Filipina writer Merlinda Bobis will launch her book, Locust Girl: A Lovesong on 31 July 2015, 6pm at the Collected Works, 1/37 Swanston St, Melbourne.
Locust Girl: A lovesong is a political fable about two children walking the reader through a post-apocalyptic desert that is very much about the present. Amedea and Beenabe walk us through geopolitics and globalisation, climate change, food security and lack thereof, refugees and displacement, terrorism, environmental degradation, inequity in power and in material wealth, and the devastating and cumulative effects of all these ills on human relationships as people compete to survive.
Climate and geopolitical changes have devastated basic food source, water, home. The earth has dried up and more wars are fought over the remaining fertile land behind the border. The growing movement of peoples have wrenched families apart. This is the landscape of Locust Girl, allegorically rendered to speak to our times, and to ask: How do we deal with the border in the heart?
Locust Girl responds with a story of friendship between nine-year old Amedea and sixteen-year old Beenabe, and the locust embedded on Amedea’s brow. As they walk to the border, they encounter multiple characters of different races and cultures. Buried in the body, the locust is our human flaw and urge: both plague and compass of humanity. It sings of who we are, what we have done, what we can become, where we can go. Its ultimate song is a lovesong:
A political allegory, and a philosophical interrogation of the human heart, it is a book that responds to the exigencies of our times, in the face of the continuous ‘drying up’ of the Australian landscape and the onset of superstorms and their consequences around the world.
Bobis: A painter and a writer
Bobis grew up in Albay, Philippines at the foot of an active volcano, which figures prominently in her writing and performance. As a child her main interest was painting, but at age ten she began writing poetry because ‘painting with words’ was cheaper. She has published novels, short stories, dramas and poems. Her plays have been produced/performed on stage and radio in Australia, the Philippines, Spain, USA, Canada, France, China, Thailand and the Slovak Republic. She has performed some of her works as theatre, dance and music.
Merlinda has a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude) from Aquinas University of Legazpi and a Master of Arts in Literature (Meritissimus) from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila. For ten years she taught Literature and English at Philippine universities before coming to Australia in 1991 on a study grant. She completed a Doctorate of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong where she now teaches creative writing. She lives in Wollongong, which echoes her first home: a city nestled between the mountain and the Pacific.
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