Reuniting with Strangers by Jennilee Austria-Bonifacio with Guests

On Thursday, October 12th at 6pm, join Massy Arts, Massy Books and Douglas & McIntyre in celebrating the launch of Reuniting with Strangers, a novel by Jennilee Austria-Bonifacio. Jennilee will be joined by Kawika Guillermo, Leah Ranada, Vincent Ternida, and Christine Añonuevo.

About the author:

Jennilee Austria-Bonifacio‘s work as a school board consultant, researcher, journalist, Little Manila tour guide, and settlement worker led to her novel, Reuniting with Strangers. As the founder of Filipino Talks, she builds bridges between Canadian educators and Filipino families. Her stories have been published in Geist, TAYO Literary Magazine, Changing the Face of Canadian Literature, and Magdaragat: An Anthology of Filipino-Canadian Writing. She was a finalist for the Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Authors Award. As a founding member of Pluma, a collective of Toronto-based Filipino writers, she loves launches that are a celebration of multiple Filipino-Canadian books!

Her favourite Tagalog word is “kwan” because it’s a brilliant filler for many words!

About the host:

Kawika Guillermo is an award-winning author of two novels and the just-released prose-poetry book, Nimrods: a fake-punk self-hurt anti-memoir (2023). Under his patrilineal name, Christopher Patterson, he is an Associate Professor in UBC’s Social Justice Institute, and is the author of the nonfiction books Transitive Cultures and Open World Empire.

His favourite Filipino word is “pogi” because someone called him that once and it made his day.

About the readers:

Leah Ranada’s stories have been published in On Spec, Room Magazine, Santa Ana River Review, emerge 2013, and elsewhere. Her writing is informed by her childhood in Metro Manila and eventual move to Vancouver in 2006, where she made writing her permanent home.

In 2013, she attended The Writer’s Studio (TWS) at SFU. She released her debut novel, The Cine Star Salon (NeWest Press), in 2021. She is honoured to have her work included in Magdaragat: An Anthology of Filipino-Canadian Writing.

Her favourite Tagalog word is “kilig” (a shiver of pleasure) which has no translatable word in English.

Vincent Ternida is the author of the novella The Seven Muses of Harry Salcedo. His essays, articles, and poetry have appeared in several publications including The Polyglot, The British Columbia Review,, Rappler, Voice and Verse Poetry Magazine, and PR&TA Journal. Acacia, a short story he developed in Diaspora Dialogues has been selected in Magdaragat: An Anthology Filipino-Canadian Writing; published by Cormorant Books in 2023. He lives in Vancouver.

His favorite Filipino phrase is “Bahala Na”. Reframing the usual dismissive usage for said term, he sees it more as an absurdist rebellion against late stage capitalism’s kafkaesque rules and mores we mindlessly adhere to everyday; wherein he can just say “Bahala Na”, do the said activity anyway, throwing all of his faith to either, knowing that everything will be just fine.

Christine Añonuevo is a writer, community organizer & PhD candidate in Human and Health Sciences at the University of Northern British Columbia. Christine dwells in South Hazelton on the unceded and ancestral territory of the Gitxsan nation. She enjoys long walks with her dog Ruckus along the Skeena river. Her favourite pastime is prying her kids away from their electronic devices to teach them how to write cursive, read analogue watches and identify constellations.

She loves the Tagalog word “tadhana” because it evokes our relationship with the cosmos.