F. Sionil Jose: Writers should read Rizal’s works

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NATIONAL Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose urged writers to read the works of national hero Jose Rizal during the 61st Philippine PEN National Congress at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay last Nov. 22.

“Read more on what they (heroes) have written in the past. [S]tart with Rizal because his works are important,” Jose said.

Citing classic novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, he said Rizal wrote about Filipino society where he immersed himself in.

“As writers, you must [also] be able to transcend your ego [and] recognize that you belong to a larger community,” Jose said.

“It is not your obligation…to live and write like Rizal. We just have to write from the society that we know. We can only [do] this if we know ourselves [and] if we are rooted in our country,” he added.

Jose, former Varsitarian editor in chief, told budding writers to get inspiration from Filipino writers instead of imitating the style of American writers.

Jose is the founder of the Philippine PEN (Poets and Playwrights, Essayists and Novelists), the local chapter of the international federation of writers promoting freedom of expression.

The Philippine PEN Congress focused on discussing Filipino writers’ roles in nation-building. T.M.U.


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