Filipino-Australian novelist, poet and playwright Merlinda Bobis will present two free talks and perform a one-woman play, “River, River,” during her visit to Case Western Reserve University, April 5-13.
Bobis, who was born in the Philippines but now lives in Australia, has written three novels, five poetry books, seven dramatic works for stage and radio, a collection of short stories and publications in academic journals about her research interests of transnational, postcolonial and migrant writing. She chairs the Creative Writing Program at the University of Wollongong in Australia.
Her work has been recognized with various awards: the Prix Italia, the Steele Rudd Award for the Best Published Collection of Australian Short Stories, the Philippine National Book Award, and the Australian Writers’ Guild Award.
The public is invited to hear Bobis during two lectures, on Tuesday, April 8, and Wednesday, April 9. Both are at 4 p.m. in room 309 of Clark Hall, 11300 Bellflower Rd. on the Case Western Reserve campus.
The Tuesday lecture, “In Search of ‘Corazon de Lorca’: What is Lost/What is Found,” explores the cross-cultural challenges Bobis faced in her research travels to Granada to create the fictional documentary play about the celebrated Spanish poet and dramatist, Frederico Garcia Lorca.
The Wednesday lecture, "River, River": "Passion to Pasyon: Playing Militarism," sets the stage for Bobis’ one-woman play, which was adapted from her novel, Fish- Hair Woman, and draws from her experiences of the Philippine Total War.
Bobis will perform “River, River” on Thursday at 6 p.m. in Allen Memorial Library’s Ford Auditorium, 11000 Euclid Ave. The play is also free and open to the public.
River, River’s main character, Estrella Capili, the “fish-hair woman,” uses her long hair to trawl corpses from the river, which has become the dumping ground for executed victims from the militarized village of Iraya. But as each body is thrown in the flowing river, the water changes its flavor from sweet to salty to lemon grass. Her story unfolds through storytelling, drama, poetry, ritual and music, based on the Pasyon, the chanting ritual of the "The Passion of Christ" during Holy Week celebrations in the Philippines.
The ACES McBride Lectureship, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures Speakers’ Series, the Department of English, Ethnic Studies Program, Women and Gender Studies Program and the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women are cosponsors of Bobis’ visit.
For more information, contact Jacqueline Nanfito, associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Literature, at Jacqueline.firstname.lastname@example.org or 216-368-5264.