PGS 2024 Q&A: Mary Gigi Constantino

Mary Gigi Constantino was a fellow at the UP ICW Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio Writers Workshop for Speculative Fiction (2016). She finished the certificate program: Sertipiko sa Panitikan at Malikhaing Pagsulat sa Filipino from Polytechnic University of the Philippines last 2021. Her work has been included in speculative fiction anthologies like “Kathang Haka: The Big Book of Fake News” (2022, UST Publishing House) and “May tiktik sa bubong, May sigbin sa silong” (2017, Ateneo Press). Her story “Dumaan si Butiki” was published by Adarna House and was awarded as one of the Best Reads for Children for 2014-2015 by NBDB and PBBY. Her latest story, “Duyan Pababa Sa Bayan”, was published by Anvil in partnership with Room to Read.

Hi,Gigi! How does it feel to be published in Philippine Genre Stories?

Genre stories are my comfort and safe place. I grew up on horror and mystery. So for my work to be included in Philippine Genre Stories is a big accomplishment and it feels like coming home to me.

PGS is always happy to be home for stories like yours. 🙂 So how did the idea for THE LAST MIGRATION come about?

I got the idea from articles about humanity’s search for other inhabitable planets or the next Earth. It felt wrong to destroy the planet then leave the remains to other living creatures while we move to the next new thing. So I wrote this story where Nature leaves us behind and escapes first.

And what was the translation process for Ang Huling Paglikas like for you? What was easy and what was challenging?

Translating words is manageable but you also have to choose which word best fits the meaning of the original text. The translated text needs to convey things like culture, mood, tension and how the characters are from the original story. It’s not just simply replacing one word with another.

What’s the next writing project that you’re working on?

I’m working with my sister on self-publishing our own children’s picture book. The story is going to be both scary and funny.

We’ll definitely check it out when it comes out! And what are you currently reading? It’s for what kind of readers? Please tell us more about it.

I just finished reading Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera. It’s a cute young adult story about a girl who learns to dance, heal and be more healthy.

In Philippine Genre Stories, which among the published stories do you like the most so far? Why?

I like “Honest Reviews” by Christine V. Lao because of its unique way of telling the story which made it extra creepy.

Got any tips for the aspiring storytellers out there?

Experience life outside of your own world. Volunteer, be involved and be aware.  Aside from foreign authors, read local authors too. Be open to feedback and be supportive of your fellow writers if you can.

Lastly, could you also please share with us your top 3 translation tips?

  1. Sometimes direct translation is not possible but what’s more important is capturing the meaning or feels of the original text.
  2. I write in MS Word and the Split view is very useful when comparing original and translated text. 
  3. I use tools to translate such as Wordhippo or Gabbydictionary.

Thank you again so much, Gigi, and we are really proud to have your stories in 2024!

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