Jessica Hagedorn on Dream Jungle
This weekend NYU will host Moving Archipelago, a conference on 100 years of Filipino American literature. In honor of the conference, here's an interview APF did with Filipino American literary luminary Jessica Hagedorn:
In 1971, a wealthy playboy in Manila claimed to have discovered a lost Stone Age tribe living in the Filipino rainforest. The tribe became the subject of a sensational National Geographic photo essay and was adopted by Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. But almost immediately, doubts were raised about the so-called discovery, and many have concluded that the story was a hoax. A few years later, Francis Ford Coppola brought a huge entourage to Marcos's Phillippines to film “Apocalypse Now,” an epic undertaking that took most of a year, and that Coppola famously compared to the Vietnam War itself.
These two events from the 1970s form the backdrop to Jessica Hagedorn's novel, Dream Jungle. When the book was published in paperback in 2004, APF’s Andrew Hsiao spoke to the author, who is one of Asian America's leading literary lights, a devoted community activist, and a longtime friend of APF, to discuss a book that he describes as amazingly ambitious, cinematic, and beautiful, and together with Dogeaters and Gangster of Love, completes a trilogy that does for the Marcos-era Phillippines what Dickens did for Victorian England.
JESSICA HAGEDORN is a novelist, playwright, poet, screenwriter, and editor of the anthologies of Asian American writing Charlie Chan is Dead and Charlie Chan is Dead 2. She lives in New York City.
Han Ong on The Disinherited
Another interview with a Filipino American literary luminary in honor of this weekend's conference on 100 years of Filipino American writing.
Last year, APF's Andrew Hsiao talked to the brilliant, edgy writer Han Ong, one of the youngest recipients of a MacArthur fellowship, on the publication of Ong's ambitious, panoramic novel about a Filipino American prodigal son's return to the Philippines.
HAN ONG has written another novel, Fixer Chao (FSG, 2001), as well as several critically acclaimed plays. The Disinherited was published in paperback by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in September, 2005.
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