FORMER Varsitarian editor in chief Victor Emmanuel Carmelo Nadera, Jr. received the Southeast Asian Writer (SEA Write) Award last Oct. 9 at the Oriental Bangkok Hotel in Thailand. The award is given yearly by the Kingdom of Thailand to one writer each from the Southeast Asian countries for lifetime achievement in letters.

With eight other Southeast Asian writers, Nadera received the award from Thai Prince Bhisatej Rajani. The award is icing on the cake after Nadera published Kayumanggi, a collection of 25 Filipino poems chronicling the pre-colonial, Spanish, Japanese, American, and contemporary Philippines. It is published by the UST Publishing House.

“Kayumanggi includes my earliest works published like ‘Binibining Mabini’ which made me the youngest ‘Makata ng Taon’ in 1985. It can be divided according to periods so readers can use it as a supplementary reading to Philippine history or literature,” said Nadera, who finished his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in 1984 and Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology in 1994 in UST.

The book is Nadera’s fifth poetry collection. The poems were translated into English by poets Arvin Abejo Mangohig, Sandra Roldan, Vic Nierva, Francis Quina, and Thomasian Ramil Digal Gulle.

Nadera said that aside from the honor and prestige, the SEA Write award made him appreciate better his Asian roots.

“All the more I became conscious that I am an Asian. Such a blessing reminds me that there are a lot of things to be done not only to develop our very own literature, but Asian literatures as well,” he said.

The SEA Write award was founded by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1979 and has been recognizing annually notable literary writers who belong to ASEAN countries.

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Other Thomasian SEA Write award recipients are National Artist Nick Joaquin (1980), UST Center for Creative Writing and Studies director Ophelia Dimalanta (1999), and Palanca Hall of Fame honoree Roberto Añonuevo (2002).

Nadera is director of the University of the Philippines Institute of Creative Writing. As Filipino Editor of the Varsitarian in the 1980s, he founded the Ustetika Literary Awards which has become the oldest and most prestigious campus literary contest in the country. Myla Jasmine U. Bantog

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