After a much extended wait “Here be Dragons” is finally finished! This story was written over the course of one coffee-fueled night and finished just in time to meet the deadline. It was inspired by the work of Jorge Luis Borges and based on one of the stories that I used to tell my kids to get them to go to sleep. To my great surprise and delight, it won the Romeo Forbes Children’s Storytelling competition in 2012.
The illustrations that accompany the text were painted in oil by the remarkable neo-surrealist Jon Jaylo whose works have been inspired by Rene Magritte, Paul Delvaux, Gustav Klimt, Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dalí and William Bougereau.
Interestingly, I moonlight as an Art writer for catalogues and monographs. When I first met Jon during his first solo show in Singapore (Artesan Gallery), I did not tell him that I had submitted a story to the Romeo Forbes competition. He had no idea that the person who did his show’s write-up wrote fiction nor that we would eventually end up doing a book together.
Alongside my English text is a translation in Filipino by four-time Palanca Award-winning author Raymund “Rhandee” Magno Garlitos who is himself an author of several children’s books (Chenelyn! Chenelyn!, Ang Bonggang Bonggang Batang Beki).
“Here be Dragons” joins the library of children’s books by the Center for Art, New Ventures and Sustainable Development (CANVAS), a non-profit , non-government organization dedicated to promoting Filipino Art and Culture. CANVAS also provides these books to kids in hospitals and schools in underprivileged areas.
Thank you so much to Gigo Alampay (the indefatigable head of CANVAS), Jon, Rhandee and the Romeo Forbes judges!
Pat, Isabella and Sophia. You all appear in the book in some form. This one’s for you.
Lastly, if you are in Manila on Friday 21, August 2015 please come down at 5 pm for the book launch at the Canvas Gallery and Garden, 1-C Upsilon Drive Ext., Alpha Village
Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila Philippines 1119
Update: Thank you to everyone who came to the launch! More pictures can be seen here: Here be Dragons launch at Canvas