HISTORY is meant to work alongside literature.

This is how Filipino-American novelist Gina Apostol puts it in her stories, ranging from the playfully written history of a young girl’s book life, to a blind man’s convoluted glimpse of a spawning revolution.

Aspiring writers and littérateurs witnessed “Conversation with Gina Apostol,” organized by the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies last April 14 at the Tanghalang Teresita Quirino of the UST Graduate School.

The event is part of the Filipino-American Scholar Lecture Series, focusing on Filipino-American writers and their different styles in writing the culture that encapsulates their brand of Filipino writing. The series included a lecture by Prof. Celine Parreñas in 2012 and a book launch by Marivi Soliven last year.

Apostol echoed the sentiment of many writers that the writer should know whereof she speaks.

“Write what you know,” she said, adding that writers are designed to become servants of the texts by strictly cohering to their work.

While many writers opt for the taste of young readers in choosing a genre, Apostol believes that history in both fiction and non-fiction is very vital to be kept intact.

“We are an unfinished novel,” she said, referring to the continuity of history found in literature.

“Because of our history, our culture [and] our sense of self, we are always thinking about others—it is not a colonizer’s point of view. We don’t have that because we’re always thinking at how someone else is looking at us.”

From her personal experience, she also highlighted the importance of versatility in language and urged writers to be flexible with words.


Apostol’s most recent work, The Gun Dealers’ Daughter, won the 2013 Poets, Playwrights, Essayists and Novelists (PEN) Open Book Award, a US award. Her earlier novels are Bibliolepsy in 1997 and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata in 2009. Josef Brian M. Ramil


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