Authors highlight importance of reading and writing in book forum

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UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies Director Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo.

FILIPINO authors stressed the importance of reading and writing in the contemporary age in a conference last April 7 at the UST Bookstore.

Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, director of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies (CCWLS), said writing should persist under any circumstance.

“If you are a professional writer, you write. That’s what you do. Whether you’re sick, you’re brokenhearted, your family is breaking up, your child is running away from home, you just keep on writing,” Hidalgo said.

Hidalgo said good writing equates to good reading.

“Do not read lousy things, those that are mediocre and trash. You have limited time and eyesight. Don’t waste it,” she said.

Poet Marne Kilates said readers should not limit themselves to fiction.

“Read not just literary works but also read as much as one can from other fields of knowledge. For instance, there are books in math and science that a writer can read for his own curiosity,” he said.

CCWLS fellow Chuckberry Pascual, who writes queer fiction, said writing empowers marginalized communities.

“Gusto ko silang (LGBT community) bigyan ng representasyon sa panitikan nang sa gayon ay labanan ang banta ng pagkakahon kung ‘di man ang posibleng pagkakabura ng bakla sa lipunan,” Pascual said.

“Hindi lamang simpleng pag-amin ang pakahulugan ng pangungumpisal, kundi may alingawngaw din ng relihiyon at moralidad,” he said.

Rino D.A. Fernandez, who teaches at the UST College of Architecture, said Philippine architecture needs more visibility in literature.

“I want the Filipinos to be familiar with the language of our architecture because it is only through this language that we can sustain our built culture, especially at present where information is readily available with a click of a mouse or a swipe of a finger,” Fernandez said in a remarks read by Ailil Alvarez, deputy director of the UST Publishing House.

The forum was part of the Pinoy Book Stop Tour, which features independent and campus-based publishers, as well as winners of the National Book Awards and National Children’s Book Awards.

The Pinoy Book Stop Tour is part of the activities of the National Book Development Board for National Literature Month.

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