Chris Patterson_Kawika Guillermo

Episode 22: Marc Herman Lynch interviews Kawika Guillermo

Jun 22, 2021

In this interview, Marc Herman Lynch and Kawika Guillermo discuss the significance of a person’s name – through family histories and relationship, in writing and publication – and how this relates with authorship. They discuss notions of ancestry and positionality, and the centrality of racial politics in works of speculative fiction, magical realism, and numerous writers who have made significant contributions to their fields. Guillermo’s 2020 novel All Flowers Bloom is featured, with an in-depth discussion on narrative form, metatextual play, and proximities to creative writing practice.


Kawika Guillermo is a story builder whose family and personal histories flow through many sites around and within the Pacific. His 2018 debut novel, Stamped: an anti-travel novel, won the 2020 Association for Asian American Studies Creative Writing: Prose Book Award. His second novel, All Flowers Bloom, is a queer speculative revision of histories and imagined futures. His short stories can be found in The Cimarron Review, The Hawai’i Pacific Review, and decomp journal, where he currently serves as the Managing Editor. Under his patrilineal name, Chris Patterson, he is an Assistant Professor in the Social Justice Institute at the University of British Columbia and is the author of the academic books Transitive Cultures: Anglophone Literature of the Transpacific (Rutgers University Press, 2018), which won the Shelley Fishkin Award for Transnational American Studies, and Open World Empire: Race, Erotics, and the Global Rise of Video Games (New York University Press, 2020).

Marc Herman Lynch is the author of Arborescent (published in 2020 with Arsenal Pulp Press) and a PhD student in the University of Calgary’s English department. He’s also President of filling Station Magazine, and an instructor at Wordsworth camp for young writers.

Show notes:

02:51 – (Mundane) Names
07:18 – Winnifred Eaton (Onoto Watanna)
09:36 – Why I Write Under a Pen Name – Guillermo discusses names as identification and resistance
12:39 – Split and dual identities in relation to Guillermo’s names
17:33 – Speculative fiction, magical realism, and radical writers of colour
20:10 – Guillermo’s novel All Flowers Bloom
20:53 – Larissa Lai’s work in The Tiger Flu and Salt Fish Girl
25:46 – Discussion of All Flowers Bloom
26:06 – Great Philippine Jungle Energy Café by Alfred A. Yuson
26:53 – Guillermo talks about religion, spirituality, and ghosts
30:00 – Remembering Octavia Butler: Black Sci-Fi Writer Shares Cautionary Tales in Unearthed 2005 Interview
34:12 – Memory and forgetfulness
35:12 – State of War by Ninotchka Rosca
38:20 – Fiction, metafiction and self-referentiality
44:03 – Guillermo’s novel Stamped: An Anti-Travel Novel, direct discussion of race, and how travel calls out a reader
49:49 – In Conversation with Kawika Guillermo, identity politics and racial politics
52:37 – Crazy Rich Asians and confronting historically fraught identity constructs
56:20 – Breaking the genre of historical fiction
1:02:47 – Last words and advice for writers from Guillermo

TIA House is run by Larissa Lai, Paul Meunier, Joshua Whitehead, Mahmoud Ababneh, Aruna Srivastava, Marc Lynch, Marj Rugunda. and Ryan Stearne.

Our Intro/Outro music is Monarch of the Streets by Loyalty Freak Music, accessed from the Free Music Archive.

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