Noel Alumit, author of “Talking to the Moon” and “Letters to Montgomery Clift,” talks with Idyllwild Authors Series host Eduardo Santiago at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 10, at B’s Mountain of Books in Idyllwild.
“Talking to the Moon” (Carroll & Graf Publishers 2007), Alumit’s second novel, is a fictional account growing out of an actual hate crime incident. The author explores its aftermath and how a family copes with a racially stereotyped killing of a Filipino-American postal worker in Los Angeles. “This is a highly personal novel, dedicated to my father,” said Alumit, who was born in the Philippines but grew up in Los Angeles. “In it, I explore the themes of family. I finished the book after my father died, but there are many scenes, including those in his hospital room as he was dying, that informed the book.”
Alumit, a former actor, began his transition to writer when he wrote his solo performance piece, “The Rice Room: Scenes From a Bar,” and an ensemble piece, “Mr. and Mrs. La Questa Go Dancing.”
When asked which he prefers, writing or performing, Alumit said they’re different, but each carries its own satisfactions. “With acting, you’re using every fiber of your being to give the performance,” he said. “I don’t feel that way about writing. But it is also a highly personal process. With acting, you’re always waiting for another [director/casting director] to recognize your creativity. With writing, I can do it every day.”
Alumit holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Southern California and teaches creative writing as part of the UCLA Extension program. His awards include the Stonewall Book Award (American Library Association), the Violet Quill Award (InsightOut Books), and the James Duggins Mid-Career Prize. Alumit said he is proudest of his work as an HIV/AIDS activist. He sits on the advisory board for the UCLA Art/Global Health Center.