“Written by a woman” is probably one of the best phrases to come out of the internet recently. While it’s mostly used in the romance genre to describe dreamy, fictional men created by female writers, the phrase also underscores the under-representation of women in literature. It indicates that characters written by women often bear more depth and complexity, and that female authors pen nuanced stories and offer fresh and undiscovered perspectives.
We got your shopping list covered for the Philippine Book Festival happening this June 2 to 4 at the World Trade Center and Aug. 18 to 20 at SMX Davao. Here are 13 books written by women you should add to your TBR.
All the Lonely People by Kannika Peña
Peña’s debut novel connects six stories of people dealing with loneliness, grief, and a loss so all-consuming that losing significant items, like wallets and phones, seems trivial in comparison.
You can get your books signed by Peña on June 3, 1 p.m., at the Milflores Publishing booth.
Water Lilies for Marawi by Heidi Emily Eusebio-Abad (Illustrated by Shellette Gipa); The Day the Typhoon Came by Carla M. Pacis (Illustrated by Viel Elijah A. Vidal); and Marawi Land of the Brave by Melissa Salva (Illustrated by Kathleen Sareena Dagum)
Find it at: Bookmark the Filipino Bookstore
Sometimes it’s us adults who should be taking notes from children. To them, differences in faith, culture, and social status are nonexistent. It’s empathy and friendship that shine through, especially in times of conflict and crisis.
Mga Munting Babae (Filipino translation of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott) translated by Rowena Festin and Sophia Flor Perez and edited by Bibeth Orteza
Find it at: Southern Voice Printing Press
As with every version of Little Women, Alcott’s original work never gets lost in translation. The book discusses girlhood, family and grief, and is now richer in themes of feminism that young Filipinas can resonate with. “Ang tunay na bida ay ang mambabasang makakatuklas na hindi pala gayon kamunti ang mga babae sa libro—na lagi, ang sarili ay maaaring lumawak at palawakin sa karaniwang araw-araw, saanman siyang panig ng mundo at kasaysayan,” said Faye Cura, Convener of Gantala Press, during the book’s launch in November 2021.
Song of the Mango and Other New Myths by Vida Cruz-Borja
Find it at: Ateneo Press
Prefer fantastical worlds inhabited by magical creatures? This short story collection can help with that. Cruz-Borja’s fresh take on classic myths will plunge you into a world where diwatas resurrect the dead, a kapre and a farm girl make for an unlikely match, Maria Makiling is a cafe owner, and more.
You can get your books signed by Cruz-Borja on June 3, 11 a.m., at the Ateneo Press booth.
Chloe and the Kaishao Boys and The Year We Became Invincible by Mae Coyiuto
Find it at: Anvil Publishing
Coming of age is an amazing time, or at least, in Coyiuto’s stories. Relive the magic of happy crushes, fresh romances, and first kisses with her novels. “I feel like, because everything is experienced for the first time, everything’s so intense. It’s nice to write and read about,” Coyiuto told Young STAR.
You can get your books signed by Coyiuto on June 4, 5 p.m., at the festival’s Kid Lit Stage.
Every Sunday by Och Gonzalez (Illustrated by CJ Reynaldo); Super Maya by Bambi A. Rodriguez (Illustrated by Nicolo Ilagan); Doobiedoo Asks by Bambi Eloriaga-Amago (Illustrated by Roland Amago); and Pitong Tsinelas by Divine Gil-Reyes (Illustrated by Benjor Catindig)
Find it at: Kahel Press
The authors of these wonderful titles will host a panel discussion on the importance of diversity and representation in books this June 4, 2 p.m., at the festival’s Kid Lit Stage. Their books feature heartwarming stories of hope and inclusion: a kid learning sign language to communicate with her new friend, a little girl who is hard of hearing finding her place in the world, loving parents discovering that their son is on the autism spectrum, and a narrative on coming together despite our differences.
Alon and Lila’s Last Summer Before Doomsday by Ingrid Valenzuela
Find it at: Adarna House
The summer before college is equal parts disconcerting and thrilling, but more so if you throw in a doomsday prophecy in the mix. Together, long-time best friends Alon and Lila face their deep fears of inevitable change, a haunting past trauma, and a pure love that has always been there but never realized.