About Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

About the author: Cecilia Manguerra Brainard (born November 21, 1947). Filipino-American author and editor born in Cebu. From the time she was a young girl to the present time (2022), she has never stopped writing. From journal writing, she went on to become a writer and editor of over twenty books.

Her three novels: When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, Magdalena, and The Newspaper Widow are set (even partially) in her mythical setting called “Ubec” a place like her hometown of Cebu, Philippines. Her Selected Short Stories by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard includes 39 of her best stories, many of which had been collected in three other books.

She also wrote books on nonfiction and edited books such as Fiction by Filipinos in America and several volumes of Growing Up Filipino: Stories for Young Adults. Cecilia’s work has been translated into Finnish and Turkish.

She attended St. Theresa’s College in Cebu and San Marcelino, Manila, and she obtained her BA from Maryknoll College in Quezon City. She did graduate work at UCLA. She has taught at UCLA, USC, California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA), and the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension.

As a former Executive Board Member of PEN USA West, she represented the writers’ group in international meetings in Barcelona and Santiago de Compostela. She served as an officer of literary arts groups such as Midnight Special Cultural Center, PAAWWW (Pacific Asian American Women Writers West), and the Arts & Letters Cal State University, LA. She co-founded PAWWA (Philippine American Women Writers and Artists).

Her official website is ceciliabrainard.com. She also maintains a blog at cbrainard.blogspot.com. She can be found in social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the diary: The author decided to keep a diary when she was fourteen years old. She had in fact been writing letters to her father who died when she was nine to “update him” of her life. Originally published in 2003 by Anvil Publishing, Inc. as Cecilia’s Diary 1962-67. The diary is reproduced here with the kind permission of the author, who kindly provided a digital copy to The Philippine Diary Project. All rights for this diary remain the possession of the author. Any requests for reprinting should be directed to the author. No part of this book may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission.

From the author’s own introduction to her published diary:

My diary begins in 1962, three years after my father’s death, three years after paradise ended. In 1962, I was in Manila with my mother and sister Ana or Nene as we called her. My oldest sister (Vicky) was married and living in Washington D.C. My brother (Junior) was doing graduate studies in Georgetown University in Washington D.C. I attended high school at St. Theresa’s College, San Marcelino. School and religion provided stability to my life that was dominated by a high-strung mother…

 Cecilia’s Diary: 1962-1969 is not a work of fiction; it does not have plot or the other fictional elements in story. It reflects, however, a real girl’s life, teeming with conflicts, fears, dreams, hopes. Many of the entries were for self-expression because the fact was that I was most prolific in my diary-writing when I was unhappy. When I was happy, I was too busy doing whatever it was that made me joyful and had little time to write. It was very soothing to write pages and pages when I was hurting. Despite this lopsided view then of the young girl that I was, the concerns I tackled were universal ones — family, friends, school, love issues that teenagers now continue to deal with. I share this time of my life with young people and others to offer them solace that they are not alone in their confusion and suffering. I also suggest keeping a diary as their life’s companion. Through all these years, my diary or journal has been a steadfast non-judgmental friend and companion, a window to as well as mirror of my soul.

In preparing this book I set guidelines as to what to include or leave out. I’ve included the entries that I felt are historically or personally important, that are interesting, and that express my young writing voice. To avoid offending anyone, I’ve changed some names. I have also made minor grammatical corrections, but in general have tried to keep the voice of the entries intact.