This Filipina-Australian Author Writes About the Importance of Kindness, Care, and Empathy

Filipina-Australian writer Merlinda Bobis contemplates kindness in her upcoming performance lecture, The Ifs of Care: Care for an Increasingly Fragmented World. She will draw from Filipino social values and beliefs to propose “an ethics of care” for a divided society further fractured by climate change, war, disease, and isolation.

Merlinda Bobis’s performance lecture will be at 2:45 PM for a 3:00 PM start on August 25, 2023, in Room 1131, Pavilion 1, Palma Hall, University of the Philippines Diliman.


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A multi-awarded artist and Palanca winner, Bobis will share how her writing has helped her conceptualize a reimagined empathy in a local-global and planetary community. This vision culminates in her 2021 book, The Kindness of Birds. Its fourteen interconnected stories demonstrate kindness across cultures and species in times of great strife. Moving and relatable, these tales affirm human connection and the value of kinship with nature. Indeed, as written, “Kindness cannot self-isolate. It moves both ways and all ways, like breath.”

Apart from The Kindness of Birds, Bobis will also discuss her other works, Fish-Hair Woman, Locust Girl, A Lovesong, and Banana Heart Summer. The latter is Bobis’s award-winning debut novel, now a favorite of many readers of all ages. In this coming-of-age story, twelve-year-old Nenita drops out of school to work as a maid next door. Her mission: to appease her family’s hunger, sweeten tempers with her cooking, and win her mother’s love. Pre-signed copies of Banana Heart Summer and The Kindness of Birds will be available at the lecture.

Banana Heart Summer and The Kindness of Birds are available at select National Book Store branches for P395 and P295, respectively. They can also be ordered online through, Anvil Publishing’s Shopee and Lazada stores, and

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