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Luis H. Francia

Luis H. Francia’s nonfiction works include the memoir Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago, winner of both the 2002 Open Book Award and the 2002 Asian American Writers award, and Memories of Overdevelopment: Reviews and Essays of Two Decades. His A History of the Philippines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos was published in 2010. He is in the Library of America’s Becoming Americans: Four Centuries of Immigrant Writing. He is the editor of Brown River, White Ocean: A Twentieth Century Anthology of Philippine Literature in English, and co-editor of Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream, 1899-1999, as well as the literary anthology, Flippin’: Filipinos on America. His latest collection of nonfiction, RE: Reflections, Reviews, and Recollections, is being published by the University of Santo Thomas and will be released in 2014. Among his poetry collections are The Arctic Archipelago and Other Poems, Museum of Absences, The Beauty of Ghosts and Tattered Boat. His poems have been included in numerous journals and anthologies, the latter including Returning a Borrowed Tongue, Language for a New Century, Field of Mirrors, and Love Rise Up! In September 2012 Bindlestiff Studio in San Francisco gave his first full-length play The Strange Case of Citizen de la Cruz its world premiere. He has been a regular contributor to The Village Voice and The Nation, and was the New York correspondent for Asiaweek and The Far Eastern Economic Review. He teaches at New York University and Hunter College, as well as teaching creative writing at the City University of Hong Kong and writes an online column, “The Artist Abroad,” for Manila’s Philippine Daily Inquirer.




Eye of the Fish

Kaya Press 2001

A deft, luminously intelligent examination of the Philippines through a glass darkly. Cross-cutting between Francia’s recollections of the Philippines of his youth and accounts of his travels through the archipelago over the past two decades, Eye of the Fish paints a vivid and detailed portrait of the terror, beauty, and insistent humanity of the Philippines today. Francia’s odyssey takes him the length of the nation, from Batanes in the north to the Muslim Jolo and Marawi regions of the south, and from the rugged mountain hideaways of revolutionary freedom fighters to the well-appointed salons of the political and cultural elite. Painters and priests, island shamans and small-town politicians, cultists, feminists, and infamous first ladies all make an appearance in this imaginative and idiosyncratic exploration of “home.” Through their stories, and through his own memories of estrangement and acceptance in the Philippines and in the U.S., Francia reflects on the hybridity that is simultaneously the burden and the benediction of the Philippines — and of his own mestizo self.

More Luis H. Francia Books

“As engaged as he is intrepid, Luis H. Francia proves a sure-footed guide as he leads us through insurgencies and art exhibitions, cockfights and cabarets. Eye of the Fish is at once a hugely readable travelogue and an indispensable guide to a fascinating and richly varied archipelago.” —Amitav Ghosh, author of The Glass Palace

“Gifted with a sharp eye for the incongruous, a keen taste for the ironic, and a deft feel for the tragic, Luis H. Francia writes about the Philippines like a man possessed by ghosts he can neither tame nor fully recognize. Haunted by childhood memories of a post-war Manila, Francia in turn has been haunting the land of his birth. He has visited the centers and peripheries of everyday lives, recounting encounters with victims and victimizers, retelling the rumors and truths that surround and inflect the most tumultuous events in the nation’s recent history.”
—Vicente L. Rafael, author of White Love and Other Events in Filipino History

Luis H. Francia news

Come riot with us

Pageturner Festival, Sunday Nov. 7, Powerhouse Arena, BKLYN We’re raising a little hell with the Asian American Writers Workshop this Sunday in Brooklyn – take the F train to DUMBO and we’ll riot together. The second annual Pageturner Festival will feature Kaya authors Luis Francia and Samantha Chanse. Also in effect: Amitava Kumar, Meena Alexander […]