Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary, and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University—in cooperation with the Rizal Library, Fine Arts Program, and the Ateneo Institute of Literary Arts and Practices (AILAP)—will be hosting a reading and lecture by Laurel Fantauzzo and Ned Parfan on LGBT writing on Jan. 29, 2015, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the 4th floor of the new Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University.
Fantauzzo will be reading the first chapter of her young adult novel-in-progress, tentatively titled Sometimes There Are Trees. The book follows the adventures of Cory, a 16-year-old, Filipina American, Catholic high school student who finds herself in love with her history teacher. The book takes place in Southern California in 2010, soon after the anti-gay measure Proposition 8 was passed by a state majority. In Fantauzzo’s craft talk, she will discuss the homophobia she encountered from her high school mentors in the early 2000s, and how their fear and disdain became an unexpected asset to her writing life. She will also offer suggestions on how writers can transform shame and self-censorship into subjects for self-revealing stories.
Parfan will be reading selected sequences from his first book, The Murmur Asylum. At its core, the poetry collection confronts the haunting effects of childhood abuse through different methods of aversion, and explores varying performances of surrender and rebellion as possible coping mechanisms. Parfan will also be reading selections from the central sequence of his current work-in-progress, Acts of Worship, in which a powerful female figure in a fictional setting is portrayed from the point of view of the men who are under her spell. Additionally, he will also talk about why he was drawn to the poetic sequence as the appropriate instrument in tackling these different subjects and how this form effectively accommodates—and helps sustain—the obsessive tendencies in writing. He will also discuss how, in his case, the author’s gender identity played an unexpected role in influencing readers’ reactions to his poetry, as well as the ways it has informed his own work.
Laurel Fantauzzo was raised by a Filipina mother and an Italian-American father in Ventura County, California, where she attended La Reina, an all-girl Catholic high school. She earned her MFA as an Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program. She was a 2010 recipient of the Astraea Lesbian Emerging Writers Award, a 2013 Palanca Awardee, a 2014 Hedgebrook resident, and a grantee of the Barbra Deming Memorial Fund. Her most recent work is forthcoming in New York Times and The Rumpus. Her website is laurelfantauzzo.com.
Ned Parfan is a resident fellow for poetry at the Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies of the University of Santo Tomas, where he also teaches literature and humanities subjects. He finished his MFA in Creative Writing at De La Salle University and was a finalist in the Maningning Miclat Awards for Poetry in 2009 and 2011. His first collection, The Murmur Asylum, was published by the University of the Philippines Press in 2014.