Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom Antonio Manuel Lagdameo (right) holds his copy of Candy Gourlay’s newest masterpiece, Bone Talk, a story of adventure and discovery set in the Cordilleras. Gourlay holds a copy of her children’s book, Is It a Mermaid? which was launched last April. Photo by Stacy Garcia
20 July 2018 LONDON—Award-winning UK-based Filipino author Candy Gourlay ignited Britain’s curiosity on Cordillera culture with the launch of her new book, Bone Talk, during the 2018 Philippine Studies Conference at SOAS University of London on 13 July 2018.
Bone Talk tells the story of Samkad and Little Luki who dream of becoming great warriors. The adventure begins when the two friends meet a boy from the lowlands who shares with them stories about the world and the people beyond their mountain village.
“As a young bookworm reading my way through my school library, I read many books with historical settings: poor Oliver Twist, orphaned in Victorian London, Tom Sawyer sneaking onto steam ships on the Mississippi River, kings and swords and knights. But why was not a single book set in the Philippines where I grew up? Why couldn't adventures spring from my history too? Bone Talk is my attempt to fill this story gap. It's an adventure set right in the middle of a cultural collision, when turn-of-the-century American soldiers encountered a headhunting Filipino warrior people. What was it like to encounter the outside world for the first time? What was it like to meet your invader and to realise that everything you knew was about to change?” Gourlay explained her inspiration for writing Bone Talk.
Readers, writers, illustrators, publishers, and many of Gourlay’s avid fans gathered from all over the United Kingdom to grab copies of Gourlay’s latest work.
“Just read @candygourlay’s #BoneTalk in one sitting, couldn’t put it down. It’s a mountain boy’s powerful and often violent adventure, with graphic images that will stick with me for a long time. Makes me want to learn more about the history of the Philippines,” British-American illustrator and children’s books writer Sarah McIntyre gushed in social media.
Philippine Ambassador Antonio Manuel Lagdameo, a staunch supporter of Philippine artists in the United Kingdom, commended Gourlay on her latest work.
“Stories build bridges of cultural understanding,” said Ambassador Lagdameo. “Books and the stories they bear are some of the most effective ways by which we can make Philippine culture and values resonate with the British public.”
Manila-based Filipino illustrator Kerby Rosanes designed the cover art of Bone Talk.
Gourlay’s debut novel Tall Story, which was published in 2010, won the Crystal Kite Award for Europe in 2011 and was shortlisted in at least 13 international prizes. Shine, her second novel released in 2013 won the Crystal Kite Award for the British Isles in 2014. END
Candy Gourlay’s Bone Talk is a story of adventure and discovery set in the Philippines’ Cordillera region. Photo courtesy of Candy Gourlay
Candy Gourlay talks about the culture of the Cordillera during the launch of Bone Talk at the Kahlili Theater in SOAS University of London. Photo by Krizza Mae Pacleb