Literary events and activities

posted October 22, 2015 at 12:01 am
by  Jenny Ortuoste
“Literature is the soul of the people,” said someone or other, and certainly it is the written word that creates, documents, and relays narratives with less ambiguity than other forms of art, capturing the inner essence of our people and culture.

These coming months are an exciting time for the world of Philippine letters and art in general, with events and activities that manifest the vibrancy of the writing community today. Below is a roundup of some of them.

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On Oct. 24: Award-winning fictionist and creative non-fiction (CNF) pioneer Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo will hold a soft launch of her latest book “To Remember to Remember: Reflections on the Literary Memoirs of Filipino Women” at the University of Santo Tomas.

Dr. Pantoja-Hidalgo, director of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies and University of the Philippines professor emerita, says the book “is a narrative of my encounter with the literary memoirs of seven writers,” and is part CNF, part literary commentary.

The seven writers are Paz Policarpio Mendez, Solita Camara Besa, Gilda Cordero Fernando, Merlie Alunan, Rica Bolipata Santos, Criselda Yabes, and myself, for my essay “Turn for Home: Memories of Santa Ana Park.” (Google the title to read it online.)

A formal launch open to the public will be held within the coming months for this book and other new UST Publishing House titles.

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On Oct. 31: Entries are now being accepted for this year’s Doreen Gamboa Fernandez (DGF) Food Writing Award with the theme “Herbs”.

The DGF is the first food writing award in the Philippines and was named after the late pioneering food anthropologist and dean of food writers and columnists.

The contest offers cash prizes and is “dedicated to inspiring research in Philippine culinary culture and sustaining a pool of increasing new talents in food literature and food journalism.”

Essays must be in English, around 800 words or 5,000 characters in length. Writers may submit up to two essays, but each entry must have a different pen name. The  writer’s pen name, real name, and contact information should be submitted in a separate file.

Send entries to  [email protected]  no later than Oct. 31. For more information, visit the Facebook page “Doreen Gamboa Fernandez Food Writing Award”.

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Congratulations to lawyer and educator Raymundo T. Pandan Jr. for bagging this year’s Cirilo F. Bautista Prize for his novel “When Will This War End?”

He will receive a cash prize of P100,000, while Special Jury Prize winner Zeno Antonio Denolo will receive P50,000 for his novel “Uberman” at the awards ceremony on Nov. 14.

Out of 73 qualified entries, eight novels made the shortlist. The contest judges were National Artist Cirilo F. Bautista (chairman), Katrina Tuvera, Roland Tolentino, Dean Francis Alfar, and Joselito de los Reyes.

Pandan, a Palanca Award-winning poet, served as dean of the University of St. La Salle College of Law in Bacolod City from 1998 to 2010, and still teaches there.

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Anthropologist Padmapani L. Perez recently released “Shelah Goes to a Da-Ngah,” a lighthearted children’s story about a cherished custom of cooperation similar to bayanihan and practiced by the Kalanguya people of the Cordilleras.

Dr. Perez says, “I did fieldwork in Tawangan, in the municipality of Kabayan, Benguet… on indigenous people’s rights and the protection of nature…The da-ngah is one of the most important customs of the Kalanguya…” that the elders said should not be lost or forgotten. “Writing this story was a way for me to give something back to the community that welcomed me and taught me so much.”

Visit the Mt. Cloud bookshop Facebook page to find out how to order the book and purchase copies to donate to the families of Tawangan, where the story is set.

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Congratulations to the Philippine delegation for their successful participation in the Frankfurt Book Fair (held Oct. 14 to 18), the biggest global gathering of publishers, agents, authors, media agents, illustrators, and trade professionals.

The National Book Development Board was represented by its chair Neni Sta. Romana Cruz and executive director Graciela Mendoza-Cayton, and the UST Publishing House by its director John Jack Wigley. Representatives from other local publishing houses including powerhouses Abiva, Adarna, Anvil, Diwa, Lampara, Precious Pages, and Rex were also there.

The collaboration came about through the advocacy and support of the Book Development Association, Philippine Educational Printers Association, and NBDB. 

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Topics: Jenny Ortuoste , Literary events , Literature
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