On March 18, Gantala Press, Inc. launched “Danas: Mga Pag-aakda ng Babae Ngayon,” edited by Faye Cura and Janine Dimaranan, at Uno Morato Bookstore in Quezon City. The first anthology of women’s works to be published by the press, “Danas” presents poems, stories, comics, and essays about sex, the body, love, motherhood, friendship, and activism, among others. Incidentally, all of these are discussed in the lengthy interview with premier Filipino poet, Ruth Elynia S. Mabanglo, which forms one section of the book. Gantala wishes to include interviews with seasoned Filipina writers in their future anthologies.
The anthology contains works by women from the Cordilleras, Visayas, Mindanao, Southern Tagalog, Manila, and the United States written in Hiligaynon, Iloko, Cebuano, aside from Filipino and English. To help raise funds for printing costs and contributors’ fees, the group organized workshops and seminars for women and young adults (Photography, Copyright, Creative Writing, Independent Publishing).
The Introduction to the book reads: “Hindi kami naniniwalang ipinapasya ng kasarian o kabahagi ang pagkakakilanlan ng isang babae. Inaakda ng tao, ng sarili at lipunan ang pagiging babae.” Still, the anthology only included works by cis and trans women as a response to the lack of venues and publications for works that specifically explore womanhood, works that break away from patriarchy and are about women’s struggles.
Gantala Press was founded by a group of women writers and artists in June 2015 to help develop a fertile ground for women’s publishing in the country. It aims to produce more anthologies, individual collections, and other independent publications by Filipina writers in the coming years. “Danas” will be re-launched in Baguio on April 30 at Mt. Cloud Bookshop. For inquiries and possible partnerships, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.