Award-winning children’s book author Candy Gourlay’s Bone Talk was shortlisted for the prestigious CILIP Carnegie Medal, a British literary award that annually recognizes one outstanding new English-language book for children or young adults.
Gourlay launched the Philippine edition of Bone Talk last March 19 at National Book Store, Glorietta 1.
Bone Talk is a coming-of-age story set within the mountains of the Philippines during the Philippine-American War, taking place in the magnificent highlands of the Philippines – a region called the Cordilleras, populated by impressive folk who carved rice fields out of vertiginous mountains and, for three hundred years, repulsed invasions by both Filipino lowlanders and Spanish colonizers.
This book is about a boy named Samkad who lived more than a hundred years ago. He thinks he knows everything about the world. He knows the mountains he lives in. He knows his people. He knows his blood enemy, the Mangili. He wants to become a man, to be given his own shield, spear, and axe to fight with. His best friend, Luki, wants all the same things — except she is a girl, and no girl has ever become a warrior.
But everything changes when a new boy arrives in the village. He calls himself Samkad’s brother, yet he knows nothing of the ways of the mountain. He brings news of a people called ‘Americans’, who are bringing war and destruction right to his home . . . .
Nicolette Jones of The Sunday Times writes: “Rich in the customs of the Bontok culture, with its paddy fields, sacrifices to ancestral spirits, and hunting and fighting with spears and axes, this fully imagines a way of life for which the records are sketchy. It also shows us a moment of change, as two worlds meet, and that it takes more than a ceremony to make a man.”
Candy Gourlay (nee Quimpo) was born in Davao City to an architect and a teacher. She was a journalist during the 1980s and wrote for Mr & Ms. Special Edition, an opposition tabloid against the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, and The Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Philippine’s biggest daily newspaper. Her debut novel, Tall Story, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal, shortlisted for thirteen prizes, won the Crystal Kite Prize in Europe, gained the National Children’s Book award in the Philippines, was chosen as a Library Guild book in the United States, and selected as an Outstanding Children’s Debut of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews. Tall Story has since been translated to Italian and now an audio book by Listening Library. Her second book Shine also won the Crystal Kite Prize.