FOUR Thomasian writers were named winners in the 36th National Book Awards on the official website of the National Book Development Board last Nov. 17.

Jose Victor Torres, historian and journalism alumnus of UST, won the award for his book of historical essays titled “To the People Sitting in Darkness… and Other Footnotes of Our Pasts,” published by the UST Publishing House.

“[It] is actually a collection of historical essays I had written through the years, [discussing] different topics in Philippine history, most of which are not mentioned in any of our general history books or textbooks,” Torres told the Varsitarian in an online interview.

Torres urged aspiring writers “to write well and take care of your book as it goes through the process of being transformed from a manuscript to a book.”

Torres, who taught at the Faculty of Arts and Letters and the Graduate School, first won the National Book Awards in 2007 for his “Ciudad Murada: A Walk Through Historic Intramuros.”

Jose Wendell Capili, also a journalism alumnus, won Best Literary Criticism for his “Migrations and Meditations: The Emergence of Southeast Asian Diaspora Writers in Australia, 1972-2007.”

Capili, a former Varsitarian staff member, discussed the works of Southeast Asian writers in Australia and how they “translated” their “Australian” experiences to a broader worldview.

Joy Lumawig-Buensalido, who taught public relations at the University, won Best Book for Leisure for her “Pinoy Manners: A Modern Guide to Delicadeza for All Generations.”

Lumawig-Buensalido wrote about her hopes to revive a sense of “delicadeza” (sensitivity or respect for others’ feelings) among Filipinos, which according to her is now dying or already dead.

“Mariposa Gang and Other Stories” by Catherine Torres was named Best Short Fiction in English.

The short story collection deals with unfortunate social realities of Filipinos forced by economic circumstances to work overseas.

The National Book Awards, given by the Manila Critics Circle and National Book Development Board, recognizes distinguished books published last year.

The awarding ceremonies will be at the National Museum of the Philippines on Dec. 2.