The literary calendar towards yearend
KRIPOTKIN - Alfred A. Yuson (The Philippine Star) - September 23, 2019 - 12:00am

It used to be that the Palanca Awards Night ushered in the spate of literary events for the ’ber months, as it was traditionally held on Sept. 1. Last year marked a departure, with Palanca Night being pushed back to October. And now I just got word that the 69th edition will be held on Nov. 8 at the usual venue, the Rigodon Ballroom of Manila Peninsula hotel.

This year, it was the 40th Manila International Book Fair that spun off the literary calendar, with over 150,000 visitors attending its five-day run from Sept. 11 to 15, at SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City. As organized by Primetrade Asia, Inc., two floors hosted the scores of publishers and booksellers, with seminars, workshops, book signings and co-located events such as Fandom Fest also featured.

Work kept me away from the MIBF and likely tsundoku, but had I found the time and the patience through city traffic, I would’ve attended the conjugal launch on Sept. 14 of Eros Redux by Mookie Katigbak Lacuesta from Good Intentions Publishing and City Stories by Angelo R. Lacuesta from AdMU Press. 

And while there, I would’ve picked up the following titles from the Anvil Publishing booth: the Jose Rizal manga book, the new editions of Ninotchka Rosca’s Stories of a Bitter Country and State of War, Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo’s Catch A Falling Star, and Benjamin Pimentel’s U.G. An Underground Tale: The Life and Struggle of Edgar Jopson. 

From UST Publishing House, there were Joselito D. De Los Angeles’ Finding Teo: Tula/Talambuhay, Andrea Pasion Flores’ For Love and Kisses, Hidalgo’s Collected Stories and Tales, Albert Alejo’s Nabighani: Mga Saling Tula ng Kapwa Nilikha, Jose Victor Z. Torres’ To the People Sitting in Darkness… and Other Footnotes of Our Past, John Jack G. Wigley’s Hantong: Mga Kuwento, and Em Mendez’ Anagnorisis: Apat na Dula.      

Next on the calendar was the Philippines Graphic magazine’s annual Nick Joaquin Literary Awards (NJLA) handed out last Friday, Sept. 20 at the Citystate Tower Hotel in Ermita.

Winning first prize for short fiction was “Matches” by Sydney Paige Guerrero (the third prize winner last year), while the second prize went to “Perfect Sons” by Vincen Gregory Yu, and the third prize to “The Sky Painter” by Patricia Celina Ngo. Honorable mentions were “Amira” by Cesar Miguel G. Escano,
“Etymologies” by Hans Pieter L. Arao, and “Yule Tree” by Jenny Ortuoste. The judges were Susan Lara (as chair), Sarge Lacuesta and Dean Alfar.

Named Poet of the Year was Mark Angeles, who earned the title Makata ng Taon from Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino in 2016, and won first prize in the Palanca Tula category. His poems were spoken by rapper Abra in the Cinemalaya 2017 movie Respeto. Last year, he defended “Tokhang,” which won Salita ng Taon 2018.

Next up will be the 85th PEN International Congress hosted by the Philippine Center of International PEN (Poets, Playwrights, Essayists, Novelists) from September 30 to October 4, with the theme “Speaking in Tongues: Literary Freedom and Indigenous Languages.”

As an annual general assembly of all PEN centers, it expects the participation of over 150 writers from abroad. Among the events open to the public is “Free the Word! Manila: Poetry, Prose and Performances” from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at the CCP Main Lobby, with master of ceremonies Glenn Mas introducing the following readers/performers: Lourd de Veyra, Marjorie Evasco, Cordillera musician Kurt Alalag, Indonesian novelist Seno Gumira Ajidarma, Indonesian poet Fariq Alfaruqi, Hong Kong poet Tammy Lai-Ming Ho, Santiago Villafania, Marne Kilates, Ayi Dossavi-Alipoeh of Togo, Yorn Young of Cambodia, Felix Villeneuve of Québéc, Tomica Bajsic of Croatia, Veera Tyhtilä of Finland, Judyth Hill of Mexico, and Danson Kahyana of Uganda.

On Oct. 3 at the National Museum Fine Arts building, the PEN Public Lectures and Panels start at 9 a.m. with the opening address by National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario,

From 9:30 a.m. up, several panel discussions will be held as 90-minute sessions, starting with “Reconfiguring Resistance in Traditional and Digitized Media” as moderated by this writer, with panelists Manuel Quezon III of Philippine Daily Inquirer, Glenda Gloria of Rappler, Pierre Pierson of PEN Nicaragua, Tomica Bajsic of PEN Croatia and Elnaz Baghlanian of PEN Sweden.

The other panels will discuss “Migrating Languages: From Indigenous to Mainstream” (moderated by NCCA Literary Arts chair Hope Yu, with GMA-7’s Howie Severino among the panelists), “Shut Up: The Many Ways of Repression” (moderated by Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, with PDI’s John Nery and Rappler’s Pia Ranada), “Words Crossing Worlds: Translation / Transliteration” (moderated by Dinah Roma), “Creative Tensions and Art Forces” (moderated by Ricardo de Ungria, with filmmaker Kiri Dalena as a panelist), and “Body Language: Expressions of the Indigenous” (moderated by Malou Jacob, with Padmapani Perez and Kristian Cordero).

Keynote addresses will then be rendered from 3 to 4 p.m. by Indonesian novelist and 2018 Prince Claus awardee Eka Kurniawan and National Artist for Literature Resil Mojares.

The Philippine PEN board of directors is headed by founding chair and National Artist F. Sionil Jose and chairman and National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, with Charlson Ong as president and Joselito Zulueta as national secretary. The congress’ overall convenor is Angelo “Sarge” Lacuesta. 

Abroad, Filipino and Filipino-American writers will get together from Oct. 11 to 13 at the San Francisco Main Library for the Fifth Filipino American International Book Festival organized by Philippine American Writers and Artists (PAWA) and the Filipino American Center of the San Francisco Public Library. This year’s theme is “Isang Mundó: Humanity, Diversity, and Resistance in the Arts.” Among those invited from Manila are Criselda Yabes, Sarge and Mookie Lacusta, and this writer — so expect me to write about this next.

I’ll also be participating in the panel discussion, “Resistance in the Age of Lies, Alternative Facts and Runaway Social Media and the Role of Filipino Journalists and Writers” to be moderated by Rene Cilia-Cruz.

Meanwhile, you may check out Cecilia Manguerra Brainard’s url about the “Hot Off the Press” author readings that she will moderate.

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with