Portrait of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard
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Author and editor, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard was born and raised in the Philippines. The death of her father when she was nine prompted her to start writing, first in journals, then essays and fiction. She went to college in the Philippines, then did graduate work at UCLA.

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard is the award winning author of 10 books. Her work has been translated into both Finnish and Turkish, with many of her stories and articles widely anthologized. She has lectured and performed in worldwide literary arts organizations and universities, and now teaches creative writing at the Writers Program at UCLA-Extension.

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard co-founded Philippine American Women Writers and Artists, (PAWWA). She also founded Philippine American Literary House. She has received a California Arts Council Fellowship in Fiction, a Brody Arts Fund Award, a Special Recognition Award for her work dealing with Asian American youths, as well as a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Senate, and the Outstanding Individual Award from her birth city of Cebu, Philippines.

When asked in an interview if there are good and bad reasons for being a writer, Manguerra Brainard responded, “The bad reasons are for fame, money, immortality, and revenge. The good reasons are because you have no choice but to write; for self-expression, to keep sane, to create something beautiful out of something painful or unpleasant; to educate others and ultimately to educate yourself.” In the same interview, she shared her advice for beginning writers:

1) Keep a journal and write, write, write.

2) Read a lot, and read the type of pieces that are similar to what you want to write (articles or stories or poems).

3) Don’t compare yourself with the others. It will do you no good to fret because some of your contemporaries are getting published or getting awards. You have your own struggle, your own stories to write.

4) Take classes or join workshops so you have a structure.