WITH eight award-winning publications, Ateneo de Manila University Press was named Publisher of the Year in the 36th National Book Awards.
The winners of the prestigious honors were recently announced by the National Book Development Board and the Manila Critics Circle.
The University of the Philippines Press had five award-winning books and swept all three poetry book awards: Francis C. Macansantos, “Snail Fever: Poems of Two Decades,” Poetry in English; Rowena P. Festin, “Banayad: Mga Tula;” and Victor N. Sugbo, “Taburos Han Dagat,” Poetry in Waray.
The winner for Translation was a historical novel I reviewed last Sept. 10 for its interesting storyline – Ramon Muzones’s “Shri-Bishaya” (New Day Publishers), translated by Maria Cecilia Locsin-Nava from Hiligaynon into English.
Acclaimed the best novel in English was Alfred A. Yuson’s “The Music Child and the Mahjong Queen” (Anvil). The storylines within it are strung together like beads on a necklace, each bead a glittering combination of lyrical words. One of my favorite sections is “Island of Words,” which reads like an epic poem. Here’s an excerpt:
“2. The Night. […] When water meets water it is love merging not with another but of its own caressing kind, its kin in liquid, the sister of deliquescence.
“It is like the sunlight in summer, so wrapped up in our skin.
“It is like the love our mothers give us, unrelenting, from navel to hair.
“So said the chief of our tribe on nights when the smoke the fire rose to warm the treetops beyond our gaze. The old men would nod in silence while our grandmothers touched the little bells around their ankles. Their faint sounds joined the wind that was special to our island. We did not have to dream the music.”
The best essays award went to Jose Victor Torres for “To the People Sitting in Darkness... and Other Footnotes of Our Past” (UST PH).
The other winners are:
Catherine Torres, “Mariposa Gang and Other Stories” (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House), Short Fiction in English;
Alvin Yapan, “Sangkatauhan, Sangkahayupan: Mga Kuwento,” Short Fiction in Filipino (Ateneo de Manila University Press);
Charmaine Lasar, “Toto O,” Novel in Filipino (Page Jump Media);
Raissa Robles, “Marcos Martial Law Never Again,” Non-Fiction Prose in English (Filipinos for a Better Philippines);
Roque J. Ferriols, SJ, “Sulyap sa Aking Pinanggalingan,” Non-Fiction Prose in Filipino (AdMU Press);
JPaul S. Manzanilla and Caroline S. Hau, “Remembering/Rethinking Edsa,” Bilingual Anthology (Anvil);
Christine S. Bellen, “Batang Rizal at iba pang Dula,” Anthology in Filipino (AdMU Press);
Merlie M. Alunan, “Susumaton: Oral Narratives of Leyte,” Anthology in Waray (AdMU Press);
Bong Redila, “Meläg,” Graphic Literature (Adarna House);
Jose Wendell P. Capili, “Migrations and Mediations: The Emergence of Southeast Asian Diaspora Writers in Australia 1972-2007,” Literary Criticism/Literary History (UP Press);
Edgie Polistico, “Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary,” Food (Anvil);
Daniel F. Doeppers, “Feeding Manila in Peace and War, 1850-1945,” History (AdMU Press);
Amado C. Bajarias Jr., “A Field Guide to Flight: Identifying Birds on Three School Grounds,” Science (AdMU Press);
Francisco J. Lara Jr. and Steven Schoofs, “Out of the Shadows: Violent Conflict and the Real Economy of Mindanao,” Social Sciences (AdMU Press);
Kenneth Roland A. Guda, “Peryodismo sa Bingit: Mga Naratibong Ulat sa Panahon ng Digmaan at Krisis,” Journalism (UP Press);
Joy Lumawig-Buensalido “Pinoy Manners: A Modern Guide to Delicadeza for All Generations,” Leisure (Christine Jocelyn Buensalido);
Pocholo Gonzales, “Gusto Kong Maging Voice Talent: Mga Sikreto sa Likod ng Dubbing, Voice-over at Voice Acting,” Professions (PSICOM Publishing Inc.);
Nick Deocampo, “Eiga: Cinema in the Philippines During World War II,” Art (Anvil);
Papa Osmubal (Oscar Balajadia),”Capampangan Roots,” Language Studies (Holy Angel University Press); and
Karl Fredrick M. Castro, “Colonial Manila, 1909-1912,” Book Design (AdMU Press).
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With the holidays a month away, there’s no need to rack your brain thinking of what gifts to give when there’s the Icelandic tradition of Jolabokaflod (Christmas Book Flood) to inspire us.
It’s an interesting custom where books are given on Christmas Eve and that night is spent reading. Because of this, the majority of books in Iceland are sold in late September to early November.
If you’re looking to give books as holiday gifts this year, why not select from this list, or from the other titles written by Filipino authors? Many of these books are carried by bookstores; you can also search for the publishers’ online platforms and order from there.
It’s also a good time to look for bargains; many publishing houses have sales around this season.
Dr. Ortuoste is a California-based writer. Facebook and