Mary Grace has written professionally for television and children’s education in such venues as CBS, Pearson Education Asia, and Schlessinger and for conservation magazines such as Sierra and Chicago Wilderness. Her award-winning fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in Growing Up Filipino II, City of Big Shoulders, Dear Human on the Edge of Time, and various anthologies. Mary Grace is on the executive board of the international N.V.M. and Narita Gonzalez Writers Workshop, has served on the board of the Oak Park Arts District and was a network rep for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
In 2017, she founded Banyan, an Asian American Writers Collective whose mission is to promote the visibility of Asian American Writers in Chicagoland and to uplift community spirit through the arts. She has an MA in cultural anthropology from UC Berkeley and an MFA in fiction at Southern New Hampshire University, specializing in environmental writing as their Orion scholar. Mary Grace was also awarded the Lynn Safford Memorial Prize. She paddles rivers and lakes, leads woodland clean-ups, stewards her native prairie garden, and lives in a ramshackle, eco-friendly house with her spouse, and fluffy dog.
For Mary Grace writing is a spiritual practice, grounded in her Filipino heritage and gratitude to Mother Earth.
PUBLICATIONS & OTHER WORKS
“Hair, There, and Everywhere”. Assignments Magazine (Web Edition). January 2022.
“Seeking Refuge”. Creative non-fiction, spiritual writing. Riksha Magazine. Spring 2017.
“Love at the 7-11”. Voices Amplified Series. StoryStudio Chicago. January 2017.
“Letter to Querido, an Ethereal Epistle”. Remembering Rizal, Voices from the Diaspora. Edwin Agustín Lozada, editor. PAWA, Inc. 2011.
Honoring Our Ancestors. Essay, spiritual writing. Our Own Voice. Special issue on babaylans (Filipino shamans) edited by Leny Mendoza Strobel and Aileen Ibardaloza-Cassinetto. Literary ezine of the Filipino diaspora. August 2010.
“The Fullness of Time”. Creative nonfiction. Finding God. Cecilia Brainard & Marily Orosa, Editors. Anvil Press. 2009.
“The Community Builder”. Oak Parker Magazine. Awarded First Place in the Oak Parker Short Fiction Contest. Spring 2015.
“Shiny Black Boots”. YA. Growing Up Filipino, Volume 2. Editor Cecilia Brainard. PAHL and Anvil Press. 2010.
“Feast”. Dear Human on the Edge of Time: Poems on Climate Change in the United States.” Edited by Luisa A. Igloria (former poet laureate of Virginia), Aileen Cassinetto (San Mateo County Poet Laureate Emeritus), and Jeremy S. Hoffman (Chief Scientist at the Science Museum of Virginia). A companion to the nationally mandated Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5). Paloma Press. 2023.
“Mountain Beauty”. Elephant Journal. 2015.
“Ted Stone Morning”. City of Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry. Ryan G. Van Cleave, Editor. University of Iowa Press. 2012.
“Promise on the Prairie”. Feature article. Sierra Magazine. 2009.
Conservation features and profiles for Chicago Wilderness Magazine. 2007-2008.
Television, Performances, & Readings
Performer. “Cranes & Caravans”. A video poem based on the Filipino concept of kapwa and migrations, human and more-than-human. Part of the Banyan: Asian American Writers Collective’s showcase during the first APIDA Arts Festival in Chicago. May 2023.
Lyricist. “Will They Remember Life Was Beautiful?” A meditation on gun violence in schools. Commissioned by Bellissima Opera and Working in Concert for International Women’s Day concert. Elizabeth Doyle, composer. March 2023.
Emcee and Fiction Reader. A Tribute to Women in the Arts. International Women’s Day Concert. With sopranos: Michelle Areyzaga, Jonita Lattimore, Christine Steyer, and Corinne Wallace-Crane. Produced by Working in Concert and Bellissima Opera. Good Shepherd Church. March 2022.
Panelist. “Building Banyan: Asian Americans Writing for Visibility and Social Change.” Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference. San Antonio, Texas. March 2020.
Narrator and editor. “Hula as Community: The Cultural and Spiritual Significance of Hawaiian Hula” with Kumu June Tanoue and Halau i ka Pono. Unity Temple. June 2019.
Keynote and “Sanctuary Journal” workshop leader for Unitarian Universalist Women’s Connection (Midwest Region). October 2018.
Panelist. “From Tsismosa to Writer”. Presentation for the Filipinos in Chicago panel. Filipino American National Historical Society Biennial. July 2018.
“Story is Medicine”. Keynote for Unity Temple’s “Women’s Connections Retreat” whose theme was “The Power of Story”. February 2018.
“The Shroud of Tremaine, Or a Lady’s Confession”. Commissioned narration for the Edgar Allen Poe Halloween Show at Historic Pleasant Home. Fall 2017.
Selections from middle-grade poems Grace in Manila (work in progress): “Advice for Visiting Relatives”, “Jeepney”, “Flip-flops”, “Cory in Yellow”. Banyan, Asian American Writers Collective. Inaugural Celebration. Oak Park Main Library, Veterans Room, to an intergenerational audience of 95 people. Co-organizer and emcee. June 2017.
“The Lamentation of Miss Nellie”. Historical fiction, narration for the Edgar Allen Poe Halloween Show. Commissioned by the Pleasant Home Foundation. Historic Pleasant Home. Fall 2016.
“Community Building”. Stage adaptation of my short story. Performed at Beyond the Frame: Multimedia Event. Open Door Theater. August 2015.
“The Balak of Hawk and Kaliso”. Lyons and Typers event. The Uptown Writers Space. 2009.
The Know Your Heritage Show. CBS and Central City Productions. Researcher and writer. 2001 & 2002 seasons.
“Jun and the Magnificent Moonbeam Supreme”. The Chicago Children’s Museum. Philippine Bayanihan Exhibit. 2000.
“Hands and Faces.” Poem. Celebrate English! Coursebook. Pearson Education, Asia. 2002.
“People of the Rainforest.” Script writer for children’s educational video. ERI Communications & Schlessinger Productions. 1996.
A novel. Retells Ferdinand Magellan’s invasion of the Philippines from the POV of Filipino characters, living and dead. Themes of family, ancestors, colonialism, ghosts, the struggle for unconditional love, and healing.
Available at Target, Amazon.com, & Philippine American Literary House