From left to right: Assoc. Prof. Chuckberry Pascual, Prof. Maria Alexandra Chua, and Josel Nicolas

TWO Thomasian faculty members and an alumnus from the College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD) reaped prizes in the 41st National Book Awards.

Assoc. Prof. Chuckberry Pascual, Prof. Maria Alexandra Chua, and advertising arts alumnus Josel Nicolas were among the winners announced by the National Book Development Board (NBDB) on Dec. 9. 

Pascual of the Faculty of Arts and Letters’ literature department won in two categories, namely Best Translated Book in Filipino for his translation of Miguel Syjuco’s 2008 novel, “Ilustrado,” and Best Anthology in Filipino for “Plus/+, at Iba Plus, Maramihan: New Philippine Nonfiction on Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities,” which he co-edited with Rolando Tolentino.

His translation of Syjuco’s award-winning novel was a research project under the UST Research Center for Culture, Arts, and the Humanities (RCCAH).

Pascual said “Ilustrado” had already been translated into various languages, except in Filipino. 

[D]ahil nasa Filipino [na] ito, mas malaki pa rin ang pagkakataon na mabasa–at higit pa, maunawaan–[ito] ng kapwa ko Filipino,” he told he Varsitarian. “Dahil ang produksiyon natin ng kaalaman ay dapat naman talaga para sa kapwa natin, una sa lahat.”

(Because this is already in Filipino, there is a bigger chance that fellow Filipinos will read–and more than that, understand–[the novel]. Because our production of knowledge should be for our countrymen first.)

Pascual added that the award went beyond him and his work. 

Kahit sa author lang nakapangalan ang libro, hindi lang sa kanya yon. Produkto ito ng pagtutulungan ng iba’t ibang tao,” he said. “Hindi lang ito tungkol sa akin. Sana mas magkaroon ng atensiyon sa pagsasalin, at sa mga naratibo ng LGBTQIA+ at iba pang minorities sa lipunan.” 

(Even though only the author’s name is in a book, that is not only his. It is a product of the collaboration between many people. This is not just about me. I hope more attention will be given to translation and to the narratives of the LGBTQIA+ and other social minorities.)

Pascual first won the National Book Award in 2018 for his work, “Ang Nawawala.”

Chua, director of the RCCAH and professor at the UST Conservatory of Music, bagged the Alfonso T. Ongpin Prize for Best Book in Art for her work, “Julio Nakpil (1867-1969) Collected Works Volume I: Piano, Vocal and Chamber Music.”

She was the project leader of the “Julio Nakpil @150 Music Project,” a five-year multidisciplinary project on the life and works of the Filipino composer completed in May 2022. 

Nicolas, who graduated from CFAD in 2010, co-illustrated the winning book in the Best Book of Graphic Novel and Comics in English category titled, “Death be Damned.”

It was written by Mike Alcazaren, Noel Pascual, and AJ Bernardo, and published by Komiket Inc.

A UST Publishing House title, “Duterte Watch: Descent into Authoritarianism,” by veteran journalist and editor Vergel Santos, also won in the awards, bagging the Best Book in Journalism prize. 

The 41st National Book Awards feted over 35 titles with prizes, which were selected out of 235 nominations across 34 categories. 

The winners will be awarded in February 2024. 

The National Book Awards is organized by the NBDB and the Manila Critics Circle.


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