Liwanag Literary Festival Celebrates Filipino American History Month

LONG BEACH, CA – Stories of Filipino Americans will be spotlighted at the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library on Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m for the Liwanag Literary Festival. The library is located at 5870 Atlantic Ave. This event is the first of its kind hosted by the Long Beach Public Library and is free for the public to attend.

Cathay De Leon, the director of Library Services, notes Filipino Americans’ lengthy history in Long Beach beginning in the 1940s, and how the Long Beach Public Library is proud to showcase the “experiences and contributions” of Filipino Americans through the Liwanag Literary Festival.

Mayor Robert Garcia acknowledges the importance of the Filipino American community in Long Beach stating, “This festival is a great way to celebrate and uplift these stories.”

The term “liwanag” means “light” in Tagalog which is fitting since Filipino culture and stories will be illuminated. 

The festival will feature 20 Filipino American writers based in California who will be involved in panel discussions, readings, and book signings, to celebrate Filipino American History Month. 

There will be book readings for children. The panel discussions consist of both teen and adult authors. The topics of publishing and cultural performances will take place in a roundtable discussion by Rocksteady Rondalla and Pamana Kali.

Some writers to expect are Randy Ribay, the author of “Patron Saints of Nothing,” Olivia Blake of “The Atlas Six” and more. 

The library is also teaming up with the local, Filipino-American-owned bookstore, Bel Canto Books. Other Filipino-American businesses that will be present include Romeo Chocolates, Native Sol, and Gemmae Bakery.

Contact the Long Beach Public Library for more information at (562) 570-7500. To keep up with future events and any updates, follow the Long Beach Public Library on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

By Laila Freeman