Santos

Nathalie De Los Santos is a digital designer and videographer. She owns and operates Nata de Coco Photography. She co-produced a podcast about Filipino-American/Canadian authors and books called “Titas N Tomes”. With her sister, she writes about food and lifestyle for Gastrofork, a Filipino-family blog. She used to write articles about video game diversity for the Vancouver Observer. She produced a short film called The Weather Girl that represented International Women’s Day for the WIFTV Film Festival Vancouver in 2013.

Nathalie writes SFF. Hasta Mañana is about a young girl finding out her queer identity through video games. This book was collected into the VPL’s Indie Author Collection. Recently, she released Alice’s Order, a cyberpunk story about a girl named Alice who becomes a weapons developer to avenge her sister’s death during a terrorist attack. Seeing those oppressed by her new technology, everything Alice believed and fought for is unraveled.

Nathalie is working on Diyosa Mata, a Filipino-fantasy novel. Mayari witnesses the strict influence of an imperialistic theocracy called the Order warp the hearts of her people, which transforms the spirits of the islands into monsters. Mayari sparks an uprising to stop the transformation. With the ability to shapeshift into the god Apolaki, Mayari fights as a fearless non-binary character. In the capital, Vidal is a soldier of the Order-ordained task force, the Civil Guard. He sees the Order’s corruption first-hand, which inspires him to join Mayari’s uprising. Together, they must challenge the forces that threaten to enslave their people.





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