This paper conducts a double-edged reading of Candy Gourlay’s two children’s novels, Tall Story (2010) and Shine (2013). It argues that on the one hand, these two award-winning books empower the “invisible” community of Filipinos in the UK by foregrounding the “subalterns” and narrating (with subtle social commentaries) their migrant motivations and woes. These narratives are further enriched by folkloric and supernatural twists that orient global audiences as well as younger generations of Filipinos abroad on Filipino cultural heritage. On the other hand, the representations embedded in these narratives contain traces of self-orientalism, reinforcing essentializing binary divisions where Filipinos or “Orientals” are stuck with the negative attributes and the “happy endings” also push the minority group further into the margins vis-à-vis the privileged British center. Hence, the kind of visibility accorded to the Filipinos by these market-approved children’s novels may be deemed problematic and the role of Gourlay as an immigrant writer bearing the burden of representation is then explored.


children’s/young adult fiction, Filipinos in the UK, (self-)orientalism, representation, Candy Gourlay

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)