Use technology to promote literature, writers urged

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Author Eros Atalia speaks during the 2017 International Conference on Education, Literatures, and Creative Writing. Photo by Deejae S. Dumlao

FILIPINO writers and literary scholars stressed the new role of information technology in promoting literature during the 2017 International Conference on Education, Literatures, and Creative Writing in UST last April 20 to 22.

Eros Atalia, who teaches Filipino at the Faculty of Arts and Letters, said online writing platforms such as Wattpad appeal to a wider audience.

“When it comes to literature, we look for alternative platforms. Young Filipino writers are hooked on online publishing, writing and reading. They have built a new community where they can share stories,” Atalia said.

But the author challenged Wattpad writers to “set the bar high” in shaping the future of storytelling in the country.

“These young writers and readers will mature, as will their content,” he said.

Poet Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta said social media creates a community among aspiring writers.

“Technology is something that we can really talk with and especially in line with what creative writing tries to do. Different social media actually help us to create and foster communities, which are important to beginning writers,” she said.

Poet Mark Angeles said digital technology helps the audience assess the believability of a story, citing Google Maps as a tool to help readers accurately visualize the setting of a story.

“Kailangan natin i-storicize at contextualize ang mga literary work para makita nating totoo ‘tong mga nangyaring ‘to,” Angeles said.

Fictionist Charleson Ong emphasized the importance of creative writing workshops and courses in the age of electronic books and blogs.

“The workshop is a scary place for a budding writer, testing his or her literary wings. It is our initiation in the world of letters,” he said.

Other writers who served as speakers in the conference included Marjorie Evasco, Sarge Lacuesta, Genevieve Asenjo, Reuel Aguila, Ian Casocot, Vicente Groyon and Joel Toledo.

National Artists for Literature F. Sionil Jose and Bienvenido Lumbera, both Thomasian alumni, joined the conference. Jose delivered the keynote address while Lumbera led the plenary session.

The conference was held at the George Ty Hall of the Buenaventura G. Paredes, O.P Building.

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