Kicking it with Miguel Syjuco

Lissa, Marvin + I met Miguel Syjuco in the bar of the Hotel Standard where we asked him our first FF10 (10 questions we ask every author we interview for our journal, Flying Fists). Then, Lissa did some follow-up questions for Tayo Magazine. For those of you that might not know, Miguel Syjuco is a rising star in the publishing world. After winning both the Palanca award (Philippine's equivalent of the Pulitzer prize in fiction) + the Man Asian Literary Award in 2008, Miguel has been gaining a lot of attention. His success story sounds like something in a movie: as he explained at his reading at the LA Public Library 4 hours later, 1 week after winning the Man Asian Literary Award, he got an agent (Melanie Jackson) + 2 weeks after that, a book contract. Yes, it's enough to make you drool.

But what's great about MS, is that the hype hasn't gone to his head. He's a nice, funny, interesting, smart, personable + all around cool dude. Even better, his attitude towards race + fiction: culture + fiction should influence but not control our writing. Anyway, I won't spoil the rest of the interview since we're including it in our first issue of Flying Fists coming out in the fall, but for now, just know that Miguel Syjuco, the man + the writer, is an awesome guy.

When I gave him my copy of Ilustrado to sign, telling him it better be good, he wrote:


Stay in school + don't do drugs. I look forward to your signing your book for me in turn one day soon. Keep writing + take no shit from nobody, man.


6 Ways I've Kept Hope Alive This Month as an Emering Writer:

1. I sent BLANK to Graywolf press

2. I submitted stories to RHINO, Zoetrope, N+1, Alaska Quarterly

3. I also sent a new story to Dave Eggers (he told me he likes Africa stories back when I was a MFA student at Notre Dame, so I sent a new Africa story to his assistant, who forwarded to him for me)

4. I randomly emailed Melanie Jackson (Rick Moody + Miguel Syjuco's agent) + asked her whether she was accepting unsolicited query letters right now. Just seemed like the considerate thing to do before filling up her inbox with another pitch. Chances are, she won't let me know how considerate I was

5. Tomorrow, Lissa, Marvin + I are interviewing Miguel Syjuco in his hotel room for our debut issue of Flying Fists

6. I received a message on FB by a fan of mine who called "A Full Cellar" a masterpiece. Ah, how wonderful it is to feel like a writer + touch the contour lines of art for a second + see the social effects of your words!