Merlinda Bobis

Filipina-Australian writer, performer, and academic Merlinda Bobis swears by the joys of the palate and the senses. “It is not simply about consumption of food or words, but delight in all their possible evocations—it is, after all, a shame not to do justice to the little pink animal in the mouth.”

Bobis grew up in Albay, Philippines. The author of two novels, five poetry books, seven dramatic works, a monograph (lecture series), and a collection of short stories, she has received numerous accolades and awards for her work. These include the Steele Rudd Award (for the Best Collection of Australian Short Stories, 2000) and the Philippine National Book Award (2000) for White Turtle (The Kissing); the Prix Italia (1998), the Australian Writers’ Guild Award (1998), and the Ian Reed Radio Drama Prize (1995) for her play Rita’s Lullaby. Bobis’ Philippine national literary awards include the Carlos Palanca (1987, 1989) and the Gawad Cultural Centre of the Philippines for her poetry (1990) in English and Pilipino.

Bobis’ Summer Was A Fast Train Without Terminals was shortlisted for Australia’s The Age Poetry Book Award (1998). Her novels Banana Heart Summer (Pier 9, Murdoch Books Australia, 2005) and Solemn Lantern Maker (Pier 9, Murdoch Books Australia, 2008) have also earned praise and recognition. Her debut novel, Banana Heart Summer, received the Gintong Aklat (Golden Book Award) in 2006, was nominated for the Best in Foreign Language Award by the Manila Critics Circle, and was shortlisted for the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal. She was also honored by the Unyon ng Manunulat ng Pilipinas (Union of Philippine Writers) in 2006 with the National Balagtas Award for lifetime achievement in her poetry and prose in Pilipino, Bikol, and English.

Merlinda earned a B.A. from Aquinas University of Legazpi and an M.A. in Literature from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila. She completed a Doctorate of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia, where she currently teaches creative writing. Bobis is an accomplished performer of her own poetry, embodying text in dance, music, and theatre. Her latest novel, Fish-Hair Woman, came out in 2012.

To learn more about Merlinda and her work, visit her website.

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