Southern Stories and Strays

This collection of fiction and nonfiction pieces is peopled by women who live or come from Mindanao, that “faraway” place in the Philippine South known for its political wars and religious strife. But this book is not about that. It is about a warehouse, fermented fish, water pipes, bougainvilleas, houses with stairs to nowhere, dogs, a hamburger, and a stolen kiss or two all told by a child, a teenager, a teacher turned OFW, a sixty-year-old woman in love, a daughter, a niece, an aunt. These stories are about those middle spaces where there will always be more than one thing, all at once: logic and love, truth and imagination, tradition and transitions, presence and loss, madness and choices, grief and life.

Maria Elena L. Paulma was born in Butuan City, and spent her summer vacations at her grandparents’ farm in Tiniwisan across the Agusan River, or in Cebu City, an overnight ferry ride away. She earned her degrees in creative writing and comparative literature at the University of the Philippines. She teaches when she’s not writing or traveling.