What an honour to have met Candy Gourlay, Filipino author in the UK and an incredible storyteller.
A former journalist who moved to the UK over 20 years ago, Candy has published two novels for kids/teens called “Tall Story” and “Shine“, but not without having gone through several rejections first from publishers.
She talked about her own “hero’s journey” starting from the ordinary world she was living in then under a dictatorship in Manila, till the “invitation to adventure” when she met her British husband whilst both covering the snap elections, then moving to the UK and raising three kids before reaching her life story’s “midpoint” when she finally got published. She never looked back since.
She used to wonder as a kid why Filipino characters rarely figured in English novels, and here she is writing these books and filling a gap in the market — stories that tell the world about the culture, values, myths, and legends that make up unique Filipino protagonists.
It is fascinating to read about and appreciate my own culture through someone else’s perspective and even more so how her British readers find the culture that’s been too ordinary to me extraordinary.
We all do one thing or another for the country we so love. This is her way, maybe even without realising it. She is still of Filipino citizenship (dual) and so are her kids.
I have been so proud today to be the only Filipino in an audience of British writers all eagerly listening and learning from an author who happened to be, well, a Filipino.