America is Not the Heart is a giant, soulful, heartbreaking saga about a Filipino family pulled apart by politics, class, sex, the need to leave and the longing to go back. Elaine Castillo’s acclaimed debut stretches from the Philippines to the northern Californian suburbs in the 1980s and 1990s as it describes protagonist Hero de Vera’s escape from political violence. Winnie Dunn talks to Elaine about her novel and the struggle of insular immigrant communities trying to live the American Dream.

Elaine Castillo (International)

Elaine Castillo

Elaine Castillo was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Comparative Literature. She is a Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation Fellow, and her writing can be found in Freeman’s, Lit Hub, The Rumpus, Taste Magazine, Bon Appetit, Electric Literature and elsewhere. Her short film, A Mukbang, was commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Open Space. America Is Not the Heart is her first novel.

Winnie Dunn (Australian)

Winnie Dunn

Winnie Dunn is a Tongan-Australian writer and community arts worker from Mt Druitt. She is the manager of Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement and the literary editor of Sweatshop Women, The Big Black Thing and Bent not Broken: Ten Years of Creative Writing from the City of Canterbury Bankstown. Winnie's essays and short stories have been published in The Lifted Brow, Sydney Review of Books, Meanjin, The Griffith Review and SBS Life. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at Western Sydney University in 2017.