Friday, April 3, 2020


The Halo-Halo Review is pleased to interview authors in the aftermath of a book’s release. This issue’s featured writers include Noelle Q. De Jesus.

What is your most recent book?

My most recent book is a short fiction collection called Cursed and Other Stories that was published by Penguin Random House Southeast Asia last November 2019. It is my second book of short fiction, the first being Blood Collected Stories (Ethos Books Singapore, 2015) that has a French translation coming out this fall, 2020, out of Editions Do. My first book was a chicklit novel, Mrs MisMarriage (Marshall Cavendish International 2008) under my married name, Noelle Chua. I also edited two anthologies of flash fiction, Fast Food Fiction Short Short Stories To Go (Anvil Publishing Philippines, 2003) and Fast Food Fiction Deliver (Anvil Publishing Philippines, 2015). 

What has been the response to Cursed & Other Stories?

I'm gratified to report that the response has been very good. Cursed and Other Stories has gone into a second printing, and has had succesful launches in Singapore and in Manila. It has also been reviewed quite favorably in The Singapore Straits Times, The Philippine Star, ANCX, and The Philippine Graphic Magazine, as well as by popular Instagram book reviewers. Overall, I can't complain at all, and only hope that the raves continue. A new book can become old in the blink of an eye, but the I like to think that the diversity and depth of the 13 stories that comprise Cursed will keep it fresh to faraway eyes for a good while longer. 

What has surprised you about the book?

I was worried initially that the title might give the book a negative association, and while it's true that a number of the stories might be perceived as sad ones, it is also true that the stories nevertheless convey much hope and the many protagonists demonstrate an inner strength despite their difficult circumstances. In many ways, the protagonists of these stories resemble the Philippines itself—mired as it is in trials and tough times, it is in these dire circumstances that we tend to surprise ourselves and fulfill the very hopes we have at heart. 

What is something that is not obvious or known about the book?

Something you might not know about the book? The exquisite art that is on the cover is by the renowned Filipino artist Elaine Roberto Navas, and she precisely captures the hope and indeed the beauty that is inherent in a bouquet of wilted, dying flowers, which I feel is in keeping with the spirit of every story in the collection.

What are you working on now?

I am in the middle of a second draft of what I guess would be called my first literary novel, which as of now, carries the title, Another Immense Sky. It's a coming-of-age LBTG love triange that is set in the Philippines, focused on 1983, 2016, and 1987. I am also working on a book of personal essays about tennis and what it has taught me about life.


Noelle Q. de Jesus was born in New Haven, raised in Manila and has lived for the last twenty years in Singapore with her husband, daughter and son. She has an MFA in Fiction from Bowling Green State University, and her first book of short fiction, Blood Collected Stories won the 2016 New Generation Indie Book Award for the Short Story. Her work has been published in Puerto del Sol, Mud Season Review, New Limestone Review and Witness.

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