Document Type

Creative Work

Publication Details

Bobis, M. C. (2008). The Solemn Lantern Maker. Pier 9, Murdoch Books Pty Ltd., Sydney, NSW, 208p. [Novel] Author's web page for the novel, with additional information - here.



Research Background

The war on terror and colonisation, globalisation and third world poverty, child disability and prostitution have been addressed as separate subjects in research and non-fiction, but this work of creative fiction explores these issues as interrelated phenomena in one text on Philippine-American relations, in order to critique the political climate after 9/11 and how stories are told about it.

Research Contribution

The novel deploys the ‘small, human story’ about child disability and prostitution set against third world poverty and the war on terror, in order to critique master narratives on neo-/colonisation and discourses on terrorism shaped by US foreign policy under the Bush administration and the regime of Philippine President Arroyo. As a transnational novel on Philippine-American relations, it examines the politics and ethics of storymaking.

Research Significance

Published by Pier 9, Murdoch Books Pty Ltd., Sydney, and Delta, Random House, New York, this research harnesses grassroots storytelling as a counter-language to official narratives of national and foreign policies and their media spin. Well reviewed in “The Australian”, “The Age”, and “The Boston Globe”, and on ABC Radio National programs: “Perspective” and “The Book Show”, it has been taught in Australia and American universities. The author’s lectures on the novel were hosted in Australia by Melbourne and Adelaide Universities; in the US by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California Berkeley, Sonoma State University, and Wheaton College; and in Spain by the Universities of Zaragoza and Vigo. This novel led to the author’s conceptualising of ‘grassroots theorising’ on which she published a HERDC paper.