I ran a flash fiction workshop late last year which turned out to be a most interesting experience. There were about 12 participants who ranged in age from 12 to 71. Most had not done any serious writing previously. It was great teaching them the fundamentals of story structure and how to provide a complete prose narrative in a very concise and compact format. What I enjoyed the most was discovering the reasons why people wanted to write:
“I have so many stories inside me” – a 71-year old retiree
“I want to be able to communicate better in English.” – a Japanese expat’s housewife
“I want to surprise my girlfriend.” – a college student
“It will help me do my work.” – a business manager
“I want people to know who I am.” – a 12 year old girl.
Award-winning writer and editor Elaine Chiew interviewed me last year for her Contemporary Voices column at the Asian Book Blog:
“For every writer, once in a rare while, a book comes along and really shakes you up, where (instead of that height/ceiling metaphor) I’d like to say instead, the floor drops on which you thought the legs of fiction stood. Victor Fernando Ocampo’s The Infinite Library and Other Stories did that for me. The ideas that power this collection are not just incredibly imaginative, they also weave a hybrid crossing through magical realism, allegory and science fiction, that ‘synchronicity’ Ocampo mentions in one of his stories. Rendered in prose that bears a unique voice, and also dark subtle humour in surprising turns of phrases, this collection is an invitation to a labyrinth for thought.”
“The Infinite Library and Other Stories” was also shortlisted for the Asian Book’s literary award: the Asian Books Blog Book of the Lunar Year. This award highlights books of particular interest in, or especially relevant to, Asia, excluding the Near West / the Middle East.
So apparently, English singer, songwriter, actress, author and vlogger Carrie Hope Fletcher got a copy of my book, The Infinite Library and Other Stories while she was in Singapore playing Wednesday Adams in the Addams Family musical.
I hope you like my book Carrie! I love your music.
A second launch event for the general public was held at 4:00 PM, last 12 December 2017 at Neo Kinokuniya in Singapore. Thank you to Math Paper Press publisher Kenny Leck for hosting the programme.
Thank you to everyone who attended! “The Infinite Library and Other Stories” is available from BooksActually at 9 Yong Siak St, Singapore 168645 and the Neo Kinokuniya store at Ngee Ann City 391 Orchard Rd, 04-20/20B/20C/20E, Singapore 238872.
It’s almost time for the 2018 Writer’s Festival and I realize that I had never posted my pictures from last year’s run.
Top to bottom, left to right: (1) SWF Opening, (2) Outside the festival grounds, (3) Watching a panels while seated on LKY’s chair, (4) With Junot Diaz, (5) “Writing between Genre Lines” panel with Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé (moderator), Aliette de Bodard, Jason Erik Lundberg and O Thiam Chin, (6) With Dean Alfar, (7) With Lavie Tidhar, (8) Crab dinner with Aliette, Jason, Nikki, Pat and Dean, (9) Peranakan lunch with Ken Liu, and (10) birthday dinner with Aliette.
Here are some pictures from my panels:
The Real Science in Science Fiction – with Shelly Bryant, Kevin Martens Wong, and Dave Chua moderating
5 Nov, Sun 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
The Arts House, Living Room
A Brave New World: Speculative Fiction in Singapore – with Jon Gresham, Christina Sng , and Gene Tan moderating
6 Nov, Mon 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
The Arts House, Chamber
The story revolves around a precocious young woman who worships Balatik, the ancient Filipino deity of hunting, journeys and slash-and-burn agriculture. Her father teaches her how to read their ancient language and she uses this knowledge to unlock secrets hidden inside a family Anito (Household God) that once belonged to the first Lakan of Tundon.
Incidentally, the constellation of Balatik is now more popularly known as the “Tres Marias” (The Three Marias) in Tagalog, “Magbangal” in Bukidnon, and “Seretar” in Teduray, the constellation of Balatik is composed of the three almost evenly spaced stars which act as the “belt” of the constellation of Orion the Hunter. It appears in the night sky between the months of October to May. Once directly overhead, it marks the start of the swiddens, the burning season for many Filipino tribes.
My L33t Speak/JEJEMON story “I M D 1 IN 10” was in the 2016 volume of Best New Singapore Stories (Jason Erik Lundberg, editor).
This year, my Pinoy space-opera story from Lontar Volume 6 made it to the honourable mention list of the Best New Singapore Stories Volume 3 (Cyril Wong, Guest Editor). I was a bit surprised (but grateful!) to see this, because it is the most Hard Science Fiction work I had ever attempted. Congratulations to all that were selected or shortlisted!
“Brother to Space, Sister to Time” is lovingly dedicated to my brother Hector Francisco V. Ocampo and my sister Noreen Maria-Regina Ocampo Oconer. Strangely enough, despite the genre trappings, this is also the most personal story I have ever written. There is so much for a reader to discover between the lines.