[caption id="attachment_1038" align="alignnone" width="241" caption="Barbara Jane Reyes. BOA Poet. Photo by Peter Dressel."][/caption] Commonwealth Club recently announced the finalists to their California Book Awards. Included among the finalists is Barbara Jane Reyes’s Diwata. The award goes to work of exceptional literary merit by California writers and publishers. The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum, bringing together its more than 18,000 members for over 400 annual events on topics ranging across politics, culture, society and the economy. Founded in 1903, The Commonwealth Club has played host to a diverse and distinctive array of speakers, from Teddy Roosevelt in 1911 to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor Alec Baldwin and author Christopher Hitchens in recent years. Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Bill Gates have all given landmark speeches at The Club. You can read the announcement as well as the list of the other finalists here. Diwata was also recently reviewed by Carolyne Whelan in the Coal Hill Review blog. Of the book, Carolyne writes: “Starting with a monologue of longing from Eve, Reyes weaves seamlessly the creation myths of the Book of Genesis and of the Tagalog people of the Philippines, along with the bloody history of colonization in the Philippines and her grandfather’s role during World War II. We are offered Reyes’ own version of oral history, the history of her split heritage, the story of survival, and myths of Reyes’ own creation that add an additional emotional truth despite their deliberate inaccuracy. We leave this book both shellshocked and empowered, reborn and rib-torn.” You can read more of what Carolyne Whelan had to say about Diwata on the Coal Hill Review blog. We are very excited to see Barbara’s work receive this much-deserved attention. Congratulations Barbara!