M. Evelina Galang
Galang is director of the creative writing program at the University of Miami. Her work includes the novel One Tribe and the short story collection Her Wild American Self. In her new novel, Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery, Galang introduces the reader to Angel, a typical teenage girl living in Manila. However, we quickly learn that, although she constantly texts and rebels against her mother, her life is not typical at all. Her father is missing and her mother is reaching the brink of insanity. Galang recently learned that Angel de la Luna has been selected for the 2014 Amelia Bloomer Project, a r ecommended reading list of feminist literature for young people through age 18.
What's on your nightstand?
Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat.
Since you both live in Miami, you've seen her success grow. What have you observed?
First of all, she has a great capacity for empathy and for being able to see a story and naming it. And, I think in part what happens when a writer like Edwidge emerges from a community like the Haitian-American community is there is such great pride that comes with knowing this writer, this eloquent writer. So, her success of course has to do with her natural talent, but also from being at the right place at the right time — from being from this growing community that is so proud of her success.
What else are you reading?
I will assign short stories and books in my classes. It's a great way to teach writing, so for teaching, I've used Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap. I like to teach using one of the short stories in the book, At the Cafe Lovely. It's very good. I teach it for structure and for putting plot together. I like to have students break down the most unattractive pieces and look at it as a mechanic would look under the hood of the car and then put it back together. I also recently used Leche by R. Zamora Linmark, who's a visiting author for the university.
Piper Castillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4163.