This Filipino Author's Short Story Is One of LeVar Burton's Favorite Reads

Check out his podcast LeVar Burton Reads.

( The Philippines is home to many great authors writing in our different Philippine languages and being inspired by the multitude of legends and epics that came before us. American actor, director, and author LeVar Burton himself is awed by the stories that a Filipino writer has to tell—particularly Kenneth Yu, who he featured in the latest episode of his podcast series LeVar Burton Reads.

Burton, who is probably best known as Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation and host of the long-running children's series Reading Rainbow, has been reading short stories he loves on the podcast. He has so far featured works by Kurt Vonnegut, Toni Morrison, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ray Bradbury, Haruki Murakami, and many, many more. "I love them and I really hope you will, too," the American actor says in his introduction.

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On September 8, he released an episode featuring Kenneth Yu's "Cricket", which was published in Lauriat: A Filipino-Chinese Speculative Fiction Anthology by U.S.-based Lethe Press in 2012. The collection, which is edited by Charles A. Tan, boasts works of fiction delving into the rich culture of the Filipino-Chinese.


"Have you ever felt stuck? Like you were waiting for one single event to finally happen so your life could begin anew. The family in this story is grappling with that exact feeling," Burton says about "Cricket" in his podcast. Yu's short story tells the tale of a family that's been waiting for the "hand-off from the extremely elderly matriarch of the family to the next generation." And when that finally happens, someone else enters their lives "and throws the cards up in the air again," Burton narrates.

Kenneth Yu's Cricket is part of Lauriat: A Filipino-Chinese Speculative Fiction Anthology, which was published in 2012.
PHOTO Courtesy of Kenneth Yu
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"It was flattering and such an honor to be featured by THE Mr. LeVar Burton," Yu tells in an online exchange. The Filipino-Chinese writer is also a big fan of Burton. "He’s known, of course, for his work with Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but more than that, he is a strong reading advocate in the U.S. He’s been pushing reading and the love of books, done so many good things to promote literacy, for so long and for so many years. I admire him for that so much," he adds.


Yu was immensely surprised when his work was noticed by Burton. "He even asked someone to look for me on social media. When his producer, Julia Smith, emailed me, I couldn’t believe what she wrote. My story is up, and I still can’t believe it, to be honest. To be on his popular podcast alongside that lineup of authors is really something. I am so happy that somehow my story touched him (what with all the great stories he has read in his life), and hopefully 'Cricket' will touch others, too. I am so grateful to him, Julia, and the rest of his team for this. It’s a wonderful podcast done so well," the author explains.

When asked about his background in writing, Yu explained that he's in marketing by profession and a a proud part of the Market Management Department of Allianz PNB Life. "I just read a lot. A whole lot. It’s quite easy for me to disappear into a book. I am happy my mother indulged my love for reading, which started when I was a grade schooler," he recalls.

Just like Burton, Yu took to heart all the books he has read and ended up writing stories of his own.

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