Magdalena, Novel by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

For a Limited Time, Signed copies of Magdalena are available from PALH ( for $10, plus US shipping of $4.95, Mail check or money order to PALH, PO Box 5099, SM, CA 90409, USA


For Immediate Release 2017


            Originally published in the United States by Plain View Press in 2002, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard’s second novel, Magdalena, has been released in the Philippines by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. 

            Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, who hails from Cebu, Philippines and who resides in California, is the author and editor of 20 books. Her titles include her first novel, (When the Rainbow Goddess Wept), her short story collections (Woman with Horns and Other Stories, Acapulco and Other Stories, and Vigan and Other Stories), nonfiction books, and others. Her third novel, The Newspaper Widow, will be released by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in 2017.

             Her work has been translated into Finnish and Turkish; and many of her stories and articles have been widely anthologized. Brainard's novel, Magdalena inspired a stage play, Gabriela's Monologue, which was produced in 2011 by the Bindlestiff Studio in San Francisco as part of Stories XII! annual production.

Brainard received the Outstanding Individual Award from her birth city, Cebu. She has also received a California Arts Council Fellowship in Fiction, a Brody Arts Fund Award, a Special Recognition Award from the Los Angeles City Board of Education for her work dealing with Asian American youths. She also received a Filipinas Magazine Award for Arts, a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Senate 21st District, and several travel grants in the Philippines, from the USIS (United States Information Service).

Her novel, Magdalena, is a story about the lasting effects war has on people’s lives. Playing with time and point of view, multi-award author, Brainard explores the loves and secrets of three generations of women in the Philippines from the time of the Philippine American War, World War II, and Vietnam War. 

            The book, written in a fragmented form, has received the attention of academics and literary readers.

            Dr. Luisa Igloria, professor and poet says, “Though ostensibly centered on war, Brainard’s novel really explores the more personal narratives, love stories, and family secrets of Filipino women from Cebu, the author’s own home province in the Philippines, thinly veiled as the town of ‘Ubec’ in Magdalena and much of her other other fiction; historical events that form backdrops for the book include the Philippine American War, World War II, the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, and the Vietnam War.”

            Another academic, Professor Rocio Davis writes, “Brainard blends a series of multiple perspectives to create a polyphony of voices that enacts Philippine society … The narrative is a nuanced vision of the workings of culture, social obligation, social class, obligation and the Filipino personality.”

Midwest Book Review in the US writes: “Expertly written by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Magdalena is set in the chaotic backdrop of twentieth century East Asia. A romantic, powerful tale of three generations of Filipino women, written with a close eye on the terrors of war and the Japanese invasion of the Philippines during World War II, Magdalena is an intense, involving, highly recommended saga that documents author Cecilia Manguerra Brainard as a gifted author with a mastery of story telling that will keep the reader's total attention and engagement from first page to last!”

The novel has received praise by PEN USA West President, Aimee Liu (Cloud Mountain) who says, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard has written an ambitious novel of forbidden love. Set against the turbulent history of East Asia in the twentieth century and by turns erotic and tragic, Magdalena vividly depicts three generations of strong Filipino women.” 

Likewise, noted Filipina writer Linda Ty-Casper writes, “With her second novel, Magdalena, Cecilia Brainard adds new portraits to the gallery in Philippine literature. She has always had a strong sense of place. Here, she provides an inner landscape as well. Together, these provide the coordinate for the family secrets that bind the characters as securely as bloodlines.”

           Aside from writing and editing, Brainard runs Philippine American Literary House, a literary press in the US, which has published titles such as Linda Ty-Casper’s A River, One-Woman Deep:StoriesGrowing Up Filipino I & II, and the forthcoming collection of stories by Veronica Montes, Benedicta Takes Wings and Other Stories.  She has a website at

The Philippine edition of Cecilia Brainard’s novel Magdalena is available from the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House ( The American edition and e-book are available from PALH distributes the book Magdalena, email

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