Anvil Publishing and Jose Y. Dalisay Jr., PhD, successfully launched Soledad’s Sister yesterday at the Claro M. Recto Hall of the Faculty Center, University of the Philippines, Diliman.
Dr. Dalisay’s second novel, after Killing Time in a Warm Place (1992), Soledad’s Sister has been widely acclaimed by both local and foreign critics and was shortlisted for the 2007 Man Asian Literary Prize.
The launching ceremony featured a short lecture delivered by Dr. Dalisay on “Writing the Filipino Novel”, followed by reactions from fellow academics. A short question-and-answer forum ensued, then a short speech by Anvil Publishing owner Karina Bolasco. Dr. Dalisay then read a brief excerpt of his novel. A book signing was the final activity, with Dr. Dalisay wielding either a Faber-Castell or a Pelikan M800 Souveran fountain pen.
Dr. Dalisay’s soundbites from the Q&A:
On how many more novels he plans to write: “Before I croak, I expect to write five novels…this is the second…after that, I’ll clean my fountain pens. That’s all I really want to do.”
On whether one can make money from writing novels: “Ang nobela dito (Philippines), unless it’s picked up in school, doesn’t go to second printing…often, the first doesn’t sell out.”
On whether Filipinos are a good market for books: “Filipinos buy books. They just don’t buy us (Filipino writers in English).”
On creating popular works with literary value that sell well: “I”m really serious about this…it’s an aesthetic challenge, to bridge that gap, to write something that’s popular and at the same time really well done.”
On the inspiration for latest novel: “The story of our OFWs (Overseas Foreign Workers) is the definitive Filipino story of our time…it’s the most outstanding feature of our economic landscape. We have become so dependent on them for our sustenance – their being there and coming home here changed our political landscape… They come back knowing that some things work, and that the government shold be accountable to you…that will create political changes… Masasaya, malulungkot ang kuwento nila.”
Dr. Dalisay reads an excerpt from “Soledad’s Sister”
Signing books with a Pelikan M800 Souveran, B nib, blue ink
Fellow fountain pen collector George Mamonluk snapping photos of the event