Thomasian National Artists recognized for promoting Filipino culture, values through writing

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National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, together with fellow Varsitarian alumnus F. Sionil Jose, receives the Guardian of the National Memory Award at the Nick Joaquin Literary Awards last Sept. 13. Photo by Vladlynn Nona Maryse L. Tadeo

THREE National Artists for Literature from UST were recognized on Sept. 13 for promoting Filipino culture and values through their writing in the 2017 Nick Joaquin Literary Awards.

Titans of Philippine literature and Varsitarian alumni F. Sionil Jose, Cirilo Bautista and Bienvenido Lumbera were given the Guardian of the National Memory Award by the Philippines Graphic magazine, which hosted the event at the B Hotel in Quezon City.

Jose, a former Varsitarian editor in chief, lauded Nick Joaquin for his “incomparable” contribution to Philippine literature.

“Joaquin was perhaps the greatest writer we had after Rizal… If there is any stone keeper of our national memory, it is him,” he said in his acceptance speech.

Fictionist Alfred “Krip” Yuson received the award on behalf of Bautista, a former Varsitarian literary editor .

Christian Ray Buendia, a UST National Writers Workshop 2015 fellow, won first prize for his short story “Mathilde’s Absence.”

“It is a story about a woman who was forced by economic circumstances to portray a gentleman’s dead wife every night,” he said.

The Poet of the Year Award was conferred on Anne Carly Abad.

Other winners were Scott Lee Chua’s “Margarita” (second), Wayne Castillo’s “Certainly a Train Love Story” (third) and Albert Casuga’s “Sons and Fathers,” Danton Remoto’s “The Ruins” and Alex Lecing’s “Self-Possessed” (honorable mentions).

Judges for this year were writers Sarge Lacuesta, Susan Lara and Yuson.

The Nick Joaquin Literary Awards, formerly the Philippines Graphic Literary Awards, is a tribute to the late National Artist for Literature Joaquin, the magazine’s first editor in chief, who died in 2004.

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