Nov. 13, 3:41 p.m. – THE UST Publishing House was again hailed “publisher of the year,” while two of its published books were awarded as one of the most outstanding Philippine books of 2010 at the 30th National Book Awards held at the National Museum last night.

This year’s “Publisher of the Year” award is the UST Publishing House’s third; the earlier ones were in 2003 and 2004.

The novel “Blue Angel, White Shadow” by Charlson Ong and book “Sagad sa Bato, Hospital Diary at iba pang sanaysay” by Romulo Baquiran Jr. won in the fiction and nonfiction category, respectively.

“One of the things that our literature is lacking is the genre that would bring a lot of younger people to Philippine literature, fiction—mystery, thriller, even sci-fi,” Ong said. “I see some students with that potential, so I hope there will be a lot more of that.”

Ong said it took him one or two years to finish his mystery novel about Chinatown.

Baquiran, on the other hand, said his book “is a brush of mortality.”

“I was thinking of my life. It’s a way of getting over the accident,” he said.

He said he meant the book to be a serious one but decided to make it funny instead.

“It’s a reserve psychology thing,” he said. “If you write things in a light way, people will get interested.”

Baquiran said it took him three months to finish his collection of essays.

Other finalists from the UST Publishing House include “Gitnang Uring Fantasya at Material na Kahirapan sa Neoliberalismo: Politikal na Kritisismo ng Kulturang Popular” by Rolando Tolentino (literary criticism/literary history), “Imagination’s Way: Essays Critical and Personal” by Gemino Abad (literary criticism/literary history), and “Everyday Things” by Fidelito Cortes (poetry).

The event also featured a recital of 7-year-old prodigy Andrei Ave, who studies piano, theory, and composition at the Conservatory of Music while being a Grade 2 student at O.B. Montessori Center.

The National Book Development Board and Manila Critics Circle, in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, bestows the National Book Awards to the best books written, designed, and published in the Philippines in the previous year. The National Book Awards also gives special awards to outstanding publishers or publishing projects and citations for outstanding achievement in special categories. Azer N. Parrocha


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