Gina Apostol is a novelist who lives in New York City, western Massachusetts, and Manila. She was the Bennett Fellow, writer-in-residence at Phillips Exeter Academy, when she finished the first draft of Gun Dealers’ Daughter in 1998. A disappearance, and the silence of years, passed before she returned to the novel in 2009. In furious revision after six weeks in the hills of Umbria, in residual fervor after a faultless residency at Civitella Ranieri, she overhauled that eleven-year-old draft, finding her story’s structure in the arc of a V and the absence of her daughter, gone to college, whom she missed that fall. Eleven years has been par for the course among the novels she has written: most of Bibliolepsy was written during the riotous years after Ninoy Aquino’s murder, the assassination that led to the ouster of the Marcoses, the years 1985-1986, but the novel was not done until ten years later, 1996. The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata was stillborn one spring night in 1998. It came to life and was published in 2009, a miraculous resurrection. It is not exactly clear how a novel comes to be—but it should be a matter of hope for those who wish to write that yes: it happens. It must.
Gina Apostol’s first two novels, Bibliolepsy (University of the Philippines Press) and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata (Anvil Publishing), each won the Philippine National Book Award for Fiction (1997 and 2010). A collection of stories, Cunanan’s Wake and Other Stories, was runner up for the Prairie Schooner Fiction Prize in 2006. Excerpts from her novel in progress, The Unintended, appear in The Massachusetts Review, Winter 2011, and will be published in the anthology Manila Noir (Akashic Press), edited by Jessica Hagedorn. Her stories have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, among other journals, and in the anthologies Charlie Chan is Dead, Volume 2 (NY: Penguin); The Thirdest World (NY: Factory School); Flippin’: Filipino Writers on America (NY: Asian American Writers Workshop); Juncture: 25 Excellent Stories and 12 Very Good Drawings (NY: Soft Skull Press); Babaylan: Filipina and Filipina American Fiction (San Francisco: Aunt Lute Press), and Balikbayan: Contemporanei storie filipini (Ossigene: Milan). Her third novel, Gun Dealers’ Daughter, also published by Anvil Manila, debuts in America from W.W. Norton in June 2012.