11 November 2011

BBC's "Read My Country"

At the BBC site, a radio series where writers are asked for book recommendations from their own countries.

"If you had to recommend three books or poems that would deepen a visitor's understanding of your country and culture, what would they be?"

The Strand spoke to some select writers to get recommendations from their home countries.

Two of the writers interviewed were Miguel Syjuco from the Philippines and Santiago Roncagliolo from Peru.

Miguel Syjuco – Philippines

Miguel Syjuco is a Filipino writer now based in Canada. His novel Ilustrado is the 2008 winner of the Man Asian Literary Award. His three choices for the Philippines are:

1. Noli Me Tangere - José Rizal
2. America Is in the Heart - Carlos Bulosan
3. Dogeaters - Jessica Hagedorn

I will also vouch for the first two titles in Syjuco's list. They were two of the best Filipino literary classics I've read. As for the Dogeaters, I have a copy and I hope to read it soon.

Santiago Roncagliolo – Peru 

Santiago Roncagliolo is the author of Abril rojo (Red April). You can listen to his interview at this link. His three choices for Peru are:

1. Un Mundo para Julius (A World For Julius) - Alfredo Bryce Echenique
2. Travesuras de la nina mala (The Bad Girl) - Mario Vargas Llosa
3. Los ríos profundos (Deep Rivers) - José Maria Arguedas

The other interviewed writers were from Uzbekistan, Nigeria, Israel, Iraq, Kenya, China, Turkey, Norway, India, Australia, Ireland, and Jamaica.

You can listen to these writers talk about their choices and read from their selections at this link.


  1. Nice post, Rise. Colm Toibin's choices for Ireland are not what I would have expected at all. Interesting.

  2. Thanks, Séamus. I like how they frame the question to the writers. And the way the writers explain their choices are also interesting.