You're invited to a party! Well, it's just a cyberspace party, and it's just here at my blog, and there won't be any food, drinks, music, dancing, or hot-looking people (correction: there will be hot-looking virtual people), but still.
What am I celebrating, you ask? At the very real risk of appearing hopelessly tacky, I am taking a cue from Walt Whitman and celebrating my own dang self. So without further to-do, I present a press release that appeared in my in-box over the weekend:
Contact: Tel: 703 276 0427
“BERNIE ARAGON JR. LOOKS FOR LOVE” TOPS SHORT STORY COMPETITION
“Bernie Aragon Jr. Looks for Love,” a lighthearted and poignant short story by Veronica Montes, captured First Prize in The Ivy Terasaka Short Story Competition sponsored by Our Own Voice, online literary ezine. The story will appear online at Our Own Voice in September.
Veronica Montes is a native of San Francisco, California. Her fiction has been published in the literary journals Prism International, Furious Fictions, and maganda, and in the anthologies Contemporary Fiction by Filipinos in America (Anvil, 1997), Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, 2003), and Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas (Calyx, 2003).
Dr. Luisa Igloria, sole judge for the competition, is Associate Professor in the Creative Writing Program & Department of English at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. In reviewing the entries, she praises Bernie Aragon as a “well-rounded story … because of its balanced mix of humor and pathos.” As a fictionist herself and a multi-awarded poet, Dr. Igloria notes that Bernie Aragon possesses a “confident sense of dialogue and place . . . resurrect[ing] the narratives of [an] era rife with the tensions of racial violence, anti-miscegenation and other discriminatory practices; and dramatizes the situation of Filipino busboys and migrant workers in 1927 Watsonville and up and down the West Coast.”
Veronica Montes will receive a check for $100 and a copy of Our Own Voice Literary / Arts Journal (Firstfruits/PWU, 2003). Our Own Voice extended an invitation for her to read her prize-winning story at a gathering of writers in the Library of Congress, Washington, DC in Spring 2006 for the LOC Asian Division’s centennial commemoration of the Filipino First Wave Migration to the U.S.
The competition was named for Ivy Terasaka who was an emerging writer vacationing with her family when the Tsunami of 2004 swept the beach resort where they were to spend their holiday. For a short while, she was a familiar face and voice at various Singapore literary events. In late 2003, Ivy discovered Our Own Voice and submitted a short story. "The Last Time I Saw Nanay" was published posthumously in the January 2005 issue of Our Own Voice. To honor her dream of being a writer, the editors of the cyberspace ezine will be holding the annual competition in her memory.
Ten finalists were selected by the Editorial Board and presented to the independent judge for selection of the winners. No awards were given for Second or Third Prize this year. The competition attracted entries from around the world. A majority of submissions were from the United States and the Philippines, and other entries came from The Netherlands, Denmark, and Australia.
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Many, many thanks to Our Own Voice and to Luisa Igloria for giving "Bernie Aragon, Jr. Looks for Love" the nod. I am quite grateful and happy. And...I'm going to the Library of Congress!!