Telling home truths
Setting record straight with debut book
A Coatbridge author has published her first book with the hope of educating people about life in her home country, the Philippines.
Mum-of-one Emilia Ulep-Quigg, who writes under the pen name Emikat Jun and moved to the UK back in 1995, was inspired to put pen to paper following the election of a new president back in the Southeast Asian nation.
And Emilia is getting set to launch her debut novel in her adopted home town with a meet-and-greet event in Coatbridge library this Saturday.
The 48- year- old revealed: “I was frustrated with the negative international news coverage concerning the new leader, Rodrigo Duterte.
“So I pushed myself to find out more about the situation in the Philippines and then write about it.”
Emilia’s novel, Behind the Mask, follows the exploits of journalist Maya Wara-Smith when she returns to the Philippines – after settling in the Scottish Highlands – to help find her cousin’s young daughter, who has been kidnapped.
The talented writer’s pages touch on some dark themes, such as paedophile rings, drugs problems and political corruption, but her book is also a love story and “full of hope for the beautiful country where she was born”.
Emilia added: “I read a lot of disheartening coverage about the president and my country; this was my way of setting the record straight.
“Media organisations in the Philippines are owned by oligarchs who are against the president, and so a very manicured portrayal of Mr Duterte ends up reaching the West.”
Emilia has praised President Duterte’s response to Typhoon Mangkhut, which hit the Philippines last month, and says his forward planning helped prevent many lives from being lost.
The destructive typhoon struck the Cordillera region, where Emilia grew up; she is one of 11 children and most of her family still live there.
She said: “My family had no electricity or an internet connection for three days.
“I was so worried about them and had to keep checking online to make sure there were no reported casualties near where they live.”
While Emilia, who works as an accountant, tries to visit her mum, brothers and sisters back in the Philippines regularly, she counts Scotland as home now and as well as turning her hand to the written word, has even completed a Masters in MLitt Highlands and Islands Literature.
Emilia commented: “Scottish people are very friendly, but they also tell it like it is.
“I like that because you know where you are with them.
“My own character has developed quite a bit since I moved here and now I tell it like it is too!”
Emilia will officially launch her debut book at Coatbridge library on Saturday, from 2pm.
She hopes to welcome along as many members of the community as possible to share her story and information about her former home in the Philippines.
Behind the Mask is published by the London- based Wrate’s Publishing and available from Amazon as an ebook and paperback.
Write on Emilia will appear at Coatbridge library on Saturday