Oscar Peñaranda was born in Barugo, Leyte, Philippines, and moved to Vancouver, Canada when he was 12 years old in 1956, when his father and colleagues opened the first Philippine Consulate in Canada. When he turned 17 years-old, his father was transferred to San Francisco, where Oscar has settled. An educator for 40 years, a writer for even more, and a Filipino all his life, he received the prestigious award Gawad Ng Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (Writer’s Guild of the Philippines) for his lifetime efforts in his writings and community projects. He lives at the historic and legendary International Hotel in San Francisco.
Living in three countries and being tricultural and trilingual—speaking Waray, Tagalog and English at a young age—helped to shape Oscar’s ideas on the ambiguities of home, culture and heritage, themes he would explore in his literary endeavors and community work. He received his B.A. in Literature and M.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State and was part of forming that first school of ethnic studies in the nation. His works are anthologized internationally. He has two books: Full Deck, Jokers Playing, a collection of poems, and Seasons By the Bay, a collection of interrelated stories.