UST-CCWLS director Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo

ACCLAIMED writer and literature professor Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo is set to receive the Southeast Asian Writers (S.E.A. Write) Award, a prestigious honor accorded to the region’s top litterateurs.

Hidalgo, the director of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies (CCWLS), will receive the accolade from the King of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn, on Thursday, Aug. 10 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

Hidalgo said in a Facebook post she was “tremendously honored” to receive the S.E.A. Write Award and also “bemused that this is to happen in the city which, next to Manila, is the place that I regard as ‘home.’”

The author of short story collections “Catch a Falling Star” and “Ballad of a Lost Season” has won three Carlos Palanca awards for short fiction, essay, and novel, and several National Book Awards.

With her S.E.A. Write Award, Hidalgo joins previous winners like National Artists for Literature Nick Joaquin, Bienvenido Lumbera, and Virgilio Almario, and CCWLS founding director Ophelia Dimalanta.

Hidalgo, a former editor in chief of the Varsitarian, will also add to the list of “V” alumni who have received the S.E.A. Write award: former editor in chief Victor Emmanuel Carmelo “Vim” Nadera Jr., former Filipino editor Michael Coroza, former special reports writer Rebecca Anoñuevo, and former literary editors Lumbera and Dimalanta.

For her contributions to Philippine literature, she was conferred the Parangal Hagbong, a lifetime achievement award for Thomasian alumni in letters, by the Varsitarian in 2015.

Established in 1979, the S.E.A. Write Award recognizes writers from the 10 countries in Southeast Asia and is considered the most prestigious literary award in the region.

It honors the creativity of literary talents in the region and raises awareness of the richness of the literary scene in Southeast Asia.

The S.E.A. Write Award is presented both for a particular piece by an author and for their overall contribution to literature. The recognized categories encompass a diverse range of works, spanning poetry, short stories, novels, plays, folklore, as well as scholarly and religious compositions.

In this year’s ceremony, the first to be held in person since the Covid-19 pandemic, the award-giving body will recognize S.E.A. Write winners from 2019 to 2021.


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