Author Archives: Marivi Soliven

Philippine Fright Night

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Years ago I wrote a story centering on the Filipino dish Talunang Manok (transl: Defeated Cock) about a caterer and her cheating husband. It was part of a collection of horror stories titled Spooky Mo, a Taglish pun that loosely translates to Your Scary Vagina. I’m reading an excerpt from Talunang Manok at this free zoom event on October 24, sponsored by Skyline Library. Check out the flyer for details and register here to get the zoom link https://bit.ly/3nMDE7V

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I’m always surprised that new readers continue to find and comment on The Mango Bride even 8 years after it was first released. Learning that my novel was included in this list was an unexpected honor and delight. Click on the link below to read the full article:

https://ph.asiatatler.com/life/worldbookday-7-of-the-most-intriguing-filipino-fiction-books?fbclid=IwAR03HOo80dIDqDgKEKeeDFB_x4Rxboqneeu98xxsBZlClAEbaCUe7JCUzxI

April Fools Surprise

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Photo credit: Dawne Ellison

On April Fools’ Day I was surprised not by a prank, but by an article by Alicia de Leon Torres, published in our local newspaper. In it, Alicia profiled my writing, the day job as a Filipino phone interpreter, and my years long involvement with arts projects in San Diego. It was an honor and delight to be acknowledged in this way. Read the article by clicking on this link: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/someone-san-diego-should-know/story/2021-03-31/someone-san-diego-should-know-marivi-soliven-blanco

Covid Confidential

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Flash Fiction inspired by Covid

Amid a worldwide pandemic, the San Diego Central Library continued to promote literacy and support local writers, going above and beyond curbside book pickups. The San Diego Decameron Project is a collection of 100 flash fiction stories centered on this modern-day plague. My story was accepted for inclusion this anthology and was among the top ten that were performed at the virtual book launch last February. Listen to it by clicking on the link below. Hardbound copies will be available within the year.

Filipino Food Means Love in The Mango Bride

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I employed food as a metaphor for love and home in my novel. On this episode of The Talk with Rose Tibayan, I moderated a discussion on Filipino food and how it is recreated, and reimagined by fellow Pinoy expatriates Professor Martin Manalansan, Culinarista Michael Gil Magnaye, Cookbook author Betty Ann Quirino and Covid survivor Emot Verzola Farley who continued cooking despite her temporary loss of smell and taste. Click on this link to listen to our conversation.

Recreating Home with Food

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Filipino food appears in my novel as a metaphor for love in The Mango Bride. For millions of expatriate Filipinos like me, traditional dishes also help us recreate the sounds, scents and delicious flavors of home. I’ve invited a marvelous panel of home cooks to discuss our culinary obsessions and adventures.

After contracting Covid 19, Emot Verzola continued to cook despite losing her sense of taste and smell. Learn how she adjusted her recipes to accommodate that temporary but significant disability. In the Before Times, Michael Gil Magnaye traveled the world attending conferences for his day job as a development director. He is assembling a collection of essays on obscure but wildly popular Filipino restaurants in Europe. Professor Martin Manalansan outlines the political context behind mainstream American culture pinning Filipino food down to stereotypical dishes like adobo, lumpia and pansit. Finally, cookbook author Betty Ann Quirino zeroes in on a food-centric scene from my novel that resonated with her own efforts to recreate home by cooking Filipino dishes.

The talk is free and promises to be delicious. To register for this conversation, please click on this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/revisiting-mango-bride-with-marivi-soliven-tickets-137214447105

Generation Women Show

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I look forward to sharing the virtual stage next with these phenomenal women next Wednesday, January 27, 7 p.m. ET/4 pm PT. Each of us represent a decade from the 20s through the 70s and will tell a story based on the theme of resilience and perseverance. Mine is about Stress Baking and Covid. Tickets are available at the link below. Ticket holders who can’t catch the live performance will have access to the recording on a private Youtube channel.

The Talk with Rose Tibayan

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A tragic offshoot of the Corona Virus Pandemic has been an a sharp uptick in the incidence of domestic violence world wide, as those suffering from physical, emotional and/or financial abuse are forced to shelter in place with their abusers. Click on the link above to listen in on a thought provoking conversation about The Mango Bride, immigrants and domestic violence, hosted by Rose Tibayan. Anne Bautista, Esq. enriched the discussion with insights drawn from her work as an advocate and lawyer for survivors of domestic violence.

Postcards from the Pandemic – Holy Week Edition

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Banana Bread with Spiced Oatmeal Crumble

I retired from organized religion years ago, but remember all too well the dreariness of Lent, when good Catholics were expected to abstain from chocolate or wine or some other delectable indulgence. Ironically, for Lent this year, the Covid 19 pandemic compelled me to revert to being that “good Catholic” once more, for I had to abstain from a favorite indulgence: cooking dinner for friends.

Consequently, I have become obsessed with cooking dinner for family. Not just a meal, but dessert. Here is ourHoly Week of meals.

Miso Mushroom Pasta from Food52

https://food52.com/recipes/77676-miso-mushroom-pasta

Gochujang Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables and Radish Pickles – from the NY Times

Red Curry Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach from the NYTimes

Apart from cooking, another source of solace in this time of social distancing is the view from my kitchen window. Some weeks ago, a pair of mourning doves decided to nest in the hanging planter of fuschias.

The floral facade conceals the birds in back
The cat watched those doves as eagerly as we did
On Wednesday the bird beat the Easter Bunny to the Punch

There will be no photos of Easter Sunday dinner, because even obsessive cooks need to take a day off.