Sunday, July 31, 2016


The Halo-Halo Review is pleased to interview authors in the aftermath of a book's release. This issue’s feature is Amanda Ngoho Reavey:

What is your most recent book?

MARILYN is my most recent and my first.

When was it released?

It was released on my emigration/ US arrival/ adoption anniversary: December 5, 2015. And published by The Operating System, an absolutely wonderful small press run by Lynne DeSilva Johnson, in Brooklyn, New York.

What has been the response (to date)?

Amazing. I’m grateful for all of those who have read it, sent me emails and reached out via social media, and to those who have reviewed it – Davy Knittle in
American Microreviews & Interviews and Maria T. Vallarta in TAYO. I recently received a wonderful, heartfelt email from a poet-hero. That was really amazing.

What has surprised you about the response?

How much it resonates with others. In many ways, writing the book was an intense and lonely process. And now, quite suddenly, I’m able to embrace many people and to connect with others in ways that wasn’t possible before.

Also, even though the book is about the adoption, I’m still surprised when people ask me questions about the adoptee experience, or adoption as an industry. The vast range in the questions… everything from my writing process to asking if I’ve ever reconnected to my birth family to asking if  “international adoption is akin to a country exporting its societal issues.”

There’s a weird mixture of contradictory feelings. The responses and questions are teaching me how to be brave, how to love, how to respond with compassion, how to speak up and not shy away with shame, how to be objective (if that’s even possible), and above all, how to tell my truth and how to hold space for other peoples’ truths. It has been a heart opening exercise.

Tell me something not obvious or known about the book.

Had to think on this for a bit, but realized one thing that was never fully explained is where “Ngoho” comes from. My middle name at birth was Ngoho and it was also my birth mother’s middle name. I’m not sure what the Filipino naming traditions are; perhaps it was a family name or her mother’s maiden name?

What are you working on now?

A fiction project called The Attrition of Luz. It’s unfolding is quite different. Whereas Marilyn was sleepless nights and all fire, Luz comes to me in ancestral whispers, Earth magic and quiet dreams:

My ancestors say…
My ancestors say…
My ancestors say…

As she tries to reconcile the Spanish colonial religion and her own ancestral practices, she comes to the conclusion she’s a changeling. An excerpt can be found


Amanda Ngoho Reavey is a Philippine-born, Wisconsin-raised writer interested in ancestral healing and plant spirit communication. She holds an MFA in Writing & Poetics from Naropa University. Marilyn is her first book. Twitter: @amandangoho

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