The Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW) and The Center for Fiction celebrated When the Hibiscus Falls, a story collection by award-winning writer M. Evelina Galang that traverses borderlines, mythic and real, to delve into the lives of Filipino and Filipino American women and their ancestors. Galang was joined by her former student and journalist, Hannah Bae, for a conversation about this collection—described by Lorrie Moore as “pioneering, lyrical, and full of life.”
When the Hibiscus Falls
By M. Evelina Galang
Published by Coffee House Press
Moving from small Philippine villages of the past to the hurricane-beaten coast of near-future Florida, When the Hibiscus Falls examines the triumphs and sorrows that connect generations of women. Daughters, sisters, mothers, aunties, cousins, and lolas commune with their ancestors and their descendants, mourning what is lost when an older generation dies, celebrating what is gained when we safeguard their legacy for those who come after us. Featuring figures familiar from M. Evelina Galang’s other acclaimed and richly imagined novels and stories, When the Hibiscus Falls dwells within the complexity of family, community, and Filipino American identity. Each story is an offering, a bloom that unfurls its petals and holds space in the sun.
M. Evelina Galang
M. Evelina Galang
M. Evelina Galang is the author of a previous story collection, Her Wild American Self (1996), two novels, One Tribe (2006) and Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery (2013) and the nonfiction book Lola’s House: Filipino Women Living with War (2017). She is the editor of the award-winning anthology Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (2003). Among her numerous awards are a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship, finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2018, and the Zalaznick Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell in 2020. She directed the Creative Writing Program at the University of Miami from 2009-2019 and served as VONA Board President from 2018-2023. Galang lives in Miami, where she continues to teach creative writing.
Hannah Bae is a Korean American freelance journalist, nonfiction writer and illustrator who is at work on a memoir about family estrangement and mental illness. She is the 2020 nonfiction winner of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and a 2021 and 2022 Peter Taylor Fellow for The Kenyon Review Writers Workshops. She is a proud former student of Evelina’s. You can connect with her at @hanbae on Twitter and @hannahbae on Instagram.
Photo Credit: Arin Sang-urai