Catherine Hernandez

Catherine Hernandez is a self-described proud queer woman of colour and single mom who is dedicated to the development of the Filipino-Canadian artistic community.  She grew up in Scarborough, Ontario.  Following the production of her first play Singkil in Toronto in 2007, it was nominated for seven Dora Mavor Moore Awards including Outstanding New Play, Independent Division.  Hernandez is the artistic director of Sulong Theatre Company that is dedicated to producing theatre by and about women of colour.  As the Carlos Bulosan Theatre’s Ontario Playwright in Residence in 2010/11, she developed “Eating With Lola,” her one-woman puppet show.

Drama

The Femme Playlist / I Cannot Lie to the Stars That Made Me

Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2018.
PS8615 .E75 A6 2018

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

From masturbation to motherhood, body shaming to burlesque, Catherine Hernandez reveals the reality of living as a queer woman of colour. Set to the music of her life, The Femme Playlist shows what it’s like to be sexy and proud, slutty and loud, queer and brown.

I Cannot Lie to the Stars That Made Me is an around-the-campfire guide to mourning and healing for women of colour, written after Hernandez and her daughter left an abusive relationship. As a group of women share their stories around a campfire, they pray for each other and give as much strength as their bodies will allow.

Drama

Kilt Pins

Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2012.
PS8615 .E75 K54 2012

Publisher’s Synopsis

In a Catholic high school in Scarborough, Ontario, amidst low-income housing, difficult race relations, and poverty, a young woman struggles to find her sexual identity. In this sincere portrayal of high-school kids pitting the voice of God and thousands of years of scripture against the voice of their own bodies, Kilt Pins cheekily asks “Is your kilt pin up or down?”

Drama

Singkil

Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2009.
PS8615 .E75 S55 2009

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

Set in present-day Scarborough, Singkil tells the story of the Perez family, from the separate lives Mimi’s parents led in their native Manila to the lives they adjusted to together once they moved to Canada. Bridging the Perez’s past and present is the Singkil, the dance of a Muslim Filipina princess who cleverly escapes the debris left after a violent earthquake. Caught in the relentless grip of the past and forced into the unfamiliar terrain of forgiveness, Mimi must find her own way out of the tangled mess her life has become and gracefully step into a new one, making her way back to the land of the living by facing the mysteries held by the dead. Catherine Hernandez’s play illuminates the page with gentle grace, bringing the Perez family to life through the rich steps of the Singkil.

Fiction

Scarborough

Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2017.
PS8615 .E75  S23 2017

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

Scarborough is a low-income, culturally diverse neighbourhood east of Toronto, the fourth largest city in North America; like many inner-city communities, it suffers under the weight of poverty, drugs, crime, and urban blight. Scarborough the novel employs a multitude of voices to tell the story of a tight-knit neighbourhood under fire: among them, Victor, a black artist harassed by the police; Winsum, a West Indian restaurant owner struggling to keep it together; and Hina, a Muslim school worker who witnesses first-hand the impact of poverty on education.

And then there are the three kids who work to rise above a system that consistently fails them: Bing, a gay Filipino boy who lives under the shadow of his father’s mental illness; Sylvie, Bing’s best friend, a Native girl whose family struggles to find a permanent home to live in; and Laura, whose history of neglect by her mother is destined to repeat itself with her father.

Awards and Honours

2017 City of Toronto Book Award (Finalist)
2017 Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction (Finalist)
2018 Trillium Book Award–English Language (Finalist)

Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)

M is for Mustache: A Pride ABC

Written by Catherine Hernandez.
Illustrated by Marisa Firebaugh.
[Toronto?]: Flamingo Rampant, 2015.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

An ABCs of Pride book featuring a young girl with a large (and larger-than-life!) chosen family.

Anthology (Short story)

Tok. Book 2

PS8237 .T6 T54 2007

Hernandez, Catherine. “Saint Candice.” In Tok. Book 2, edited by Helen Walsh. Toronto: Zephyr Press, 2007, 53-61. [short story]