The Manila Critics Circle (MCC) and National Book Development Board (NBDB) have announced the finalists of the 39th National Book Awards, an annual prize honoring the best book titles written, designed, and published in the Philippines.
The recognition seeks to stimulate literary production and the book trade by highlighting the continued significance of books and reading in the daily lives of Filipinos.
This year’s NBA includes titles published in 2019 and 2020. The last awards were handed out in 2019, prior to the pandemic, recognizing the books published in 2018.
For this year’s NBA, in the category Novel in English, the four finalists are Daryll Delgado for Remains, Caroline S. Hau for Tiempo Muerte, Criselda Yabes for Broken Islands, and Jessica Zafra for The Age of Umbrage.
For Novel in Filipino, only two made the cut: Rhod V. Nuncio for Omnibus at ang Misteryo ng Nawalalang Ulo, and RM Topacio-Aplaon for Topograpiya ng Lumbay: Imus Novel 6.
Among the seven finalists for Short Stories in English are Jose Dalisay Jr. (Voyager and Other Fictions: The Collected Stories of Jose Dalisay), Angelo R. Lacuesta (City Stories), and Ninotchka Rosca (Stories of a Bitter Country). For Short Stories (Maikling Kuwento) in Filipino, among the five finalists are Nap Arcilla III (Maqueda: Mga Usipon Mula Lawod Hanggang Baybayon) and John Iremil Teodoro (Sad-Sadan, Happy-Hapihan: Mga Kuwento ng Pag-Ibig).
For Poetry in English, there were seven finalists, including newly-named National Artist for Literature Gemino H. Abad (When Bridges are Down, Mountains Too Far: New Poems) and media personality Lourd de Veyra (Marka Demonyo or Poems on Love, Faith, and Duct Tape).
For Poetry (Tula) in Filipino, seven made the cut, among them Albert Alejo, S.J. (Isang Kahig, Isang Tula: Mga Tanaga) and Louise O. Lopez (Lungsod-Lungsuran).
The other NBA categories are Nonfiction Prose, Essay, Anthology, Drama, Literary Criticism/Literary History, Translation, Graphic Literature, Art, Professions, Social Sciences, History, Journalism, Humor, Sports, and Lifestyle, Food, Science, and Design.
Read the full list of finalists on the NBDB website: https://booksphilippines.gov.ph/39th-national-book-awards-finalists/
Founded in 1981, the Manila Critics Circle is a non-stock, non-profit organization of professional literary critics, newspaper columnists, journalists, and academics who believe that Philippine books deserve much more attention than they usually get from business, media, and the general public.
In 2008, the MCC entered into an agreement with the NBDB to institutionalize the National Book Awards to better honor Philippine publishers and authors.
The current members of the MCC are National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario, Dean Francis Alfar, Alma Anonas-Carpio, Dr. Isagani R. Cruz, Ruel S. De Vera, Dr. Shirley O. Lua, Dr. Michael M. Coroza, Dr. Jenny Ortuoste, and Dr. Danton Remoto.