SOURCE: Author Corie Laraya-Coutts

Author Corie Laraya-Coutts

January 28, 2011 09:37 ET

Fighting Prejudice Through Fiction

How Filipino Writer Uses Modern Parable to Teach Diversity

CLEARWATER, FL--(Marketwire - January 28, 2011) -  Corie Coutts wants the legacy of the prejudice her family has faced for generations to be a lesson in diversity.

The descendant of a Shaman healer in the Philippines, Coutts' family has suffered derision for generations, despite the fact her family stopped practicing the controversial Shaman arts that were prevalent in the region before it was introduced to Christianity.

Even today, her family is shunned in the Philippines by those who still harbor the prejudice against her ancestors' practices, which is what motivated her to write about it -- but not directly.

"What I and my family suffered in the Philippines is no different than what some children face today in the United States," said Coutts, co-author of "DJ MacDonald: A Tale of Malipayon Warrior" ( "Trying to relate our specific tale might not have had much relevance for a generation that can't find the Philippines on a map. So, I decided to take my message to a genre that was more acceptable to this and the next generation -- fantasy."

Inspired by the success of tales like "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Lord of the Rings," Coutts translated her tale into a fictional realm of wizards and warriors set against the real world of today.

"I wanted to communicate a subtle message of tolerance tucked neatly inside a story of conflict and action, using a fictionalization of the mysticism and magic of my ancestors as the fuel for the story," she said. "Just about every problem we have in this world can be traced back to some nationalistic, religious or cultural disagreement. Having suffered the ignominy of family history that was not of my making, I had a choice to either discard them as ancestors -- and perhaps also discard the prejudice -- or embrace them as part of me and stand up to the enemies of diversity. I want to open minds and hearts, because those are the only assets that can safeguard our future and the futures of our children."

About Corie Coutts
Corie Laraya-Coutts (a.k.a. Corazon) was born in Norala, South Cotabato, Philippines, and holds a degree in Child Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She worked in Kuwait, Egypt, and Hong Kong before immigrating to Canada in 1996. Now an entrepreneur, she lives with her husband, Rod in Orton, Ontario, Canada.

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