After their presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2021, Filipino literary creations are heading to the London Book Fair (LBF). Dubbed as one of the largest international rights trade fairs in the world, the fair is happening from April 5 to 7 in Olympia at Kensington, London.
For the 2022 book fair, the Philippines is set to bring over 52 legends and folklore in the form of graphic novels, young adult and children’s literature, and contemporary fiction by Filipino authors and publishers, which is just fitting as LBF is an event that gathers international publications and producers in the film, television, theater arts, and music industries seeking compelling works for global adaptation.
One of the selected titles by the Philippines’ National Book Development Board (NBDB) to bring to the fair is “Doll Eyes,” written by Eline Santos, illustrated by Joy Mallari, and published by CANVAS. Set in Quaipo, Manila, the story centers on an old doll-maker Manang Bolabola and her shop filled with dolls with eyes made of precious gems. Curious children enter her store but never come out.
Another is Segundo Matias, Jr.’s “Mga Batang Poz.” Published by Lampara Publishing House, Inc., the book presents Gab, Enzo, and Luis—discreet gays—and Chuchay, a proudly effeminate character, on a two-day road trip. While their stories are different, they are bonded by a common thread as the characters are People Living with HIV (PLHIV).
Virginia Villanueva’s “Tales from the Southern Kingdom” is also going to be present at LBF 2022. The magical book published by Ateneo de Manila University Press collects legends, folklore, and children’s stories that reflect the culture and the environment of the Sama and Tausug people.
Attending the LBFare NBDB Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade, NBDB Project Lead of the National Book Database Kevin Ansel Dy, and Komiket founder Paolo Herras.
“Filipino Comics is one of the most underrepresented and exploited genres,” Herras said. “We’re not studied in colleges or universities, we’re not found in the K-12 curriculum, national writer’s workshops, or most national awards. But we are already crossing territories, getting picked up by international publishers around the world, and venturing forth into live-action films, animation, content platforms, video games, toys, and other merchandise. So we’re mighty proud to be representing the Philippines in the LBF. It’s about time.”
The Filipino community in the UK is in full support of this distinguished book event. Acclaimed writers like Candy Gourlay (author of the award-winning “Tall Story”) who are also based in the UK will be visiting the Philippine stand.
The Philippine Embassy in London will host a lecture by the NBDB on April 8, at the Sentro Rizal, a platform sharing Philippine culture, history, and art. Aquino-Tugade will lead the conversation on decolonizing the reading landscape in the Philippines.
“We are thrilled to finally travel and meet with international publishers,” Aquino-Tugade said. “The world deserves our stories and the LBF opens a great opportunity for works of our authors, illustrators, and publishers to gain a wider audience. This fair is the best place to start.”