SOME OF the country’s top poets and fictionists urged budding Thomasian writers to do research and strive for social relevance in their creative works.

Charlson Ong, an award-winning fictionist, debunked the idea that works of fiction were purely based on imagination.

“There is no story without research. Right now, we have our gadgets… you may [also] go around the world to look for stories,” he said during the Varsitarian’s 13th Creative Writing Workshop held from Oct. 28 to 29.

Paolo Enrico Melendez, Rogue magazine associate editor, said good story ideas could be discovered through communication with other writers.

“Writing is not a solitary endeavor. Kailangan connected ka with your fellow writers at sa kung anong nangyayari sa paligid mo lalo na ngayon,” he said.

Joselito de los Reyes, a two-time National Book Award recipient and chairman of the University’s Department of Literature, urged this year’s fellows to be familiar with social issues and address them in their writings.

“Hindi lang naman dapat tayo naglalaro sa lumutang-lutang na teorya. Tinataas din dapat natin ‘yung diskurso ng pagbabasa,” he said.

Jun Cruz Reyes, SEAWrite recipient, said young writers should apply the mores of their own generation in storytelling.

“Hanapin niyo ‘yung boses [at] tema ng inyong panahon. Iba-ibang panahon, iba-ibang tema, iba-ibang lenggwahe,” he said.

Fellows were also urged to be inventive by using contemporary language in Filipino poetry by panelist Vijae Alquisola.

“Inaasahan [ko] na may gagamit ng ‘petmalu’ at ‘lodi.’ Mahirap siguro ‘to sa inyo pero kapag nagawa ng tama, aba,” he said.

Other panelists in the workshop were Chuckberry Pascual, UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies fellow (katha), award-winning writer Susan Lara (fiction) and poets Marjorie Evasco-Pernia, Joel Toledo, Carlomar Daoana (poetry), Allan Popa and Romulo Baquiran, Jr. (tula).

This year’s 16 fellows were Dana Carmel Cacha, Maria Tanya Patricia Cruz, Ma. Doreen Evita Garcia and Elaine Aurora Sanchez (fiction); Andrea Albana, Lloyd Alcedric Opalec, Al Vincent Tumlos and Kevin Glenn Yee (katha); Erma Edera, Alyssa Carmina Gonzales, Hailord Lavarias and Monina Trina Sillano (tula); and Arielle Abrigo, Bea Bumanlag, Moses Matsuzawa and Neal Andreu Tayco (poetry). K.B.L. Arlegui

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