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Monday, December 25, 2017

Authors and friends

During the year that is about to end, I met many authors at book-related events and bought their books, They include Aileen Santos’s Someone Like You, Caroline Vu’s Palawan Story and David Cozac’s Finishing the Road.

Aileen Santos
Aileen Santos met me at a book festival organised by Festival of Literary Diversity in Brampton. She introduced herself and bought my book (incidentally, I sold more books at this FOLD organised book event than at the WOTS; and there is no comparison of the cost of the table between the two festivals).

The next day, Aileen sent me a message on social media terming her interest in my book “serendipitous” because the book is based in Brandon Gate, Malton, Mississauga, which is where Aileen teaches in a school. Aileen was born in the Philippines and her family immigrated to Canada when she was just two-years-old and lived in Mississauga, which is where Aileen’s debut novel Someone Like You (publisher: Two Wolves Press) is based.

The book’s protagonist Vanessa Soares is experiencing a metamorphosis after becoming a mother and begins to realise the common traits she shares with Maria, her mother, a person she hasn’t been close to ever since she can remember.  Both women are resilient, living through hardships that strengthen their connection as women and as mothers.

Caroline Vu
Caroline Vu is an award-winning novelist based in Montreal. Her novel Palawan Story (publisher: Deux Voiliers Publishing) is about Kim, a young Vietnamese refugee who escapes on a boat and manages to reach Palawan, a refugee camp in the Philippines. From there, she is sent to the US where she is raised by a family that adopts her. Many years later, she returns to Palawan and begins to record the stories of the refugees, but her own memories remain blanked out.

The jury of the Concordia First Book Prize (for which Caroline’s novel was shortlisted) describe the novel as one that “…shows what refugees live through – the atrocities, the inhumanity, the fear. She takes us beyond the images we’ve seen on TV and illustrates the consequences of the physical and psychological rapture with one’s homeland, language and culture. A wonderfully written and vibrant novel.”

David Cozac
David Cozac was a member of a now-defunct writing group that Joyce Wayne launched at Depanneur, a restaurant in Little Portugal on Dundas Street West. Besides Joyce, the other members of the group included David Panhale, Dawn Promislow, and Jasmine D’Costa. David Cozac and I were the only unpublished writers working on our manuscript in 2012 when the group met at this restaurant that specialised in artisan cuisine.  

Finishing Road (publisher: Tightrope Books) is a mammoth 360+ pages novel. The length of the manuscript would surely have been a reason for the prolonged delay in getting it published. The other reason, of course, is that David began working for the United Nations first in the US and at present in Ethiopia. His novel is set in 1990s Guatemala, a country that has been in a civil war for decades. David introduces us to a land beset by loss and to people seeking to end their isolation, free themselves of doubt and rekindle human connection.

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