UST has reopened the Center for Creative Writing and Literature Studies after a four-year hiatus, aiming to redeem the University’s reputation as the “sanctuary of the finest litterateurs in the Philippines.”

“My mandate from the Rector is to restore UST to its literary pre-eminence,” said Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, the center’s director.

Pantoja-Hidalgo, who was appointed to the post last June, was director of the Publishing House from 2010 to 2012. She will head the writing center for a three-year term.

The late Ophelia Alcantara-Dimalanta, a former dean of the Faculty of Arts and Letters (Artlets), served as director since the center’s establishment in 1999 up to 2008.

Pantoja-Hidalgo said she would prioritize the revival of Tomas, the official literary journal of the center. It will come out every semester.

The first issue will consist of literary pieces from prized Thomasian writers such as National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, Rebecca Añonuevo, Teo Antonio, Albert Casuga, and Eros Atalia.

To discover new talents, literary and creative writing workshops will also be held exclusively for faculty and alumni, she added.

The center also plans to revive Ustingan, a roundtable discussion on literature practices and trends.

Pantoja-Hidalgo, a former Varsitarian editor in chief, said collaborations with other creative writing centers such as the University of the Philippines Institute of Creative Writing— which she once headed—would be pursued.

The center, which was previously under Artlets, is now under the Office of the Rector.

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