UST writers’ workshop fellow wins Rector’s Literary Award in 35th Ustetika


A UST National Writers’ Workshop 2020 fellow won the coveted Rector’s Literary Award (RLA) in the 35th Gawad Ustetika, the country’s longest-running literary derby organized by the Varsitarian.

The short story “The Silence of Stars” by Carmel Ilustrisimo, a creative writing student at the UST Graduate School, was the personal choice of UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. from among the first-prize Ustetika winners.

The RLA is given to a literary work that best reflects the “University’s Catholic vision of grace and redemption.”

“The Silence of the Stars” tells the story of Estrella, a victim of kidnapping and sexual slavery in World War II.

“I wrote it as a tribute to all children in history who are victims of war,” she told the Varsitarian in an online interview.

Ilustrisimo also bagged the first prize in the essay category for her piece “The Ones Who Walk Away from Ilocos.”

The results of this year’s Gawad Ustetika were announced on the Varsitarian Facebook page last July 14.

Here is the complete list of the winners:

Poetry: Emmanuel Vener Reyes Marcadejas, “All the Wonders of the Different World,” third place; Yasmin Medina, “Living with Earthquakes,” first honorable mention and Christian Ryan DR. Ram Malli, “In Consoling Blue Cities,” second honorable mention.

Tula: Hailord N. Lavarias, “Tila at Iba Pang Mga Tula,” first place; Emmanuel Vener Reyes Marcadejas, “Ang Mga Sikreto ng Deboto,” second place and George G. Deoso, “Isang Pinagpalang Umaga: Mga Tula,” third place.

Fiction: Carmel Ilustrisimo, “Silence of Stars,” first place; Kisha Aleena Abuda, “Reverence,” second place; Christine Andas, “Battery Low,” third place; Amos Dominic L. Mijares, “Cheap Wine,” first honorable mention and Ma. Fatima Clare D. Castillo, “Fish Leaves,” second honorable mention.

Katha: Pamela Llamedo, “Palit-Ulo,” first place; Patrick Ernest C. Celso, “Ang Korona ni Queen Diana Maria Pamintuan,” second place and Benjamin Joshua L. Gutierrez, “7 Eleven: Tambayan ng Mga Ipinagpag at Nagpagpag,” third place.

Essay: Carmel Ilustrisimo, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Ilocos,” first place; John Alfred F. Rabena, “The Seven Silences of an Abuse Victim,” second place and Christine M. Andas, “Bicycles,” third place.

Sanaysay: Trixie Anne Kimberly M. Suratos, “Pusang Ina,” first honorable mention.

One-Act Play/Dulang May Isang Yugto: Patrick Ernest Celso, “Jomary at Jessa sa Malate,” third place and Marial Angelica Rivera, “Chikas, Titas,” first honorable mention.

The judges for this year’s Gawad Ustetika were Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta, Allan Pastrana and Mariano Kilates for Poetry; Michael Coroza, Rebecca Añonuevo and Vim Nadera for Tula; Sarge Lacuesta, Augusto Antonio Aguila and Paolo Enrico Melendez for Fiction; Chuckberry Pascual, Eros Atalia and Joselito de los Reyes for Katha; Jose Wendell Capili, Nesto Cuartero and Shirley Lua for Essay; Beverly Siy, Gary Devilles and Oscar Campomanes for Sanaysay; and John Jack Wigley, Jose Victor Torres and Ralph Galan for One-Act Play/Dulang May Isang Yugto. Leigh Anne E. Dispo