A SERIES OF EVENTS FOCUSED ON THE WORKS OF FILIPINO AUTHORS
Decolonize Your Bookshelves is not just about diversifying your reads to include more Filipino authors. It’s about making our own voices dominant. It’s also about the intersection of literature and activism. It’s actually no surprise to me that so many Filipino American authors are also activists: Gina Apostol (a fellow convener of Malaya Movement), Carlos Bulosan, the late, great Dawn Mabalon, Gayle Romasanta, Randy Ribay, and Al Robles, just to name a few. My goal: thought-provoking discourse that reveal the absolute necessity of these works to our collective Filipino American identity.
Filipino authors are often overlooked within the Asian American genre of literature. So much attention is given to East Asian authors. Think of the most mainstream Asian American authors: I’ll bet they’re all Chinese (Amy Tan and Celeste Ng to mind), Korean (Mary HK Choi) or Japanese (of course, Murakami comes to mind). Filipinos mistakenly get lumped in with today’s East Asian struggles and issues in America, which is inaccurate because we have a completely different experience and culture. We actually have a lot more in common with Latin Americans.
“The phrase ‘decolonize your bookshelf’ has been on the rise in recent years, and its meaning is fairly simple. Decolonizing your bookshelf means examining the books you keep and the books you love and considering whether/how each book has served to uphold the acts of colonialism. In addition to sifting through the works you’ve already read, decolonizing your bookshelf means actively seeking out and reading works by authors whose work has been disadvantaged by colonialism. There is an incredible wealth of literature out there that has not made it into the Western canon simply because of the circumstances in which the author lived/lives.” (Alex Nolos, Bookstr)