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Local writers launch landmark Magdaragat anthology in Winnipeg

MAGDARAGATFilipino Canadian writers and storytellers from across Canada are making their words heard through the release of a new book, Magdaragat: An Anthology of Filipino-Canadian Writing, published by Cormorant Books.

Five Manitoba-based book contributors will be reading from their pieces at a local launch, Friday, May 3, at 7 p.m. in the Atrium at McNally Robinson, Grant Park.

Local authors Jim Agapito, Jellyn Ayudan, Gemma Dalayoan, Primrose Madayag Knazan, Rafael Palma and Maribeth Manalaysay Tabanera contributed to the landmark anthology.

Forty-three writers both new and established collaborated to put together the book that showcases through short stories, personal essays, poems, and other genres the collective experience of the Filipino community in Canada.

Magdaragat, a Filipino word that means voyagers of the seas or seafarers, is symbolic of the immigrant community who first arrived on Canada’s shores over 150 years ago. Filipinos have contributed invaluably — though too often invisibly — to the fabric of Canadian society. This anthology of writing by members of the Filipino Canadian community explores Filipino-Canadian identities, experiences, histories, presents, and futures, and serves to reinforce their cultural contributions.

Here are the local authors featured in the book:

  • Jim Agapito hosts Recovering Filipino, a podcast from CBC Manitoba featured on CBC Radio One, in which he reconnects to his Filipino heritage through self-discovery. Jim is a Filipino writer, producer, and filmmaker from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Jim’s passion is storytelling, and his specialties include producing, screenwriting and directing documentaries, short films, and music videos.
  • Jellyn Ayudan is a recent graduate of the University of Regina with an honours degree in English. She currently works at University of Regina Press as an editorial intern. Born in Pateros, Metro Manila, Philippines, she now resides in Treaty 4 lands in oskana kāasastēki (Regina, Saskatchewan)
  • Gemma Dalayoan was a high school teacher in the Philippines and immigrated to Canada in 1976. She became a three-time president of the Manitoba Association of Filipino Teachers’ Inc. (MAFTI) of which she was one of the founders. She has received several awards for her community work and is the author of four books.
  • Primrose Madayag Knazan is a Jewish Filipinx-Canadian playwright and author and has been featured at Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, the Winnipeg International Writers Festival, and the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival. Her play, Precipice, won the bi-annual Jewish Canadian Playwriting Competition, and her novel, Lessons in Fusion, won the Manitoba Book Awards for Young People.
  • Rafael Palma is an English Major at Brandon University, with a minor in Creative Writing. He was born and raised in the province of Laguna, in the Calabarzon region. He immigrated to Brandon, Manitoba, with his family when he was fifteen. He discovered Western Poetry in high school and has been writing poetry ever since.
  • Maribeth Manalaysay Tabanera aka Kilusan is a Tagalog Visayan filipinx non-binary multi-hyphenate artist, educator, and community organizer. They have presented their work as an educator, dancer, and DJ at events all over North America.

Ted Alcuitas, a veteran Filipino newspaper journalist and publisher, C.E. Gatchalian, an award-winning author and a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, and Patria Rivera whose first poetry collection, Puti/White, was shortlisted for the 2006 Trillium Book Award for Poetry, co-edited the book.

The book was released by Cormorant Books on Feb. 26, and is available at McNally Robinson and online with

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