Filipino poet wins literary award




Karla Lenina Comanda wins Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Writer award

By Ted Alcuitas

LiterAsian has awarded the Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Writers Award for Poetry  to Karla Lenina Comanda.

Comanda is the second Filipino to win the literary award by LiterAsian, an  annual festival of Pacific Rim Asian Canadian writing launched in 2013 by the Asian Canadian Writers Workshop (ACWW).

ACWW publishes the online Ricepaper where Comanda is Fiction Editor.

Comanda is graduating  next month with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA)  in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.

She completed a degree in Comparative literature with a minor in Creative Writing from the University of Alberta.

Born and raised in the Philippines, Comanda left for Canada in the middle of a Journalism course at the Unviersity of Santo Tomas.

She obtained a degree in Comparative Literature, with a minor in Creative Writing (with distinction) from the University of Alberta.

Comanda has been featured in LitFest: Edmonton’s Nonfiction Festival. Her works have appeared in Contemporary Verse 2: Poetry Lives Here, Glass Buffalo, and Paragon.

Her short play ‘Medium’ was performed at Studio 1398 in Granville Market in March this year.

The poet doing a reading.

This year, the award has been renamed the Jim Wong-Chu (JWC)  Emerging Writers  Award in honour of the pioneering efforts of Jim Wong-Chu who died in July.

Its previous winners include  Rita Wong who  burst on to the scene with Monkey Puzzle, while Madeleine Thien went from Simple Recipes to being shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2016. Both of them got a head start with the Emerging Writers Award, as have many others besides them.

This year the judges were looking for books of poetry at least 80 pages in length, with a book deal in store for the winner.

Fiona Lam, Glenn Deer, and Yilin Wang were the jury for this year.

Next year, LiterAsian will be looking for submissions in fiction writing.

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