Manila Noir contributor Gina Apostol named a recipient of 2013 PEN Open Book Award!
Congratulations to Gina Apostol, who has been named a recipient of the 2013 PEN Open Book Award for her novel, Gun Dealers’ Daughter! This award was created by PEN American Center’s Open Book Committee, and it is awarded annually to an author of color. (Previous winners have included Chris Abani and Amiri Baraka, among others!)
This year’s Pen Open Book Award was judged by Cyrus Cassells, Porochista Khakpour, and Tiphanie Yanique, who had this to say about Gun Dealers’ Daughter:
You will read Gun Dealers’ Daughter wondering where Gina Apostol novels have been all these years (in the Philippines, it turns out). You will feel sure (and you will be correct) that you have discovered a great fiction writer in the midst of making literary history. Gun Dealers’ Daughter is a story of young people who rebel against their parents, have sex with the wrong people, and betray those they should be most loyal to. At its essence this is a coming of age novel, albeit one where rebellion is part of a national revolution and where sex with another girl’s boyfriend leads to assassination. This is coming of age in the 1980s, Philippine dictatorship style, where college students are killed for their activism. The telling is fractured, as are the times. The reveal of information happens in a nonlinear manner, reflective of the mental breakdown suffered by the main character, Sol. We flip between Manila, where Sol is in school, and New York, where she goes to escape the madness that she has done and that has been done to her. Through this novel we see how fiction can scrape out a future, demand a re-look at the past—it is a reckoning kind of book. Not only does this novel make an argument for social revolution, it makes an argument for the role of literature in revolution—the argument being that literature can be revolution.
Congratulations, Gina! Check out Gina’s short story, “The Unintended,” in Manila Noir, edited by Jessica Hagedorn.
Posted: Oct 10, 2013
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