Cinelle Barnes: Reading and Signing
Hub City Bookshop will host author and Converse MFA graduate Cinelle Barnes 6 p.m., Wednesday, June 6 to promote her debut memoir Monsoon Mansion.
Told with a lyrical, almost-dreamlike voice as intoxicating as the moonflowers and orchids that inhabit this world, Monsoon Mansion is a harrowing yet triumphant coming-of-age memoir exploring the dark, troubled waters of a family’s rise and fall from grace in the Philippines. It would take a young warrior to survive it.
Cinelle Barnes was barely three years old when her family moved into Mansion Royale, a stately ten-bedroom home in the Philippines. Filled with her mother’s opulent social aspirations and the gloriously excessive evidence of her father’s self-made success, it was a girl’s storybook playland. But when a monsoon hits, her father leaves, and her mother’s terrible lover takes the reins, Cinelle’s fantastical childhood turns toward tyranny she could never have imagined. Formerly a home worthy of magazines and lavish parties, Mansion Royale becomes a dangerous shell of the splendid palace it had once been.
In this remarkable ode to survival, Cinelle creates something magical out of her truth—underscored by her complicated relationship with her mother. Through a tangle of tragedy and betrayal emerges a revelatory journey of perseverance and strength, of grit and beauty, and of coming to terms with the price of family—and what it takes to grow up.
Cinelle Barnes is an essayist, memoirist, and educator with a BA in media studies in journalism from Hunter College and a master of fine arts in creative writing from Converse College. Books have been the one constant in her life—through her tumultuous childhood in the Philippines, her years living as an undocumented immigrant in the New York City, her time as a new bride living in the American South, and as she completed her MFA program and began writing about her secrets.
Barnes is also an AWP Journal Intro Award nominee, a Kundiman Creative Non-Fiction Intensive Fellow, a VONA/Voices alum for political content writing at the University of Pennsylvania, a presenter and panelist on Diversity in Literature at the Creative Writing Studies Conference at Warren Wilson College, a founding member of the C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference, a screener for WILLA: Women Writing the American West, and the incoming writer-in-residence at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston.
Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Literary Hub, Buzzfeed, South 85, TAYO Literary Journal, Skirt!, West Of, Your Life Is A Trip, the Piccolo Spoleto Fiction Series, and Hub City Press’s online anthology, Multicultural Spartanburg. Her first book, Monsoon Mansion: A Memoir, arrives in May 2018 from Little A/Amazon Publishing.